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ITECH3101 –Business Analytics and Decision Support week 3
Lab Exercise – Introduction of Tableau Software
ID: Name: __________
Tableau software can produce interactive data visualization products based on different data. There are five main types of Tableau software products: Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server, Tableau Online, Tableau Reader, and Tableau Public. In this course, we employ two free products of Tableau software: Tableau Reader and Tableau Public.
Tableau Public
Tableau Public is a free application and visualization tool that allows general users to create and publish interactive data visualizations to the web. The Visualizations created by Tableau can be made available for a variety of applications. For example, visual results can be embedded into web pages, blogs and can be shared through social media or email.
Tableau Reader
Tableau Reader is a free application that lets general users to open and to view Tableau software files (called Tableau Workbook Files (.twbx)) that have been created by users and any other users. This allows Tableau users to share visual results each other. Once opening and saving Tableau workbook files locally, users can view and interact with the visualization software. However, users of Tableau Reader cannot change the setting, parameter and design of existing Tableau workbook files.
Project 1: Installation of Tableaus
1. Download Tableau Public.
Basically, as a student, you have two choices to install free Tableau software on your computer: Tableau Public and Tableau for Students.
• For downloading Tableau Public, go to the following website. You should install the Tableau software on your own machine.
or Download Tableau for Students
For downloading Tableau for Students, go to the following steps
• Send a request to Tableau ( for getting your student license. You should get a Form Received email almost immediately.
• Download Tableau for Students ( and
• Install software on your computer. First, you will use Tableau immediately in 14-day free trial mode. After you get email from Tableau with your license key, follow the instructions for updating the software to use it (via the Help menu item Manage Product Keys). You are likely to get this email within a day or so.
2. Download Tableau Reader
For downloading Tableau Reader, go to the following website. You should install the Tableau Reader on your computer.
Tableau Reader:
Project 2: Understand user interface of Tableau
When clicking tableau logo, you will go to a Start page. After connecting data source to your computer, Tableau software provides two main workspaces: sheet and dashboard where you can build your visualization.
Start page
The start page consists of three panes: left, centre and right panes.
• Left pane: connect pane. On the connect pane, users can connect data to computer by selecting data sources.
• Centre pane: open pane. On the open pane, users can open the work that users recently saved or opened. Users can also use open pane to connect some samples provided by Tableau.
• Right pane: discover pane. On the discover pane, users can find some training examples, videos and users forum, etc.
Two main workspaces
Tableau provides users with two main workspaces: sheets and dashboards to develop visual projects. These two workspaces provide visual building environments where users are able to build and develop visual projects by using different kinds of controls, tools and menus that Tableau provides.
(1) Sheets
A sheet is used to build individual project of data visualization. The interface of a sheet is shown as following.
On the left of sheet
When clicking Sheet tap on the bottom, your data will be connected to your computer. Tableau shows two classified data fields: Dimensions and Measures.
• Dimensions represents categorical data such as strings, date, categorical on which we can group or categorize
• Measure Names
abc before this field indicates that it represents the names of the fields
• Measures represents quantitative data on which we can do math operation such as summing or averaging.
• Number of Records
# before this field indicates that it is a numeric filed, which is used to count number of entries in data source
On the centre of sheet
Three main components on the centre of sheet are Pages shelf, Filters shelf and Marks card.
• Pages shelf works like a filter. It will hide elements on the sheet that are unrelated to currently selected page.
• Filters shelf will filter your categorical data (dimensions), quantitative data (measures), or date fields. When you drag a field from Dimensions or Measure to the Filters shelf, Filters shelf opens a box where you can define the filter.
• Marks card will allow users to edit color, change size, add label, show detail and show tooltip for marks used in the sheet.
On the right of sheet
Tableau provides two main approaches to visualize data: drag-drop and Show Me card
• Drag and Drop. You just drag related fields from Dimensions or Measures to Rows shelf or Columns shelf and drop them. Tableau will automatically visualize your data.
• Show Me card. In this way, when you select multiple fields in Dimensions or Measures by using Control key and then click Show Me card, Show Me card will recommend suitable visual charts that are highlighted for your choices. After you select a chart type, Tableau will visualize your data.
