I'm frequently asked to provide an auxiliary table containing the specific numbers for the marks in a specific chart. And it's quite often a good analytic information design choice, better than simply displaying the chart's mark labels.
Creating the table should be an easy, even trivial chore: duplicate the sheet, drag the measure from the Rows or Columns shelf onto the Marks' Text shelf, and Presto! we have a table matching the chart with numbers in the cells instead of marks.
Only it doesn't quite work out the way I intended.
True, the cells do now contain the measure's numeric values, which is the primary point.
But the overall table formatting is very dissimilar to the original chart formatting, and getting them all polished up and in sync in order to present a Dashboard showing a coherent, consistent design requires a fair bit of fiddling about.
Notable elements that need to be changed include:
- Name alignment – center-aligned in the chart, left-aligned in the table. Either one may be suitable in a given situation, but they need to be the same.
- Row shading in the table – the default row shading is one of my little itches, and its presence here is particularly irksome.
- Column dividers – present in the chart, absent in the table. Again, they should be the same.
All in all, adjusting the table formatting to match the chart isn't that big a deal, but when one is building out a fair number of dashboards the amount of persnickety work can really interfere with the creative flow.
- Duplicate a sheet's formatting along with the sheet itself.
- Provide a mechanism for establishing and managing the default formatting for the various via types. Tableau already keeps and knows how to apply these, it would be a relatively simple matter to surface the ability. (of course, we;ve been waiting years for the surfacing of similar internal mechanisms, e.g. data source management, including global filters)
- Provide the ability to copy and paste the formatting from one viz to another – this goes hand in hand with the previous format management point. (to be honest I have a hint of a suspicion this might already exist, but I don't know how to do it)