Book Image

Creating Data Stories with Tableau Public

Book Image

Creating Data Stories with Tableau Public

Overview of this book

Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Creating Data Stories with Tableau Public
About the Author
About the Author
About the Reviewer


Tableau Software is on a mission to help people see and understand their data. Tableau Public, which is their free tool that allows anyone to publish interactive visualizations in the cloud, is a tremendous step toward democratizing data by providing tools to data journalists, bloggers, and hobbyists that previously would have been available only through corporate IT departments.

When we initially started off this project, our goal was to describe the features of Tableau Public so that you can create your own stories with data and then share them with the community. We also wanted to provide examples of how members of the online community have used Tableau Public to draw attention to important issues of our time. In the intervening months, many things have transpired: in addition to the important features in Tableau version 9.x, the online community has multiplied in size, about 500,000 people a day use Tableau Public, as of this writing, and the Tableau Foundation was established. Its mission is to use data to make a tangible difference in the world through the involvement of data volunteers and by granting software licenses to non-profit organizations that are dedicated to improving public health and the lives of underprivileged populations around the world.

Tableau Public is only as good as the people using it, and as we progressed on our own journeys with Tableau Public, we became engrossed in the data stories and dialogue that people have created and curated, particularly those of the Tableau foundation volunteers and others that have the express purpose of using data for good. We have attempted to provide guidelines for you on how to craft a compelling, rich story with data that enlightens others. Our examples focus on variations of the World Bank indicators, and by the end of this book, we have crafted an example dashboard that focuses on an issue that impacts everyone.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Getting Started with Tableau Public, you will have an overview of the uses and functions of Tableau Public, understand how dashboards are used, and how to download and install Tableau Public.

Chapter 2, Tableau Public Interface Features, you will have an understanding of the various features in Tableau Public, such as cards, shelves, and ShowMe.

Chapter 3, Connecting to Data, will teach you the various ways in which source data can be formatted, and will explain some basic data modeling such as Dimensions, Measures, and joins. You will also understand more about using multiple data sources and data blending in dashboards.

Chapter 4, Visualization -Tips and Types, will present the types of visualizations available for use in Tableau Public, and how to use them with their data.

Chapter 5, Calculations, will guide you how to best use calculations, basic statistics, and predictive analytics in Tableau Public.

Chapter 6, Level of Detail and Table Calculations, will discuss how you can use Table Calculations and Level of Detail calculations to enhance the comparisons that you are making with data and also how to make them more dynamic and contextual.

Chapter 7, Dashboard Design and Styling, you will understand the basics of good dashboard design, and have an overview of data visualization best practices using Tableau Public.

Chapter 8, Filters and Actions, will explain how to build filters and actions for use in their dashboards.

Chapter 9, Publishing Your Work, will familiarize you with the various methods to embed data visualizations in blog posts, websites, and offline documents.

What you need for this book

Users only need to download the Tableau Public client. The technical specifications for Tableau Public mirror those of Tableau Desktop Personal and are listed on the Tableau website at

According to Tableau system requirements, PC users require the following minimum specifications:

  • Microsoft Windows Vista SP2 or newer (32-bit and 64-bit)

  • Microsoft Server 2008 R2 or newer (32-bit and 64-bit)

  • Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Opteron processor or newer (SSE2 or newer required)

  • 2 GB memory

  • 750 megabytes minimum free disk space

  • Internet Explorer 8 or newer

And Mac users need the following specifications in their system:

  • iMac/MacBook computers 2009 or newer

  • OS X 10.9 or newer

Who this book is for

This book is targeted at investigative journalists and bloggers with an interest in making rich and interactive data visualizations. Intermediate Tableau Public users and organizations can also use this book as a reference guide and teaching aid. Members of the media team, such as data specialists, web developers, editors, producers, and managers can also benefit from an understanding of the structure and challenges of writing an interactive and interesting data visualization using Tableau Public.


In this book, you will find a number of text styles that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "Gather your data sources, usually in a spreadsheet or a .csv file."

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, for example, in menus or dialog boxes, appear in the text like this: "Enter your email address and click on the Download the App button located in the middle of the screen."


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

Reader feedback

Feedback from our readers is always welcome. Let us know what you think about this book, what you liked or disliked. Reader feedback is important for us as it helps us develop titles that you will really get the most out of.

To send us general feedback, simply e-mail , and mention the book's title in the subject of your message.

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Downloading the example code

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Downloading the color images of this book

We also provide you with a PDF file that has color images of the screenshots/diagrams used in this book. The color images will help you better understand the changes in the output. You can download this file from


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