# FIXED LODs & My Understanding

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This blog article was not planned for. I was writing one that I actually intended to post and somewhere along the line I started making notes as I tried to understand a snippet of a calculation I was trying to blog about. When I realized my random explanation made a whole article, I decided to go with the flow so it just made sense to post it.

Before we continue and in my Youtube voice😊🔊,

‘Hey guys, I’m Chisom and Welcome Welcome to my blog. If you’re new here, I’d like you to clap, share and follow. If you’ve been here before, you know already that here we only chill, take a sip of our favorite drink, and keep Tableauing. In this space, I blog and keep a journal of how I am sharpening my Tableau skills in 2022. So if this is something you would like, definitely keep reading and come back for the next article😇.

So Back to FIXED LODs : LOD stands for Level of Detail

In a bid to understand the subject, I watched tons of tutorials and read lots of articles, but so far only one article was able to explain it to me in a way I understood. Honestly, I would term it FIXED LODs for Dummies. The article was written by Hanna Nykowska.

Hanna is a Tableau & Alteryx Consultant at The Information Lab Ireland. You can check her out here. You will be happy you did😊.

In this article, I have highlighted two sections from her post that lit a light bulb in my head during my research.

The first statement was trying to break down why FIXED LODs are essential and where they come in.

# 1ST AHA MOMENT!!

Sometimes, you want to calculate things at a different level than what you have in the view. This is where LODs work magic. — Hanna Nykowska

By making this statement, it means that under normal circumstances, if you would like to get more granularity in your viz ideally you have to add a variable usually a dimension to your view which could either be added to the rows, columns, marks card (color, path, label, details, size).

But what if you don’t want your view to change — i.e you like what you see, there is a way to go about getting more insights without tampering with the view.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE FIXED LODs COMES IN.

Fixed LODs have the capacity to give you more granularity through their calculations without tampering with what is in the view and this is what makes it super amazing!!

# 2ND AHA MOMENT!!!

The difference between basic calculations such as SUM(Sales) and LODs is that the BASIC CALCULATIONS will be computed based on what is in the view, whereas FIXED LOD will be calculated based on dimensions and measures specified in the LOD. — Hanna Nykowska

This statement lit a very bright bulb in my head because once I read it, I knew that was exactly what I typed in my google search to find an answer for. Before seeing this statement, I was trying to understand the difference between the two calculations below as the first was used in a tutorial video I was watching.

Calculation 1: {fixed : sum(sales) }

Calculation 2: sum(Sales)

Sum(Sales) (without fixed calc), gives you values based on what is in the view while fixed: sum(sales) (with fixed calc) gives you values based on what is stated in the formula. When using FIXED LODs, the syntax is:

In Image 1 above, since no dimension was stated in the formula for this specific example, it just gives you the sum of sales which will be the same value the calculation in Image 2 would give.

To understand clearly the real difference, pay attention to the images below.

In image 3 below, when both calculation 1 and calculation 2 are put in the view with no conditions, it results in giving you the same value. The reason is that calculation 2 is based on conditions in the view and literally NOTHING (by nothing, I mean dimension) is in the view while calculation 1 is based on what is stated in its formula and literally, NOTHING (no dimensions) again is stated here as well.

Hence, it is only required that they both give the same result.

Stay with me, we are almost there.

Notice that above, no specified dimension is either in the rows, columns, or marks card. Now let’s add ‘category’ (a dimension) and see what happens next.

IMPORTANT!! By adding the category to the view, calculation 2 changes value in all the different categories while calculation 1 remains the same.

Does this give a better picture now? I hope it does.

To close this section, we will add another dimension for clearer context. Image 5 below shows ship mode added to the view.

Notice that the ‘Without Fixed Calc’ changes in value in image 5 because basic calculations in Tableau are dependent on what is in the view, while ‘With Fixed Calc’ remains the same as the value in image 3 above.

To reinforce, this is because the formula does not reference any specific dimension. FIXED LODs are independent of what is in the view and give results based on the stated calculations.

I hope this gives you a good understanding of how to use FIXED LODs. I plan to play around with them in the coming weeks. Hopefully, I don’t confuse myself.LOL!

CONCLUSION

The words that make up this article were put together from the conversations in my head while trying to understand the subject. I hope it lights a bulb for you makes you learn something today.

Special Shoutout to Hanna Nykowska for her amazing article.