One of my favourite new features in the new version of Tableau 2022.1: you can now customise your view data. First, I'll explain what view data is and how to use it. I will then show the shortcomings in the old versions of Tableau and finish with how nicely this has been solved in the new version of Tableau.

What is view data?

I always use the view data option when I create a dashboard. It is a very useful feature because you can literally see which lines of data are used by Tableau in the visualisation. So basically it's another table of your data. So in a scatter plot (as in the image below) you can see exactly which data is used for which points. You can open view data in Tableau in two ways:

1. Select view data from the menu

In your Tableau visualisations, click on one or more marks of which you want to view the data. Then right-click on the marks and select "View data".

2. Click on the view data icon

A second way is to select the view data icon in the tooltip. To do this, select one or more marks in your visualisation. A number of icons will now appear in the tooltip. Select the 'view data' icon.

View data

In versions older than Tableau 2022.1, a pop-up then appears. This shows the underlying data used for your selection. The summary shows the columns you use in your dashboard. If you switch to 'full data' in the tab, you can see all the columns in your dataset. I actually always use 'full data' to check what is happening with the data and if it is good.

Why is this useful?

As I said, I use this function in every dashboard I create. Why? Because you can very well check why Tableau shows things in a certain way. Tableau often aggregates information, which means that multiple lines of data are sometimes shown as one bar chart. This can sometimes be confusing because you see numbers but you do not know exactly what data they are made up of. With view data you can see exactly what data Tableau uses to build the visualizations.

Why was this awkward?

Unfortunately, view data also had a downside. You could only view all the columns at once. Also, the order in which the columns were displayed was fixed. In a large dataset with many columns, you would have to scroll endlessly to get to the columns you wanted to check. Sometimes it is also nice to have related columns next to each other. For example, if I want to check the MVP points per player in the following (the assist + goals column), I quickly see a lot of distracting things. You also sometimes want to export certain columns for colleagues. In older versions of Tableau you only had the option to export all columns.

Customise your view data in Tableau 2022.1

Fortunately, Tableau has given the view data a complete makeover. We now have much more flexibility. The image below shows what view data looks like in the new version of Tableau. The new interface looks a little different. We now have the tabs 'full data' and 'summary' on the left side of the screen. In addition, for the selected columns we can see what type of data they are.

We can now also change the order of the columns, as shown below. Simply select a column and use the arrows to move it left or right.

We can now also decide which columns we do and do not want to see in view data. To do this, click on the 'Show Fields' button and select the columns you want to show or hide.

To top it off, you can also download this data as .csv to share with colleagues. To do so, use the 'Download' button.

In short, view data has finally gained the flexibility to control even more easily what exactly happens to your data. We can select only the columns relevant to us, reorder them and export them easily for sharing. This will definitely save me a lot of time.

Want to know more about view data? View the Tableau documentation here.

Do you have any questions for me? Send me a connection request on LinkedIn. Want to get better at Tableau? Take a look at our Tableau training sessions. And finally, my colleagues and I would love to help you with Tableau.