Tableau Show rows with no data

Tableau Tip Tuesday: Show What Isnt in the DataBy Joshua MilliganPosted in All, Calculations, Tableau Tip Tuesday, Tips and TricksOn January 6, 20153 Comments.I recently came acros

Tableau Show rows with no data

Tableau Tip Tuesday: Show What Isnt in the Data

  • By Joshua Milligan
  • Posted in All, Calculations, Tableau Tip Tuesday, Tips and Tricks
  • On January 6, 2015
  • 3 Comments.

I recently came across this post that highlights the importance of seeing what isnt in the data: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/05/visualizing-zero-how-to-show-something-with-nothing/

In Tableau, rows, columns and marks are defined by records of data. That means that most of the time, you are limited to showing what is in the data. But there are a few options for showing what isnt.

  • Show missing rows or columns. From the menu select Advanced > Table Layout >Show Missing Rows / Columns. What this will do is show headers for the domain of values present for the discrete field defining the header. This is context sensitive, so you can limit the range with a context filter.
With "Show Empty Rows" on, every category is shown even though only a few have values based on filtering to a single department for a single city

With Show Empty Rows on, every category is shown even though only a few have values based on filtering to a single department for a single city

When the Department filter is added to the context, only categories within that department are shown.  However, they are shown even if other filters would normally exclude them.

When the Department filter is added to the context, only categories within that department are shown. However, they are shown even if other filters would normally exclude them.

  • Turn on Show Missing Values for dates and bins. (Right click or use the drop down menu on the field in the view and select Show Missing Values). Since Tableau knows the min/max values and increments for a date or bin that defines a Row/Column header, it can fill in missing values and thus show you whats missing.
Without the "Show Missing Values" option, only three dates are shown.

Without the Show Missing Values option, only three dates are shown.

With "Show Missing Values"  turned on, we see the gaps in time between sales of the item.

With Show Missing Values turned on, we see the gaps in time between sales of the item.

  • Pad the data on the back-end. You can supply missing values by joining or unioning to give you the complete domain of a dimension.
Padding in Query

Here we want to ensure that Dallas and Seattle always exist in the data. We can combine this with Show Empty Rows / Columns to always see a row / column for Dallas and Seattle.

  • Pad the data in Tableau. This one is harder as it requires an understanding of how different table calculations interact with dimensions on various shelves. But sometimes, its your only option (e.g. you cant touch your data source because its cloud based or locked down). If you are interested in knowing more,do a search for Tableau along with the key words Data Densification, Domain Padding or Domain Completion. Also, check out this great video featuring Joe Mako:http://vimeo.com/107354333

Check back each Tuesday for another Tableau Tip

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