Learn about: Latest Tableau Release 9.0

Widely recognized by Gartner as a leader and innovator, Tableau’s latest release continues to build upon its legacy of excellence. Large features, such as the integration of the fixed function or level of detail, provides greater ease in analysis. Smaller changes, such as the creation of a drag-and-drop analytics pane, resolves an entry level obstacle, as these features were buried in menus that were not always easy to find. 9.0 continues to empower mouse-driven analytics, making visualization accessible, beautiful, and intuitive.

Level of Detail

Looking to compare data against a regional level or understand variances within territory? Tableau’s new fixed command, accessible by typing {fixed [dimension]:SUM([Number])} or using the right-hand toggled menu, allows users to quickly create levels of aggregation. In the past, users could (and still can) use window calculations with addressing within certain views, create secondary custom SQL, or use sets and cascading calculations to achieve this. Level of detail within the calculation makes this feature easier, less resource intensive, and far more accessible to all users.

Drag and Drop Analytics

As new users become more comfortable with Tableau, questions around totals, reference lines, trend analysis and distributions start to arise. While Totals are accessible from the Analytics menu, all others are part of contextual menus accessible by right-clicking. Moving this to a pane removes a small, but noticeable, hurdle felt by newer users. As a note, while adding these features can be done by drag-and-drop, removing them still requires the menu.

Visual Tweaks

Tableau’s ease of building encourages a certain madness all its own. Building a worksheet, duplicating it to change a facet, and creating more views lends itself easily to creating a number of worksheets. It’s not uncommon to try telling the story a few different ways before selecting a final version. In 8, this could lend itself to having to dig the new worksheet, dashboard and story tabs out from under the pile. 9.0 recognizes this process and prevents the tabs from moving beyond a certain point. It’s small, but potent. Leveraging its card-based interface, the data source also can be modified with one mouse-click (you can toggle this from the menu too). The small buttons that lived in the upper right have found new homes at the bottom with “Take me to Tableau” available at the far left. The enhanced Tableau start screen encourages more review of Tableau public, including the Viz of the Week. Features like Story and color select have also received minor enhancements, so users can resize items in the navigation pane and select colors with a color picker without a third-party app.


Much like Google and Apple’s Spotlight, the new search feature in Tableau transforms looking for data. Historically, search was a painful process, leading Zen Masters of Tableau to create custom dashboards with parameters as skins for Tableau. While I still foresee Server Admins putting on their own spin on their environments, the enhancements to server are a boon to all users.

The Net-Net

Tableau continues to innovate with developers in mind. Designing is easier, faster, and more accessible to business people as developers. Democratizing data allows organizations to take a 360-degree view of their business and Tableau 9 continues to make this feasible and reasonable. Tableau empowers developers to push the envelope in design; end users not only get reports that are meaningful at a glance, but that can be visually striking, interactive, and easily integrated into solutions, such as SalesForce and SharePoint.

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