I rolled into Data Analytics from an IT background and although it’s been a great help overall, sometimes my knowledge of programming gets me into trouble and makes me get tunnel-vision.

An example:
Imagine that we’ve got the following contract data :

And we’d like to use this data to create a visual with our monthly projected payments comparative to this :

Normally I would’ve created a simple for-loop that uses dateadd() for the number in contract length. The use of loops, however, isn’t supported by Tableau and we’re going to have to make a small detour.

The solution to this problem isn’t exactly pretty or technically advanced but invaluable once you know it :

This amazing excel file will get us around the loop in a few simple steps.

Taking advantage of Prep

Join the contract data to the excel file. The way to do this is to use an inner join with a join clause: [Contract Length] >= [Length].
This clause will keep the join from becoming bigger then it’s supposed to be.
The results when we take a peek into our data :

We can now see that the new lines were created

Now that the join was made, we can start adding the lines into our file in a new field “Payment Date” with a simple Calculated Field:
DATEADD(‘month’,[Length],[Start Date])
After cleaning up the ‘Length’ field this leaves us with:

This output can easily be turned into the bar chart that we first saw in the example.

The above problem (and solution) was provided by a Preppin’ Data challenge which you can find here: https://preppindata.blogspot.com/2019/02/2019-week-3.html
Be sure to check out the (currently) 55 other challenges posted here!

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