(2) Dashboard
Dashboard can include several individual sheets, where each sheet shows different views of data. Users can create dashboards by primarily using a drag-and-drop operation so that only little knowledge of programming is required. In addition, when individual sheet is placed into the dashboard workspace, interactions with data elements on one sheet can be made with the data element on other sheet. Therefore, designer can design dashboards by using different kinds of interactivity techniques to effectively communicate to audience. In this course, you will design your dashboards by combining other interactivity techniques to implement your final project.
Project 3 Getting data into Tableau
In this project, we learn how to get data into Tableau. We can get data from local computer, database from servers, and public data sources in the cloud. In this course, we focus on connecting data files from local computer.
Download data set: simple-data-bogoughs.xlsx from week 3 in Moodle
Task: The given dataset about information in a city is stored in local computer. The goal of this task is to get data into Tableau and understand basic data types.
Step 1. Start up Tableau
Step 2. Connect to data source
Step 3. Preview data
Step 4. Understand basic data types and operations
Step 1. Start up Tableau
Double clicking Tableau icon would open the window of Tableau. On the left panel of windows, several links are provided to allow users to connect different kinds of data sources. These data sources include Microsoft Excel, text file, JSON file, Microsoft Access, etc.
In this course, we use Tableau Public that only allows users to connect to Excel, Access, comma-delimited files, etc. In addition, Tableau Reader can only open and view packaged software file Tableau workbooks (.txbx).
Step 2. Connect to data source
Navigate to the Microsoft Excel and click it to open a window. Select the required data file simple-data-bogoughs.xlsx and connect it to Tableau.
Step 3. Preview data
Clicking Open button will show the a tabular view of data in the Preview area in the bottom half of the page(window). This allows users to see data before users place the sheet on left data pane.
Step 4. Understand basic data types and symbols operations
Navigate to the Worksheet tab at the bottom of window. Clicking Sheet 1 icon will place the sheet on the left of pane.
Color encoding
In Tableau, blue color is used to stand for discrete data such as strings, date, categorical on which we can group or categorize.
Green color is used to stand for continuous data on which we can do math operation such as summing or averaging.
Symbol usage:
Symbol # to the left field names indicates continuous data types.
Globe symbol next to the field name indicates geographic data types.
Project 4. Getting data out of Tableau(save a data source)
In this project, we learn how to get data out of Tableau.
Download data set: simple-data-bogoughs.xlsx from week 3s lab in Moodle
Task: given dataset about information in a city is stored in local computer. The goal of this task are to get data out of Tableau and understand basic data types.
Step 1. Navigate to data source in data pane
Step 2. Select data export option
Step 3. Export data
Step 1. Navigate to data source in data pane
• Clicking Sheet 1 tab at the bottom of page takes you to worksheet.
• Navigate to data source at the upper part of the page and point to Sheet 1(simpledata-boroughs).
Step 2 Select data export option
Right click the Sheet 1 to open a drop-down menu.
Select Export Data to CSV to open Export Data window
Step 3. Export data
Select a folder where you save your data.
Project 5. Getting data out of Tableau 2 (save a workbook)
Task: The given the work you have already done in your workbook. The goal of this task is to save your work as .tbwx file that you can run later by using Tableau Reader.
Download Dataset: simple-data-bogoughs.xlsx from week 3s lab in Moodle
Step 1. Load the data into Tableau and check that your data has been loaded correctly
Step 2 create a bar chart
Step 3. Save the project from File
Step 4 Sign in and save the project
Step 5 download your project
Step 1. Load the data into Tableau and check that your data has been loaded correctly
Step 2. Create a bar chart
Drag Borough field from the Dimensions section on the left side to the Rows shelf, then drag Population field from the Measures section on the left side to Columns shelf.
Step 3. Save the project from File
Click File from the menu bar at top and select Save to Tableau Public
Step 4. Sign in and save the project
After signing in Tableau Public, give a title to your project.
