3 Lessons from My 1st Submission for #Back2VizBasics

6 min readFeb 28, 2022

Brief Introduction to #Back2VizBasics(#B2VB)

#Back2VizBasics is ‘a Tableau Community Project that takes us back to our viz basics. Wherever you stand in your Tableau or Data Visualization Journey, this project is here to help you practice some of the basics to help you form or rebuild a solid foundation’.

Essentially, if you’re looking to be better at Tableau by participating in a community project while still keeping it very simple, then this project is for you.

Main Gist For Today

I finally created my first visualization for #B2VB. I say finally because, I have made at least one attempt to start all of them but for some reason, I never finish as a result of my ‘busy schedule’😉.

The link to My Viz can be found HERE.


The goal for the 3rd week was to build a text table. Before this project, I had never had a reason to build one, so it was definitely a good opportunity to give this a shot. For this viz, I tried to keep it simple so I scribbled down a few things I wanted to pay attention to while vizzing.

Just in case you don’t know what a text table is, the image below will give you an idea.

Sample of A Text Table

While carrying out some research and putting together ideas for what I wanted the final visualization to look like, I stumbled on the perfect definition of a simple yet purposeful text table created by Jeffery Shaffer. You can find the link here.

In other to keep this article short, here are some of the Tableau lessons I learned along the way that I had either forgotten or never knew about. You might find this helpful if you’re just beginning your journey with Tableau and you’re drowning because of the endless amount of resources in the community.

Lesson 1: How Dashboard Actions Work

Dashboard Actions from my understanding are a way of giving users an opportunity to take control of the view they want to see. It increases interactions and ends up creating a result for every action the user takes on.

For this visualization, I wanted to use dashboard actions to:

  1. Redirect the user to a more detailed page when they click on a player on the athlete’s catalog — check the image below.

2. Take the user back to the overall Athlete Catalog.

The process for achieving both of them is pretty much the same so I will go ahead and elaborate on the first use case.


On the menu go to:

Dashboard → Actions→A dialog box pops up → Add Action → Filter (there are other options in this drop-down to select the one that best suits the type of action you intend to perform).

Because I wanted Tableau to filter more details for a certain player, it only made sense to choose this option.

According to Tableau, Filter actions send information between worksheets. Typically, a filter action sends information from a selected mark to another sheet showing related information. Behind the scenes, filter actions send data values from the relevant source fields as filters to the target sheet.

*N.B: text in bold in this guideline section tally with my selected option in the image below.

  • Specify the Source Sheet *(Athlete Catalog)— this sheet will initiate the action to be seen.
  • Specify the Target Sheet (Details) — this sheet will show the result of the action.
  • Select how you want the action to be run; either hover, select, or menu.
  • Select what clearing this selection will do — leave the filter.
  • Enable ‘Run on single select only’. This prevents Tableau from running actions when multiple marks are selected.
  • Click OK on both popped-up dialog boxes and then go ahead to test these actions.
Dashboard Actions Dialog box

Lesson 2: The Secret Behind Tableau & Background Images

If you have ever fussed about your Background Image being cut off, then this should help.

Goal: My endpoint was very simple, but getting there was a bit tricky. I knew that I wanted something like what Jeffery Shaffer had in his viz.

Jeffery’s Image


At first, my instincts added it as a shape in Tableau in the marks card but the problem with that was, no matter how much I tried to format it, Tableau kept cutting off a part of the image. So I had to go in search of another solution:

Solution That Worked: Select Map → Background Images → Select Data Source

When the dialog box comes up, select Add Image → Browse

One of the requirements is to enter an X-field and Y-field. The reason for this is that since you add this background image through a map feature, you have to tell Tableau how to place the coordinates. This requires some playing around if this is your first time this but I would say try the numbers below first and make any adaptations from there.

X Field, select X and set Left to 0 and Right to 100

Y Field, select Y and set Bottom to 0 and Top to 100

With this, my image became a close mimic of what Jeffery had. One thing you must note is that your image won’t show if you don’t have data in your view in Tableau. When I noticed that this was the case, I randomly created an X-axis calculation and placed it in both my row and columns. See flow below:

Lesson 3: Wildcard Match Option — A Text Box Kind of Search

I never really thought of or used this feature before although I always knew it existed. In Jeffery’s dashboard, he let users search for music names by typing as opposed to using a drop-down as I was most familiar with.

When you have filers in a dashboard or worksheet, there are different ways users can interact with them. The most common one for me was always a drop-down, so when Jeffery’s visualization had something other than what I was familiar with, I was definitely intrigued. See the image below for more details.

  • 1 in the image below refers to the final product of ‘wildcard option match
  • 2 in the image below refers to the ‘single value dropdown(list)’
Wildcard Option match VS Single Value Dropdown(List)


Now the question is, how do you get here? Quite simple actually.

When you have enabled showing your filter on your dashboard, select any filter you would like to use the wildcard option for. When selected, there will be a little pop-out that has 3 signs:

  • An X for ‘Remove from Dashboard’
  • A thumbtack for ‘Fix Height’
  • A small arrow for ‘More Options’

Clicking on the 3rd option (the arrow) will let you see the numerous options you can manipulate for this filter. Amongst these options, you would see, ‘Wildcard Match’. Select this or any other option depending on what you hope to achieve and what fits your dashboard best. Simple Right!!! See the image below.


Writing this gave me an opportunity to go back and forth to my work thereby reinforcing my learnings and helping me understand each lesson better.

I am super grateful to have found Jeffery’s work as it formed a strong foundation for the learnings highlighted here.

I intend to publish more of these as I work on personal Tableau projects so if you want to tag along, follow me here and on my social media pages. Use the hashtag #learnTableauWithChisom so we can stay accountable to ourselves.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chisomezeilo/

Twitter: chisomezeilo01

In the meantime,

Chill, take a sip of your favorite drink, and keep Tableauing. Till next time. Bye!!