Tableau is a rapid-fire business intelligence software that allows you to make decisions at a very fast pace. Tableau is also a leading new generation Business Intelligence (BI) application which is also dubbed as a “self-service” data discovery tool as it can be achieved with almost no support from IT staff.
Tableau comes in three variants, namely – Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server, and Tableau Digital. This product shines as a graphical tool or a visualization tool, where you would have relied on various other tools and takes longer durations to represent the bar charts or the pie charts. Tableau is built to perform and it provides very quick visual analytics.
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Parameters, as in any Software or a Programming language, are those dynamic values that can be used to replace constant values in calculations or filters, or references. To understand the concept of a parameter, you might want to consider a case where you want to check the number of employees who earn more than 1,00,000/- INR per month every month and generate a report.
What if, if you want to generate the same report with a different base value of salary? The value can now be replaced with a parameter so that the same activity can be redone for a different parameter value - that’s Tableau Parameters for anyone to use.
You can apply the values of a filter condition to change a report itself, let us consider a report of the Top 10 earners of the month. The number 10 can be easily replaced on the filter by using a parameter inside that filter and assigning a different value, to change the report to Top 3 earners of the month – as simple as that. We will take a look at the examples mostly at the end of the article after covering up all the necessary theory of Parameters.
The creation of a parameter is super easy:
In the Data pane, right-click a field in which you want to create a parameter and then select Create -> Parameter.
Give the field a name and provide an optional comment so as to explain your parameter
Provide the type of data that it accepts
Provide a current value, which will also be the default value of the parameter
Provide a specific display format on the parameter control
Based on the option selected for ‘Allowable Values’, you must provide the values to the parameter defined
When all the above steps are completed, click OK to complete the process. The newly created parameter will be listed on the Parameters section (i.e., the bottom of the Data pane).
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To use a parameter in calculations, you can either drag the parameter from the Data pane or drop it on the Calculation editor (either at a new location in the formula or replacing a certain part of the formula). Create another parameter just the same way as above, or you click on the first one and click on Duplicate to create a new one with the same configuration.
You can then Rename it to a newer name to create two parameters with the same configuration. By now you have two parameters named Placeholder 1 Selector, Placeholder 2 Selector.
The creation of a calculated field is super easy too:
On Analysis, select Create Calculated Field to open up the calculation editor.
Add the following formula into the formula area
CASE [Placeholder 1 Selector] WHEN "Discount" THEN [Discount] WHEN "Profit" THEN [Profit] WHEN "Quantity" THEN [Quantity] WHEN "Sales" THEN [Sales] END
Click Ok to close the calculation editor
Now create a duplicate calculated field as described earlier with the same configuration as above.
At the end of this step, you would be creating two calculated fields named Placeholder1 and Placeholder2 as shown in the screenshot below.
Setting up the view is easier with the steps above completed, should be just dragged and dropped of these calculated fields onto the section on the tool itself.
Drag Placeholder 2 to Columns and Placeholder1 to Rows
Drag the field Customer Name to Detail and drag the field Region to Color
In the parameters area of the Data Pane, click on each of the Parameters and click ‘Show Parameter Control’. Do the same for the other parameter too.
With this, your Tableau Desktop view is prepared and shown to you. Now with the parameter controls, you can choose what data to be shown on your X and Y axes respectively. Based on the parameters you have already given, you can make permutations and combinations of the data given.
In this article, we have tried to give you a brief about what Tableau as software can provide you or your organization with. Alongside those details, we have provided necessary information about the usage of the Tableau parameters and also looked at some of the examples to clarify the concepts.
Hope this article is informative enough to provide all the necessary details in one place for your quicker references.
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As a Senior Writer for Mindmajix, Saikumar has a great understanding of today’s data-driven environment, which includes key aspects such as Business Intelligence and data management. He manages the task of creating great content in the areas of Programming, Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Oracle BI, Cognos, and Alteryx. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.