Step 5. Download your project
From Tableau Public website, click Got it to download your project.
And then click Download Workbook, and your work will be saved as My first project.twbx. You can run My first project.txbx later by using Tableau Reader.
Project 6. Simple data visualizations
In this project, we mainly learn how to visualize simple data. Here visualizing simple data refers to that visualization can be achieved through directly using existing fields from raw data source. In particular, we visualize data by using dot chart, histograms, line chart, scatter plot, etc. Before introducing detailed techniques for visualizing simple data, we review some basic principles and process of data visualization.
Summary of basic approaches of data visualization
Step 1. Identifying your questions
Data visualization normally doesn’t start from dataset itself, but rather it starts from questions. Who is your audience? What stories can it tell? What does your audience do with your visuals results?
Once having some questions in your mind, you begin to understand your data and then try to answer these questions before visualizing data. In addition, when answering the questions, you don’t need to be worry about extraneous details because questions themselves provide a standard for what should be in visualization and what is unnecessary to visualize.
Step 2. Understanding your data
After answering questions and understanding original intent of questions, you need to understand and identify your data. In this course, basic data types we meet include
• Quantitative data has numerical values either continuous or discrete value like 1.12, 3.22.
• Ordinal data indicates the order among elements such as the first, the second, etc.
• Nominal data refers to data with grouping or categorical features such as male and female.
Step 3. Converting data values to graphical form
The next step is that we need to select the most effective visual encoding to convert data values to graphical form such as color and area. For example, based on principles of expressiveness and effectiveness of human perception, human mind shows different sensitiveness to different graphical display of information to perform a specific task. The general rules for effective visualization can be summarized as:
1, for all data types, position is the most effective encoding approach
2, for quantitative data, length and area are more effective than color variable
3, for ordinal data, gray and color variable are more effective than length and area 3, for nominal data, color is more effective than length and area
Step 4. Trying to avoid much clutter on your data visualization
1, avoiding too much color and usage of color should be cautious, such as avoiding dark background color.
2, avoiding vertical or angled labels or various fonts or thick borders and grid lines, etc.
Project 6-1: Basic data visualization
Task: The given dataset provides information about population and area in a city. The goal of this task is to be familiar with basic data types, visual encoding, and operations by using chart and map.
1. Download Dataset: simple-data-bogoughs.xlsx from Week 3 in Moodle
Step 1. Load the data into Tableau and check that your data has been loaded correctly..
Step 2. Create a dot chart.
Step 3. Create a bar chart through changing data type.
Step 1. Load the data into Tableau and check that your data has been loaded correctly.
Step 2. Create a dot chart.
Drag Population to Row shelf, drag Area sq-mi to Columns shelf, and drag Borough to Marks card. From the diagram, you can see that Area sq-mi is highlighted as green color, which means that it is continuous data type.
Step 3. Create a bar chart through changing data type.
Navigate to Area sq-mi on the Row shelf and click down-arrow and select Discrete that creates a bar chart. From the diagram, you can see that Area sq-mi is highlighted as blue color, which indicates that it is discrete data type.
Step 4. Change color
Drag Population to Color on Marks card. Click Color to edit color and then change color to green.
Project 7. Answering questions (Please do this at your home by using your own computer)
1. Install Tableau Public and Tableau Reader in your computer.
2. Briefly describe four major components of the data warehousing process
Project 8 Create a Professional Report
Summarize the above experiments procedure, results, answering for questions and screenshots (project 1, 2, 3, 4,5,6,7) into one report. Your report is the assignment that is required to be submitted for evaluation on week 9. Create a report by following the below steps.
You can add a chapter called Chapter 3 in your previous report.
1. Open your last week’s report and find the end of last week’s report.
2. Copy this week’s related experimental results, your findings and Screenshots, and paste them at the end of last week’s report.
3. Delete original Table of Content you created.
4. Select all content , align all text to both left and right margin
5. Use shortcut key approach, generate Chapter 3: Introduction of Tableau Software
6. Then use shortcut key approach to generate proper sub-chapters for this week’s lab work.
7. Insert Table of Contents to your report.

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