Most Influential Tableau-Related Blog Posts

Posted by Andy Cotgreaveon January 16, 2014

For Tableau Blogging Month, I wanted to focus on the back-catalogue of amazing blog posts written, perhaps, before you'd heard of Tableau. You should go get a cup of tea, sit down, and read all of these posts. If these posts are new to you, these are seminal posts that will inspire your Tableau journey. And maybe they will inspire you to start up your own blog?

How long have there been Tableau blogs? At Tableau HQ, we’re not sure when the first ever Tableau-related blog post was. The oldest I can find is from Zen Master Andy Kriebel: he did a pie-chart makeover way back in August 2009. If you know of any earlier than that, let us know in the comments section below.

Since then, which posts have been the most influential?

I gathered this list by asking Tableau Zen Masters, and a bunch of Tableau employees for contributions. Do you think there are some we missed? If so, let us know in the comments section below - tell us where the post is and why it was influential.

This list is ordered by publish date, oldest to newest.

The Ring of Fire… by Robert Morton, June 2009

Tableau’s Community Manager, Dustin Smith, says, “It was the first time it dawned on me that data was literally lying all around us and that all I had to do was point Tableau at it and the story within would come tumbling out.”

“Charts inside a tooltip? Yes, we can” by Andy Cotgreave, Sep 2009

Ben Jones, Tableau Public Product Marketing Manager, says, “When I read this, it turned my brain upside down to realize that such a thing was possible. This is when I first got the notion that Tableau can be used to do WAY more than I thought.”

Hey! Your Tableau Public viz is ugly *and* confusing, by Steve Wexler, Aug 2011

Ben Jones says, “An early ‘shot across the bow’ for everyone making poorly designed vizzes to shape up.” For me, this is still the best post for instantly applicable tips to improve your design.

Blue things and Green things, Tom Brown, Sep 2011

“This post is really helpful when learning Tableau” says Kelly Hotta, Tableau Product Consultant. She’s dead right. Will Tableau draw an axis or panes? Why are things blue and green? All is explained here.

Using Tableau to Visualize Survey Data, Steve Wexler, Jan 2012

Steve Wexler became the go-to expert on putting survey data in Tableau. It all started 2 years ago. Zen Master Allan Walker says, “It changed Utah University for the better.”

Create your own filled maps in Tableau, Richard Leeke, March 2012

“This kick-started the whole movement,” says Alan Eldridge, Strategic Sales Consultant from Australia. It contained revolutionary ideas about how to do, well, anything, with Tableau maps.

Columns and Rows: Any Difference, Daniel Hom, Aug 2012

“Everyone should watch this video as they get started using Tableau, and especially Tableau Public users that may not have a strong analytical background,” says Mike Klaczynski, Tableau Public analyst.

Mapping Petco Park, Ryan Robitaille, December 2012

This Zen Master-created dashboard blew everyone away with the way it highlighted new dashboarding features in Tableau v8.

Want to learn table calculations? Here’s How, Jonathan Drummey, Sep 2012

Table calculations are one of the hardest aspects of Tableau to learn. Jonathan Drummery took the time to curate this list of links to other helpful posts on blogs and the community to help people learn.

5 things I wish I knew about Tableau when I started, Robin Kennedy, Jan 2013

Hands up? Did you jump into Tableau without 100% understanding of all its features and functions? That’s right: we all did. This post is great for beginners or intermediate Tableau users to go back and fill in some of the gaps that you might not have realised were there.

Team Geiger rides again, Alan Smithee, July 2013

According to Allan Walker, this post is “better than Show Me or the workbook library”. I agree: this one workbook contains more visualisation types than you could imagine.

Tableau Designs, Kelly Martin, November 2013

We think this is the best combination of aesthetics and functionality so far. Elegantly presented, sublimely thought out. If you want to improve your designs, this is the post for you.

Identity Crisis, Emily Kund, December 2013

For me, this is the most important blog post from the last 12 months. In this post, Emily discusses the challenge of being a newcomer to the Tableau community. She wonders how to make an impact when, it seems, everyone else on the community is an expert. Any growing community will have this challenge. What do I say: voices from newcomers are as important as the old dogs’. Your blog ideas are valuable, whatever your level of expertise. Dive in and blog!

I hope you've found that inspiring. Emily's post, for me, is a vital one for us all to read. Sure, there are Tableau experts online who can make Tableau do crazy things (for example, Noah Salvaterra). But everyone's voice is valuable. Are you a beginner and discovering new features every week? Sharing those discoveries is valuable, too. Why? Because every week, 100s of people like you are making the same discoveries, and they will love to find people sharing this.

If you're inspired, our next blog post in this series will cover everything you need to know to get started.

Update 21 Jan: There was a Tableau-related blog post about Tableau back in April 2009 on Is that the earliest one?