Rapid Calculations with Drag & Drop in 9.0

Contributor & Author: Tiffany Spaulding
Reference: Click Here

Here's a flashback to Tableau Desktop 8.3 to jog your memory in terms of how different the experience of 9.0 is. To build formulas, we either typed the code manually or scrolled through lists and double clicked the items we wanted to use.  

Tableau 9: A Whole New World
The biggest feature in 9.0 that affects my design speed is the drag and drop enhancements in the new calculations window. Simple mouse clicks now minimize manually entered syntax. Instead of having to double-click specific fields from scrolling lists or meticulously type every character from memory, Tableau 9.0 converts your drag & drop actions into code.
Feature #1: Pills become code when pulled IN to the calc editor from the view or data window.

Feature #2: Code becomes pills when pulled OUT of calc editor into the view or data window.

Feature #3: is the element that I failed to realize (pure oversight) until about a month ago. Pieces of code can be highlighted in the calc window then pulled into view to test. I don't know why I assumed you had to take either a small piece of the formula or the whole shebang, but my efficiency is better now that I know. These new design features reflect Tableau's iterative approach to visualizing data, allowing you to compare outcomes as you think with the tool.

  • Operators still need to be hard coded from the keyboard () [] {} + - / * < <= > >= <>.
  • Functions still need to be double clicked from the list at the right-hand side of the calc editor (or may be typed in from the keyboard).
  • If pulling an instance of a field from a shelf into the formula box, you do not need a CTRL + drag like some may think. Tableau leaves the original instance on the shelf and copies the code of the field into the calculation syntax. 
  • In my research to the limits of the drag and drop capabilities of the 9.0 calc editor, I discovered two limitations. First, the formula box will not receive Right Click drag (to select AVG Sales instead of Sum Sales) and second, the functions listed at the right of the formula box cannot be added via drag and drop.