Why Vizioneer?

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
The "Vizioneer" comes from mashing two words that have shaped my world for most of my adult life - Engineer and [data] Visualizations (or Vizes to those who know what's up). Graduating from first from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, followed by Georgia Tech with my Bachelors and Masters in Civil Engineering, all of which taught me to think through anything and everything - problem solving, "engineering" solutions, teaching to the "ah ha" moments - is what I love to do. In 2010 that investigative, engineering mindset intersected a job change and a plunge into the world of Data Analysis. In the search for the next great thing I stumbled on to a data visualization and dashboarding product called Tableau software and things just took off. So now I guess you could call me that engineer with the sweet data visualizations - or just "The Vizioneer" :)

In 2013, I joined the incredible team at Slalom, focusing on Tableau and it's been an amazing experience. Recently in 2014, I was honored and humbled to receive Tableau's highest recognition of being named a Tableau Zen Master. Follow along to see what happens next :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 12: Formula Measure and Describe

I'm probably the only person that didn't know about this one.  I should be mad y'all didn't tell me.  But I'm finding the "Describe" button to be super useful.  What's that? What's that you say?  You've never heard of the "Describe" button either? Well, like many of the other tricks, it's money in the bank when you need it.

It doesn't matter what data set you use on this one.  Today we're talking about a concept and a trick that makes the concept easier.  Here's the deal.  I've been doing some work recently where I have to make a table that contains a bunch of different metrics.  Problem is they all have different filters and look at different fields (and again they all have to be on the same table).  Given this set up, using the Filters shelf isn't going to work as it filters everything the same way.  Therefore, you're going to have code in the filters into the calculated field into the measure. Stop me if you've heard this on before.

So as I write these equations, I need to know what to filter - ie what's in the data, and that's where our trick comes into play.  Here's the example.  This particular metric (the one I'm making up as I type) requires I divide Furniture sales in the West Region by the number of Technology units sold in the East Region.  So what does that look like as a calculated field?

Create a calculated field.  We'll call it "Weird Average" and we're going to write an if statement that has booleans (T/F) inside of the "if" part and a measure in the "then" part of the statement.  Because we're looking at two different numbers, we'll have to do the if/then twice, and aggregate each one.

As I begin to write this out, I forget what's actually inside of "Region" - is it West or Western?  And here's the trick - there's a cute little button called "Describe..."

When you click it, you see a bunch of information, but you don't immediately see anything that's helpful.  Then there's one more magical button called "Load".

I hit that and here's the awesome thing - now I can see exactly what's inside of this data field.  Turns out it is called "West" and not "Western".  I can select it, hit the copy button, close out and paste it into my formula.

And this is what it looks like:

This is really helpful for spelling and abbreviations that might be in your data.  I discovered this a few weeks ago, and now I'm using it constantly.  Here's what that full formula looks like (remember - I divide Furniture sales in the West Region by the number of Technology units sold in the East Region):

Ta-da!  Fun with metrics!  Hope you enjoyed!

Many thanks -

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