Diagrams and graphs on virtual screen. Business strategy, data analysis technology and financial growth concept.
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For any company around the globe, data has become one of the single most important aspects of doing business at a competitive or efficient level. With data, you can predict trends, reduce costs and waste, help empower staff for success, and work to achieve a digital transformation and function with more agility and speed than you ever dreamed.

But all of that raw data needs to be analyzed, and if you’ve ever just stared into the eyes of a massive trove of information, you know how big of a challenge that can be. That’s why so many companies and platforms have appeared with the sole purpose of visualizing that data. So instead of looking at raw data, you can create charts, graphs, plots, interactive maps and more to make the process of analyzing that data a far simpler task.

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One element that can take that ease of analysis one step further is the dashboard. Dashboards give you at-a-glance looks at what’s going on with your data. Tableau, one of the biggest data visualization companies on the market, makes it incredibly easy to create your first dashboard.

Let me show you how it’s done.

What you’ll need

To create a dashboard, you’ll need a Tableau account and some imported data. I’m going to demonstrate with sample data, which you can also add to Tableau for practice purposes. I highly recommend you do this.

How to add the sample data source

The data I’m working with is called Superstore Datasource and can be found in Data | New Data Source (Figure A).

Figure A

Adding the sample data source to Tableau.

Once you connect the data source, you should see a listing of Tables, People and Returns in the left navigation (Figure B).

Figure B

Our sample data source has been added and is ready to be used to create your first dashboard.

How to create a new dashboard

At the bottom left corner of your Tableau window (Figure C), click the second icon from Sheet 1 (a small square of squares) to create a new dashboard.

Figure C

The dashboard creation button isn’t exactly obvious but easy to find.

How to add Sheets to your dashboard

Now that you’ve created the dashboard, you have to fill it with sheets. Click on Sheet 1 to the left of Dashboard 1. In the left navigation, any of those views can be easily added to the new sheet.

Let’s say you want to add the Top Customers by Profit sheet to the dashboard. To do that, click and drag that entry into Sheet 1. You should then see a new element added to Sheet 1 (Figure D).

Figure D

We’ve added Top Customers by Profit to Sheet 1.

Now that you’ve added something to Sheet 1, go back to the Dashboard 1 tab and you should see Sheet 1 listed in the left navigation (Figure E).

Figure E

Our new Sheet is available to add to the Dashboard.

Click and drag Sheet 1 to the Dashboard and then you can go back, create a new sheet and then add the new sheet to the Dashboard.

Keep going back and forth creating sheets and adding them to your Dashboard until it contains all the data you need. Rename your Dashboard accordingly, and when it’s complete, click Publish As at the top right of the window, which will open the Workbook Publisher window (Figure F).

Figure F

The Publish As feature allows you to publish your Dashboards to your personal space or to Projects.

Once published, you can access that Dashboard from within your Workbook (Figure G).

Figure G

Our new Dashboard, as viewed from within the Workbook.

And that, my friends, is all to create a new Dashboard in Tableau. With the help of filters and other tools, you can turn those Dashboards into seriously powerful and efficient tools to help make the daily work of your data analyzers exponentially easier.

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