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How to organize reports for consumption in tableau server?

Organizing reports for consumption

Publishing reports to the web is the first step in effectively sharing information on tableau server. As your user base grows and reports proliferate, finding reports you’re interested in requires organization. User security, group security, and site security were discussed in post “installing tableau server“. Tableau server provides two additional ways to organize reports, projects, and tags. Projects are virtual folders in which you publish workbooks and data sources. Tableau also provides built-in support for adding security to each project-allowing you to more easily manage security across multiple workbooks and data sources. Users can also tag particular workbooks or data source files with keywords. This provides you with a user-defined search term that is helpful for locating files when there are a lot of published workbooks. Defining a sensible framework for projects and tag recommendations  might be helpful to your user base and provide some consistency across your enterprise. These could be defined in advance, but you may allow users to define additional tags that meet their specific needs as well.

For example, you may define projects by business unit or function-leveraging tags and adding context to each search. In a university setting, three different departments might be maintaining reports:

  • Admissions
  • Financial aid
  • Career services

The admissions office might be concerned with tracking the number of students applying each year and whether they were accepted and enrolled. Financial aid would like to track the amount of aid offered and accepted. Career services might be interested in monitoring the progress of students that have graduated and are seeking employment. Setting up projects for each office could be advantageous because it will facilitate security while organizing the reports logically for the staff of each department.

Adding tags to each workbook could provide additional context regarding the details. Example, a university might include following tags:

  • Admissions-undergraduate, admissions, “accepted vs. denied,” enrolled, declined, graduate
  • Financial aid, grants, loans, scholarships, transfer scholarships, undergraduate, graduate
  • Career services-offers, accepted offers, max salaries, median salaries, undergraduate, graduate

And please look closely at the admission tag example “accepted vs. denied.” When tags include spaces, they must be wrapped in quotations. Notice the same tags being used in different projects and workbooks. This allows a user to search for similar analysis performed across different departments.

For example, if the dean of a college wanted to quickly find all the reports available by analyzing undergraduate students, the dean could search using the undergraduate tag and quickly access reports related to admissions, financial aid, and career services.

Adding tags to workbooks

Tags are keywords you can create for workbooks, views and data sources to help you find, filter and categorize content in Tableau Server. Authors can add tags to content when they publish the content. After content is published to a Tableau server, you can add tags to any workbook, view, or data source that you are allowed to access, and you can delete any tags you have added.

Users can add tags to any workbook to which they have the right to access. Figure 10.4 shows a global tag being added to one workbook contained  within a project.

On  the left side of the window in figure 10.4 you can see the view has been filtered for the dan playground project. Selecting a workbook and clicking on the tag menu option exposes existing tags that can be applied to the selected workbook. If none of the existing tags work, click the add option which opens a dialog box for entering a new tag. In figure 10.4, you can see a global tag being added.

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Figure 10.4: Adding a tag to a workbook

Tags can also be added directly when publishing a  workbook. This additional option is located in the menu that is presented when you publish a workbook.

Creating a favorite

When you create a workbook that contains elements that you know you will want to use in the future, you can save it as a favourite. Favourites preserve the data connection, formatting, calculated fields, and groups, essentially providing a template from which to create future workbooks.

These are workbook views or dashboards that you use often and want to save for quick access. They are accessible via a drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the browser window or from the menu on the left side of the screen. Figure 10.5 displays a favorite menu showing a list of favorites. Favorites are indicated using a smaller star-visible in the upper right area of figure 10.4 and figure 10.5.

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Figure 10.5 : The favorites menu

Figure 10.5 shows three worksheets and one  dashboard have been defined as favorites. Any workbook or worksheet can be made into a favorite from the thumbnail or list views. Figure 10.6 shows a list view of the reports.

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Figure 10.6: List view with a favorite

To make any workbook a favorite, select the star associated with the item. This will toggle the star-coloring it yellow-and will add the item to the favorites menu in the upper right as shown in figure 10.5. You can also add a favorite from the thumbnail view. The most convenient way to access favorites is via the star drop-down menu that you see in the upper right of figure 10.6. You can also filter for favorites by using the menu on the left. The filter menu also allows you to select specific projects, publishers, tags, or recently used items.

By combining user and group security with projects, favorites, and tags you can control access to sensitive information and allow users to set up their own means for facilitating easy access to the information that is most important to meet their particular needs.


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