By Ellie Fields 06 Avr, 2009

In Tableau 5.0, our passion to create interactive and beautiful visualization has taken us to a new level. We’ve given you more ways to answer questions with your data and more tools for sharing it. And we’ve added a dash of the joy we feel when customers say they love our stuff. Over the next two months we’ll provide a sneak peek of the 5.0 release in this blog.

In fact, to make Tableau 5.0 come to life, we’ve made our visualizations interactive by using a new test version of Tableau Server. (To get more info on this test, click on the Tableau logo in each visualization.)

The first thing we hope you’ll notice about Tableau 5.0 is its new visual treatment of selected data. When you select data it really pops out of the page, while the other data points retreat into the background. Now you’re able to highlight your selection and related data without losing the context of the overall data set.

Perhaps I want to look at high-value sales. I can simply select these points at the top of my graph, which helps me notice that large sales increase at the end of the year as customers make final budget decisions.

New Visual Selection Model

Selection is a very difficult problem to solve in software interfaces. And when understanding data is the task at hand, it’s even trickier. Think about it. If you turn everything red (like we do in our previous versions), you make the mistake of interfering with any color scheme that has red. Using red as a selector can even imply that the selected point is undesirable, given that red often means “stop” or “bad.” If you turn everything yellow, mimicking a highlighting marker, you make the mistake of interfering with any color scheme that uses yellow.

So we came upon the idea of fading out the non-selected points, but letting them retain their color. This approach has the following advantages:

  • Both the selected and the non-selected points retain their color, providing useful information
  • Selected points are no longer confused with red data encodings or “stop” messages
  • The selection model has consistent behavior across graph types and color schemes

  • The effect is not only more useful, but also more beautiful.
  • Development Themes in Tableau 5.0

    The visual selection model is just an appetizer. There are dozens of new features in Tableau 5.0! Most of them fall under four major themes:

    • Active views and dashboards to help you focus on your data while highlighting and filtering related data
    • Authoring interactive experiences with guided analytic workflows
    • Working with data anywhere, faster to make your analytic experiences sing
    • Supporting large Tableau Server deployments with thousands of users
    As with everything Tableau builds, you don’t need to be a programmer, data jockey, or system administrator to use the new features. They’re all just a few mouse clicks away.

    Now we’ll look at one of the authoring features that we call relative date filters.

    Sweet Time Series Analysis

    Asking questions about time is one of the most common things our customers do. In Tableau 5, we’ve added relative date filters to make that much easier.

    First we added relative time views in a quickfilter, so you can change the date range with just one click. Now you can author web experiences like you see on Google Finance: your audience can just click a date period to see the new date range instantly.

    Select a date range and stocks to include on the right:

    We’ve done lots more with filters, but that’s a taste of what’s coming. Let us know what you think in the comments, and come back to this blog every week for more previews of Tableau Software 5.0. In my next post we’ll look at the Active Dashboards theme: features that help you explore and highlight relationships in your data.


    Come on stop teasing! Give it to the market now! Loving the new features.

    A cool feature I'd like to be able to display multiple "text" values corresponding to multiple graphs in the page. For instance, if I have 3 row charts (line graphs), I want to show "sales text value" on the first, then "cost text value" on the second and so on. Currently, there is only one text value type that can be shown.


    Need ability to link filters on dashboard, without need to define them as Global Filter. E.g. if 2 sheets in the dashbard have Time filter, a single quick filter should change both sheets.

    Regarding the example "Stocks of the Tech Giants" shown on webpage:

    I use Google Finance a lot, and I think that their visual representation of a stock's price is much better. I can adjust the date range using sliders under the graph and the graph updates instantly with a smooth movement of the graph as it adjusts to the period I'm selecting.

    So, in your example, there are 2 problems: First, the date range options are fixed and there is not enough "play" with the begining and end of the period I want to look at.
    Secondly, When I select a certain time period (for example, 1W) and then switch to another one (let's say - 1M), the graph switches to the 1M view immediately without a smooth transition between the two views.

    Perhaps I'm wrong and Tableau 5 can create such a representation, but you guys didn't demonstrate such an ability.

    Eric G.

    Yoram, what are you doing here commenting on a Tableau application? I thought you use SAP's BI module.
    Checking out the competition, ay?? lol

    I agree with quick filters on the dashboards, there is the ability to make the filter global but this will change the entire workbook. There should be a way to change only dashboard filters. The new technology that has developed including active dashboards may solve this issue.

    Eric, you mix me with somebody else. I have nothing to do with SAP.