Using the function reference appendix
Rarely does the datasource provide all of the information necessary to answer all of the questions asked. Using inputs from fields in the source data or from user-defined input entered though parameters—additional data can be added to your visualizations that enhances content. If you are accustomed to creating SQL statements in a database, the functions and syntax of Tableau’s calculated values should look familiar. If you are a spreadsheet expert, the syntax will be new but should not pose a significant challenge for you to learn.
Coming to functions, Tableau provides good online documentation of Functions. The user forum on Tableau’s website is also quite good. However, many novice users have asked for a more detailed reference for Tableau Functions that provide examples and explain the formula syntax in more detail. That is what you will find in Appendix A.
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Functions are listed by function type, alphabetically. Each Function Reference entry provides a short description of the Function; typical use of cases; and basic, intermediate, and advanced examples. Hopefully you’ll find the Function Reference a useful addition to your tool set. As questions come in, the book’s websites, the InterWorks book website and the Wiley companion website, will provide additional tips and tricks related to Functions, Parameters, dashboard building, and other topics that merit an ongoing discussion.
Tableau’s formula-editing window provides help and error-checks the syntax of the formulas you create. Even if you have no experience, with a little practice you’ll find that you use some functions frequently. Tableau groups function into nine major categories as shown in TABLE A-1.
TABLE A-1: Tableau function categories
Tableau Software provides abbreviated help on every function within the formula editing window, the product manual, and the website. This appendix supplements those resources by providing:
- An alphabetically-sorted listing of every function by type
- An alphabetically-sorted list with brief function descriptions
- In-depth analysis of every function with syntax examples.
In the next post, you will learn how Tableau creates geospatial data for mapping. If your data includes country, state, or other standard geographic dimensions , you can easily plot your data on maps.
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