Tableau Desktop 9.0 New Features

Author: Srinivas Rentala

1.Re-designed Home/Start screen: 
It looks sharp and polished. It is also slick and responsive. Thumbnails change sizes and you see more or less depending on the size of the window. It’s easy to quickly connect to data or open workbooks.

2. New Home Screen:
The Home screen from previous versions with the Connect to Data screen.

You will also notice the “Sheet, Thumbs, Data, Home” buttons have been removed and a new “Tableau Logo” button added to the top-left.

3. Tableau logo button: 
Press to “Tableau” button on the top left corner and below the menu bar, which allows you to quickly flip between your viz and the Tableau Desktop start page.

4. Add New Data Source” Button Drop –Down Menu:
Clicking on the add new data source button in the menu bar now reveals a drop-down menu, which allows you to really quickly connect to a new data source, without having to navigate to another page.

5. Direct Connector for Stats Package Files-(SAS,SAPSS,R) :
This new connector brings native support for a number of statistical package files including:
.sas7bdat – the file format used by SAS
.sav – the binary file format used by SPSS
.rdata.rda -the file formats employed by the R statistical analysis package.

New connections are now available for the following file types:
.sav– IBM SPSS file (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences).
Binary Format
Data set with Data dictionary.
.sas7bdat– SAS data file (Statistical Analysis software).
Binary Database Storage file. Common in Pharmaceutical Analysis
.rda– R data file
Created by older versions of R Statistical Programming Language
.rdata– R data file
Created by new versions of R.xlsb – optimized Excel file
.cub– Local Cube file
data files created and referenced by Analysis Services (was available within 8.3 for those that didn’t know)
.tsv– A tab-separated file.
A simple text format for storing data in a tabular structure for databases or spreadsheets.
.tbm– Tableau Bookmark
A snapshot of a Tableau worksheet. Contains data source and sheet layout information. Commonly used to transfer worksheets between Tableau Workbooks.
Note: The software supports Spark SQL, Amazon EMR and IBM Big Insights as data sources in Tableau 9.0 version.
6. “Discover Panel” side menu on the start page:
When you open Tableau Desktop 9.0, In start page you’ll now notice a new menu on the right that, alerts you to a bunch of handy Tableau resources, including links to training for beginners, a highlight section on the Tableau Viz of the Week. Further down towards the bottom of the Discover panel, you’ll find links to other resources like the forums, recent Tableau blog posts and Tableau Conferences. It allow customers to customize this pane with their own links to internal resources, like corporate templates or color palettes, internal user groups etc.

7. Connect to Data Screen:
The “Go To Worksheet” button has disappeared

But you now use the sheet navigator at the bottom of the screen to go to a sheet.
8. Data Source button:

This is a shortcut for the old “right-click on the data source and then click Edit Data Source”, it’s another improvement to the work flow that potentially reduces the number of clicks to do things.
9. “New Story” button on Sheet Tabs:

It’s the new “New Story” button. Again, one less click and less use of menus.

Visual Analytics:
1. Drag and drop analytics:
Tableau 9.0 has a new Analytics pane that provides quick and easy access to common analytic features In Tableau. You can drag reference lines, forecasts, trend lines, and other objects into your view from the analytics Pane, It is now easy to edit, format, and remove the analytic items that you have added, so you can experiment with different techniques as you explore the insights your data has to offer.

2. Instant Analytics:
Instant analytics provides an interactive experience or comparing summary information about a subset of marks to all the marks in your view. For example, you can compare the average for a few marks to the average for all the marks. After you’ve added trend lines, reference lines, reference bands, or distribution bands to your view, select one or more marks to see the new analytical indicators appear for the selection in addition to the analytical indicators for the whole view.
3. Ad-hoc Calculations:
Until now, calculated fields could either be created via the Analysis menu, by right-clicking on dimensions and metrics, or by right-clicking the blank space in the data window. While this does suffice in terms of usability. Ad-hoc calculations make it easy to add and edit calculated fields for your analysis. Double--‐click an existing field on the Rows, Columns, Marks, or Measure Values shelf to begin editing. (Or) Double--‐click an empty area on a shelf to create a new calculation. As you type, a list of auto—complete Options appear in a drop down list, making it easier to find and pick the right elements.
4. New calculation editor:
The calculation editor has been redesigned so that you can create calculated fields faster, with fewer keystrokes, and greater accuracy. Now you can:
  • Move the editor window around the screen and see how the changes you make affect the view.
  • Use auto complete.
  • Drag and drop data fields from the Data pane directly into the calculation editor.
  • Drag and drop portions of a calculation from the editor onto shelves or the Data pane to troubleshoot calculations.

