Preparing Data for Tableau Analysis II

To be able to construct valid and efficient graphics, you should always make sure that your data is clean and easy to manage in order to begin creating visualizations. Within the software itself, Tableau gives you many options to be able to get your data ready for analysis. For instance, you can Pivot your data, Split columns, and Rename columns. I will demonstrate how you can do each of these things in order to get your data organized to begin working.

First of all, one of the coolest tools that Tableau provides for users is the Pivot option. The Pivot option allows you to put your data in the raw data order that Tableau prefers for analysis. As stated before, the data should only have one value under one column. In other words, if you have State, Region, and a different heading for each year, then you will have to Pivot your data in order to organize it so that there is only one column for Date. For example, here is my data below:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.11.53 PM

As you can see, there is an entry for each year and month. In order to group all this data, you will have to select all the Date columns and Select “Pivot” from the down pointing arrow:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.13.32 PM

Then your results will be the following:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.15.27 PM

Now, your data is ready for analysis. However, you might want to Rename the columns in order to make it easier to distinguish your measures. In order to do this, you also click on the arrow pointing down and click on “Rename.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.17.02 PM

Another interesting tool that Tableau provides is the “Split” option. You can choose for Tableau to Split your data into two columns, or you can choose to Split it to your liking.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.19.20 PM


When I simply choose the “Split” tool, Tableau will Split the Date column like this:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.24.07 PM


When you choose “Custom Split,” you can customize the Split with the following options:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.25.29 PM


In this case, the separator would be the dash, “-“. If you choose to Split off the First 1 Columns, then only the “2008” will be split into a new column. The Split off the Second 1 Columns, it will Split off only the “10”. The Split off First 2 Columns will return the same results as the “Split”.


I have gone over some of the basics in organizing your data for analysis within Tableau. In the following weeks, I will be introducing some other aspects of working with your Data Source.

About Jesica J

Data Analyst. Certified Microsoft BI Professional with extensive experience in Tableau.

Leave a Reply