Tableau Visualization Best Practices Course Description

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This course will cover the basic features and functions of Tableau; best practices for visualizing data based on scientific research; and a detailed process for defining requisite information prior to creating dashboards. It’s ideal for business analysts and other users who have little or no Tableau experience.

The course is designed to help you understand the important concepts and techniques used in Tableau to move from simple to complex visualizations. You will learn how to capture essential information to create more meaningful visualizations, and how to combine them in interactive dashboards.


No prerequisite experience is needed, and no technical or analytical background is required.


This course is delivered in-person and consists of hands-on activities, interactive dashboard review and critique, visual science review, and lecture. Class discussion and open Q & A are incorporated throughout the course to enhance learning.


A training guide, all presentations, and other documents referenced during the training are provided to students as take-aways. Additional resources such as Tips & Hints and special requests are also included.

Visualization Best Practices Course Topics

Connecting to Data

  • Options for connecting to data
  • Data types and data roles
  • Database joins
  • Data blending
  • Optimal performance considerations
  • Reusing and sharing data connections
  • Working with multiple connections in a workbook

Calculated Fields

  • Working with string functions, basic arithmetic calculations, date math
  • Working with totals, custom aggregations, logic statements

Building Interactive Dashboards

  • Combining multiple visualizations into a dashboard
  • Making your worksheet interactive

Common Mistakes

  • Identify common design mistakes
  • Examples and discussion of more appropriate approaches for each type of mistake

Capturing Requirements

  • Exercise in capturing requirements via a checklist

Design Best Practices

  • Impact of design decisions on performance
  • Specific recommendations of best practices
  • Things to check before you publish
  • Notes on use of fonts

Sharing Workbooks

  • Packaged workbooks
  • Publishing to Tableau Server and sharing over the web
  • Other publishing options


  • Defining a style guide
  • Converting your style guide into a reusable template

Analytic Techniques and Creating Views

  • Representing data using a variety of chart types:
    • Geographic map
    • Paging/trails heat map
    • Scatter plots
    • Bar charts
    • Crosstabs/text tables
    • Sparklines
    • Key Performance Indicator (KPI) bands
  • Analyzing
    • Sorting & grouping
    • Aliases
    • Filtering and quick filters
    • Cross-tabs (pivot tables)
    • Totals and subtotals
    • Drilling down and drill through
    • Aggregation and disaggregation
    • KPI symbols/shapes

Parameters Basics

  • Data types of parameters
  • Using parameters in calculated fields
  • Inputting parameter values and parameter control options
  • Using parameters for titles, field selections, logic statements, top X

Hacking the Human Brain

  • The science behind best practices
  • The difference between perception and cognition
  • The relationship between visual memory and visual processing
  • Aligning types of data with optimal visual features to use

Visual Best Practices

  • Examples of best practices in action
  • Proper use of color
  • Organization of visuals to take advantage of visual processing

Iterative Dashboard Design



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