5. Level of Detail Expressions:
Level of detail expressions support aggregation at dimensionality other than the view level. With level of detail expressions, you can attach one or more dimensions to any aggregate expression.
Unlike table calculations, totals, or reference lines, level of detail expressions are computed in the data source. On the plus side, this lets you avoid the overhead of bringing all the data from the database to your computer over the network. With large data sources, this can be a huge performance gain. On the minus side, this can cause Tableau to run more complicated queries (for example, containing many joins), and if the underlying data source is slow, performance can suffer.
Level of detail expressions (which are sometimes also referred to as "LOD Expressions" or "LOD Calculations") are useful for a variety of use cases, including:
Cohort analysis – comparing data for different subgroups
Totals or averages across segments
Aggregates of aggregates
Binning aggregates

i.)Fixed function:
Calculates the aggregation at the level of detail specified by the list of regardless of any dimensions in the view.
{FIXED [Department] : AVG([Sales])}
The above code calculates the average sales per Department, regardless what other dimensions are in the view.
ii.) Include function:
Calculates the aggregation at the level of detail specified by the dimensions in the view and the dimensions included in the code.
{INCLUDE [Item] : AVG([Sales])}
The above code calculates the average sales at the level of detail defined in the view but includes the dimension Item, even if Item is not in the view
iii.)Exclude function:
Calculates the aggregation at the level of detail specified by the dimensions in the view, excluding any listed in the code.
{EXCLUDE [Category] : AVG([Sales])}
The above code calculates the average sales at the level of detail defined in the view but does not include Category the dimension as part of the level of detail, even if Category is in the view.
iv.)REGEX functions:
For anyone who has struggled with string pattern matching and less-than-optimal data sources, Tableau 9 has 4 new REGEX functions that you can use in calculated fields:
REGEXP_EXTRACT(string, pattern)
REGEXP_EXTRACT_NTH(string, pattern, index)
REGEXP_MATCH(string, pattern)
REGEXP_REPLACE(string, pattern, replacement)
As with the Excel Data Prep and the Split Fields, this was something I often had to accomplish in Pentaho PDI prior to loading the data into Tableau, regardless of data source. Hooray for one less data manipulation step.

6. Hexbin support:

Hex bin is a good approach to displaying large numbers of data points, with higher information density than the current rectangular heat maps..Although possible in Tableau as shown in the post linked above, it would a powerful addition to Tableau. In Tableau 9.0 has two new formulas that enable hex bin support.

7. Enhancements to web authoring:

Drag and drop analytics, ad-hoc calculations, auto complete, new calculation editor and selection tools Are available when using web authoring.
Additional user experience enhancements include:

1. Tool tips stay shown until you move your mouse, rather than dropping off after a few seconds:
In current versions of Tableau, a tool tip only stays alive for 8 seconds and then it disappears. Tool tips stick around for as long as you leave your mouse in place. Furthermore, tool tips are now super responsive, populating with new data for whichever mark you’re hovering over in real-time. And if you don’t like this, there’s even an option to disable it in the tool tips window.
2. The tool tip window now has a “Show tool tips” tick box:
Staying on the same theme, tool tips now have an on/off switch, many times when I didn’t want to show a tool tip on a particular sheet in a viz, and I ended up having to manually delete all the text in the tool tip box, but even then this doesn’t get rid of the Upper tip, so I then had to look at overlaying the sheet with a blank, or text box. This will save absolutely tons of time during the build process.

3. Color Picker:
In previous versions we Add custom Color to Tableau
By Creating Custom Color code in "Preferences.tps
Navigation: Documents --> My Table Repository -->Preferences.tps
Add custom color code
Note: In tableau 9.0 version we have color picker option
New design and especially the ability to pick a color on screen.

4. Thumbnail Previews:
Hovering over Tabs and View names will now show a detailed thumbnail of that element, so that mysterious ‘New View 3’ you forgot to re-name can be easily located and identified as you scroll through a Workbook (or) assemble a Dashboard (or) Story.

Data Preparation:
1. Data interpreter:
Reading Loosely Structured Excel files: If you’re used to dealing with messy Excel spreadsheets, first thing you’ll notice is the “data interpreter”. Data interpreter is a nifty tool. If your spreadsheets are perfectly clean, you probably won’t even notice it is there. It will do a first pass through the data as it loads to populate the preview grid and run a light-weight version of the interpreter to see if spreadsheet contains anything that it can fix. If your data types and column lengths seem to not make sense or you seem to have multilevel headers as in the example below.

A loosely structured Excel spreadsheet
It will offer you help without getting in the way. Look for a gray bar at the bottom of the join diagram that spans its entire width.

You turn it on, it starts looking for areas of the sheet that can be converted into well-structured tables. Many properties of the sheet are used in this process from formatting elements such as color and borders to whether cells are empty or not and if not what their data types are. Based on this information, it will automatically discard the header/footer text and flatten multilevel table headers, remove inline comments… For the example above, you’d get something like this.

