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Preparing data stories on Tableau

In this article, you will develop an understanding of the role and value of a data story and how to build one within Tableau.

Stories in Tableau are a sequence of visualisations that work together to convey information. A story is a sheet, so methods you use to create a name and manage worksheets and dashboards also apply to stories. A story can also be a collection of sheets, arranged in a particular sequence. Once you share a story on Tableau, users can interact with the story to reveal new findings or ask new questions on the data.

To see an example how to build a story in Tableau read the following article. Read: Example – A Story That Examines a Trend [1]

You may also wish to log in to the Tableau website and complete the Story Points tutorial (you’ll find the sample workbooks sitting beneath the video, as well as a PDF transcript) [3]

Let’s explore how to create a story on Tableau.

Step 1: Click the ‘New Story’ tab.

Step 1: Create a story in Tableau.

Step 2: In the lower-left corner of the screen, choose a size for your story. Choose from one of the predefined sizes, or set a custom size (in pixels).

Step 2: Select "Story (1016x964)"

Step 3: By default, your story takes its title from the sheet name. To edit it, right-click the sheet tab, and choose ‘Rename Sheet’.

Step 4: To start building your story, double-click on a sheet on the left to create a new story point (i.e. an individual sheet).

Step 3: Fill in story.

Step 5: To summarise the story point, you can click ‘Add’ to add a caption. In Tableau Desktop, you can highlight a key takeaway for your viewers by dragging a text object to the story worksheet and typing a comment.

Step 6: To further highlight the main idea of this story point, you can change a filter or sort on a field in the view. Then, save your changes by clicking ‘Update’ on the story toolbar above the navigator box.

Step 6: Update the story.

Step 7: Add another story point by doing any of the following.

Click ‘Blank’ to use a fresh sheet for the next story point. Start customising a story point and click ‘Save as New’ on the toolbar above the navigator box.

Step 7: Create new story in Tableau

You can also click ‘Duplicate’ to use the current story point as the basis for a new one.

Reflection

Reflect on your understanding of data and the persuasive story it can tell. In this discussion you have an opportunity to share your thoughts on the relationship between a great story and effective presentation.

Consider the following statement and think about whether you agree or disagree with it:

It doesn’t matter how good your data story is, if your presentation skills aren’t good.

Post your reflections in the comment section below.

References:

  1. Example – A Story That Examines a Trend [Internet]. Tableau; 2020. Available from https://help.tableau.com/current/pro/desktop/en-us/story_example.htm
  2. Story Points. Tableau; [date unknown]. Available from: https://www.tableau.com/learn/tutorials/on-demand/story-points?playlist=438454
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