How to compare a whole heap of metrics in Tableau

How to compare a whole heap of metrics in Tableau

One day a big spreadsheet is plonked on your desk. Not the most polite thing for someone to do, but let's not pretend it doesn't happen.

"Analyse this" they say.... "For the meeting on Thursday"

Knowing nothing about the purpose of the analysis, you are in a pickle. But Tableau is an amazing tool... and there are things you can do, now, to set yourself up, for such an occasion.

With an no-frills exploratory dashboard, produced in minutes. And also something you'll be able to bring to the meeting, to potentially answer questions "on the fly."

Not all data sources will fit into this kind of scenario, however. The dummy data I've generated is an example of a "wide" dataset or "an aggregated collection of features". Ie, One row per client/product/store (whatever you want).

This is in contrast to something like transactions data (which is something I hope to cover in another post).

We start with some data, like this:

download the file here

And we produce something like this:

also available up on Tableau Public

Of course, there is not too much of interest in these charts because the data is uniformly random.


The key thing about all these charts is that their axes are configurable via the parameters. The general idea is that the dashboard allows you to explore distributions and correlations, pretty flexibly.

And, if you find something of interest, you have the choice to either export an image or recreate that specific chart in the "standard way", on its own sheet.

If you wanted, you might even go ahead and make several Story Slides (a totally underused feature of Tableau) where you can add your own commentary.


How do I use this with my own data?

To get a dashboard like this set up for your own data. Here is a video showing you how. For this you will also need my tableau formula helper and perhaps the example "new" data, as well.

Next Steps

To increase the "exploratory capacity" of this dashboard we might try adding in some click actions, for highlighting or cross-filtering. So we can further subset each of the charts, by clicking on others.