For comparison this is what it would look like with the option turned off. Big improvement.

2. Pivot:
Now that your data looks like a table, another common problem is that most reference data come as cross tabs since they’re intended to be consumed as reports as opposed to input for further analysis. Now you can pivot them in tableau 9 version.
Many text and Excel files have column names that are actually useful data values. For example this data has years and months as the field name.

For the best analytic experience, this data should have a column named “Date” and another with the data value instead of dozens of date columns. In other words we need to pivot part of the data set. Simply select the columns of interest and choose “Pivot” to get this:

If your data changes and after creating the workbook and you realize you have a new column with one more year of data, you can simply add it to the existing pivot.

To avoid potential confusion, it is worth mentioning that even though in the data analysis world this operation is often referred to as pivot, in database terminology it is called unpivot.

In 9.0 pivot is only supported when using the new Excel and Text connectors (not with Jet), calculated fields cannot be pivoted and pivoted fields cannot be used for joining tables (but they can be used when blending data sources).
3. Splitting delimited text:
I am sure you had to deal with composite strings in the past such as e-mails, phone numbers, URLs. Extracting relevant parts of a string could be a hassle but it doesn’t have to be if you have Tableau 9.0. Smart split analyzes a sample of your data to determine if it can be broken into representative parts. Some well-known patterns such as e-mails and URLs are recognized with their types and each part is named appropriately. For example e-mail will be broken into user name and domain.

If data cannot be associated with a known type, Tableau will still break the string into its parts but each part gets a generic name after its token number. You can initiate this action in many different places in Tableau.

As you can see, this is not just a split operation. Tableau actually removes what it determines to be constants (the repeating characters) from the string hence when you apply smart Split on a string like RGB color codes in the form (33,66,99) you not only get 3 numbers but you also get rid of the parentheses.
If you have an irregular pattern and smart split doesn’t succeed you can use “Custom Split” to specify a delimiter, whether to split from left or right and how many times to split. Both split options automatically create calculated fields for you that rely heavily on a new function in the calculation language called SPLIT.
SPLIT function takes 3 arguments. Input string, delimiter and token number. For example if you have customer names in the form John. C. Doe. You can write the following calculation to get the first name
SPLIT([Customer Name], ‘ ‘, 1)
which gives you the first token from the left after splitting on space.
Assuming some people will have middle names and some don’t, if you’d like to get the last name you can write the following.
SPLIT([Customer Name], ‘ ‘, -1)
which gives you the first token from the right after splitting on space.
4. Metadata Grid:
When preparing data for analysis, sometimes a list of fields is more useful than a preview of
 the data so we’ve added a “Metadata” view of your connection. It’s now easier to see the 
metadata that your data is based on and quickly rename fields and perform bulk actions.

This new features are available in the data grid and metadata area menus, so you can perform common actions such as rename a column, hide a column, and change the geographical role of a column. You can also initiate automatic and custom split and pivot actions from these menus.

5. Transform menu:
What typically used to be a job for Excel, SQL, or a calculated field of LEFTs and RIGHTs has now been made a one-click operation in Tableau. Just right-click on the dimension you want to split, navigate to the new ‘Transform’ menu and click Split. Tableau will automatically try to figure out the delimiter and split the data accordingly, but you can also choose Custom Split and specify the delimiter yourself if you like

Smart Maps:
I. Pan is the new default
II.New selection controls
III.Geographic search
I. Pan is the new default:
The new default mouse-drag action is to pan the map. When you pan, you'll notice that we automatically start drawing the map as you pan before you let go of the mouse. Tableau had change in Tableau 8.2 for web views, and now version 9 moved it to Tableau Desktop tooThis is one change that gives maps a more responsive, web-like feel.

II. Maps Get New Zoom Controls :
New selection controls
The new Zoom Controls now include two new selection types:
i. Radial Selection
ii.Lasso Selection
i. Radial Selection:
The Radial Selection zoom control allows your readers to select all marks that fall within a circular area centered on the location you first click on, and extending to the radius you click on next

ii. Lasso Selection:
The Lasso Selection feature allows readers to select all marks that fall within an irregular area that they draw on the map:

And we have keyboard shortcuts too. Hit Alt (or Option on a Mac) + A (rectangle),S (radial), or D (lasso). You can also hold the Shift key to lock those selection tools.
You'll also see a new selection experience on mobile devices. The upper-left corner now lets you change between pan and the three selection tools.

III. Geographic Search:
New Geographic Search comes in handy. You'll find it in the upper left of any map, and it
works just like you'd expect. Type in any location you're looking for, Tableau will give you a
 list of highly-probable options you want, and then will take you to said location.