Tableau 2020.1 has released new and exciting ways of adding interactivity and empowering storytelling for your audience. Some of the most requested features have become reality, and some of the most frustrating limitations have been eliminated. Below, I’ll walk you through how to leverage these new capabilities.

Dynamic Parameters in Tableau

Before Tableau made this change, users had to republish workbooks that contain parameters every time the underlying data changes. Now there is no more tedious workbook maintenance, which saves time and energy.  Let’s try this out!
Step 1:  Open the parameter dialog. 
Step 2:  You should immediately spot a new option: When workbook opens
Step 3:  Choose the relevant field from the dropdown menu.
That’s it! Tableau will now update your parameter according to the selected field.
I’ve prepared two examples based on date fields (these are pretty much omnipresent in projects). To demonstrate, I’ll be using the Sample-Superstore data-set provided by Tableau.


Example 1: Month Choice Parameter

This first example is pretty simple and straightforward. Since this dataset contains day level data, you’ll need a field to help truncate at the month level. 
Step 1:  Start by creating a calculated field named Month that contains the following formula:
DATE(DATETRUNC(‘month’,[Order Date]))
The next formula will determine the latest month. 
Step 2:  Continue by creating a calculated field named Max Month, containing:
Next, you’ll create that exciting dynamic parameter.
Step 3:  Create a new parameter named Month Choice, set the data type to Date.
Step 4:  Select List in allowable values.
Step 5:  Select the When workbook opens option, and choose Month from the dropdown menu. 
Step 6:  Set the display format as Month yyyy.
Step 7:  From the Value when workbook opens dropdown, choose Max Month.
Tableau Month Parameter
Step 8:  At this point, we need a field that will tie our parameter to the view. Create a calculated field named Month Choice Filter, containing:
[Month]=[Parameters].[Month Choice]
Step 9:  Place this on the filter pane in your view and check True. 
Step 10:  Go to the Month Choice parameter and right-click on Show Parameter Control
You have now configured this parameter to update automatically every time someone opens the workbook, which always makes the most current data available. Next time you open your workbook, the parameter will display the latest month contained in your updated dataset.
Tableau Month Parameter

Example 2: Date Range Parameters with the Latest Week Displayed

I’ve had this issue for a long time. My audience wanted the ability to freely choose a date range, but at the same time, they wanted to see the most-current week available displayed in the parameter. 
Maybe you’ve encountered this as well. This example of a double parameter might be a little more advanced. You’ll have one for Start Date and another one for End Date. 
Step 1:  Start by defining the latest Monday (start of the week). Create a calculated field named Last Monday, containing:
Step 2:  Do that for latest Sunday (end of the week) as well:

*Feel free to modify the formulas above as needed so that they work best for your specific data, they might not work in all the cases.

Step 3:  Create the dynamic parameters. Create a parameter named Start Date.
Step 4:  For the data type, select Date.
Step 5:  For Value when workbook opens, select Last Monday from the dropdown.
Step 6:  For Allowable values, select All and click OK.
Tableau Edit Parameter
Step 7:  Create a new parameter named End Date.
Step 8:  For the data type, select Date.
Step 9:  For Value when workbook opens, select Last Sunday from the dropdown.
Step 10:  For Allowable values, select All and click OK.
Tableau Parameter End Date
Now you’ll need a metric to help tie these parameters to the view. 
Step 11:  Create a calculated field named Date Filter, containing:
IF  DATE([Order Date]) >= DATE([Start Date]) AND DATE([Order Date]) <= DATE([End Date])then “Show” ELSE “Hide” END
Step 12:  Drag Date Filter on the Filters pane and check Show
Step 13:  Right-click on both parameters and Show Parameter Control
Congrats! You now configured these parameters to update automatically every time someone opens the workbook, always making the most-current data available. The next time you open your workbook, the parameters will display the latest week start and end date contained in your updated dataset.
Tableau Parameter Date

Viz Animations in Tableau

This new feature applies animated transitions to mark on a visualization. Through sorting, filtering, adding fields, and other actions, you can easily animate your visualizations. You can control these animations by going to Format menu > Animations
Tableau Animations
Here, you can turn them on or off, set the duration, and choose if you want your worksheets to change simultaneously or sequentially. You can also apply these settings individually per worksheet. Take a look at the gif below to see how it works!
Tableau Animations

Buffer Calculations in Tableau

These are a powerful addition to the Tableau geospatial toolkit. Now it’s easier to make spatial analysis when working with latitude and longitude, but what does this buffer thing exactly do? 
It creates a boundary around a point location and helps you easily examine the proximity of specific points in your area of interest. You can answer questions like: 

  • How many competitors are in a two-mile radius of my store location?
  • How many housing units are within one km of a rail station? 
  • How many liquor stores are within proximity to the school?

In the example below, I showed how many stratovolcanoes (which is considered one of the most dangerous volcano types) are intersecting in a 50 km radius in the U.S.
Tableau Buffer Calculations
Step 1:  To create a buffer calculation, start by creating a parameter that will allow you to set different distances while analyzing your data.
Tableau Parameter Buffer
Then, you’ll need a new field that will help you tie this parameter to your viz. Here’s an example:
BUFFER(MAKEPOINT([Latitude Vulcano],[Longitude Vulcano]),[Buffer Distance],”km”)
Step 2: Apply this on Detail on the marks shelf, and that’s it! Great work!


As you can see, Tableau 2020.1 has released a lot of new capabilities to help you dig deep into your data and gain a better understanding of your audiences. We know that this is critical for businesses to do while trying to maintain and keep revenue flowing.
If you have questions about these features, need more resources, or just want to strategize on some data visualization solutions, contact us today and we’d be happy to help.

About the author

Anamaria Craita

Anamaria Craita
Anamaria evangelizes best practices of data visualization to help companies understand the story behind their data. She has made it her mission to fill in storytelling gaps that businesses run into by delivering dashboards that drive actionable insights.

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