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  • A Beginner's Guide to Tableau Calculations: Understanding Table Calculations and Creating Calculated Fields

    May 02, 2023
    Jillian Starla
    Jillian Starla
    With a master’s in business statistics, Jillian has worked with thousands of students and gotten them good grades in tableau assignments.

    Tableau is an outstanding data visualization and analysis application. It offers a variety of tools for developing compelling interfaces and visualizations. Calculations enable users to perform mathematical operations and create new measures. In this introductory guide, we will examine the fundamentals of Tableau calculations which will enable students to solve tableau assignments effectively.

    What are Tableau Calculations?

    Tableau calculations are one of the platform's most essential features. They enable you to perform various mathematical, statistical, and logical operations on your data to generate actionable insights and interactive visualizations.

    Calculations in Tableau can be used for a variety of purposes, including data aggregation, data filtering, the creation of calculated fields, and more. They can be used to construct complex calculations that would be difficult or impossible to perform manually.

    Calculations in Tableau are created using a simple formula language comparable to Excel. You can use fundamental arithmetic operators such as +, -, *, and / in addition to more complex functions such as IF, SUM, AVG, MAX, and MIN.

    Calculations in Tableau are highly adaptable and can be created in a variety of ways, dependent on the user's requirements. You can construct calculations using the Tableau interface or in a separate editor and then copy and paste them into Tableau.

    Calculations in Tableau are a potent tool for unlocking the full potential of your data and creating highly informative and interactive visualizations. In the following sections, we will examine in greater depth how to construct and utilize Tableau calculations.

    Understanding how to construct and employ calculations is essential for completing a variety of Tableau tasks, including the creation of custom metrics, data analysis, and visualizations with advanced calculations. In addition to showcasing their analytic abilities, students can create more compelling and incisive visuals for their assignments if they know how to use calculations effectively.

    Table Calculations

    To conduct calculations on a set of data, typically within a single worksheet or dashboard, table calculations are utilized. They are computed in real time based on the view's dimensions and measurements. Table calculations enable you to perform complex calculations that are not available in the standard aggregation and filtering options, allowing you to analyze and gain insights from your data.

    Follow these methods to develop a table calculation in Tableau:

    • Choose a page or dashboard.
    • Right-click the measurement for which you wish to perform the calculation.
    • From the drop-down menu, select "Add Table Calculation"
    • Select the type of calculation, such as running total, percent of total, or moving average, that you wish to perform.
    • Select the dimensions to be utilized in the calculation.

    After creating a table calculation, you can modify it by modifying its compute using options. These options dictate how calculations are performed across the view's dimensions. For instance, you have the option to compute the table calculation across all dimensions or just a subset of dimensions.

    Advanced options, such as addressing and partitioning, can also be utilized to modify table calculations. These options enable you to further control the calculation's scope and behavior.

    It is essential to comprehend the calculation's context when using table calculations in a school assignment. This comprises the view's dimensions and measurements, as well as the compute method and advanced options chosen. By comprehending the calculation's context, you can ensure that it performs the correct data analysis.

    Additionally, it is essential to consider the layout of your table calculations. This includes selecting the appropriate chart type and color scheme, as well as employing labels and annotations to make the calculation results understandable to the reader.

    Overall, table calculations can be a powerful tool for your Tableau assignments, allowing you to conduct complex calculations and gain insights from your data. You can ensure that your analysis is accurate and informative by adhering to best practices and comprehending the context of your calculations.

    Calculated Fields

    Calculated Fields in Tableau are user-defined formulas that allow you to conduct calculations on your data source. They permit the creation of novel dimensions and measures that do not already exist in the data source.

    Calculated fields can be utilized in a variety of ways, from fundamental arithmetic operations to statistical analysis and predictive modeling. They can be created using fundamental mathematical operators, predefined functions, or user-defined functions.

    Use the "Create Calculated Field" option in the "Analysis" menu to create a calculated field. Then, you can select the appropriate formula and enter the required values or dimensions.

    In Tableau, calculated fields can be used to create a wide variety of visualizations. Using calculated fields, you can generate bar charts, pie charts, scatter plots, and more. In addition, they can be used in conjunction with other Tableau features, such as filters and groups, to generate more complex and comprehensive visualizations.

    It is essential, when using calculated fields in Tableau assignments, to ensure that the formula used is appropriate for the assignment and the data being analyzed. In addition, it is essential to consider the structure and layout of the visualization as a whole, and to ensure that calculated fields are used effectively to convey the desired insights.

    Overall, calculated fields are an effective instrument for Tableau users, enabling more sophisticated data analysis and visualization. Beginners can take their Tableau skills to the next level and create high-quality visualizations for their assignments if they comprehend how to effectively create and utilize calculated fields.

    Calculating Calculated Fields

    Now that the fundamentals of Tableau calculations have been covered, let's delve deeply into creating calculated fields.

    Calculated fields are Tableau expressions used to conduct calculations on data. These calculations can be based on one or more dataset attributes. You can create new measures, alter data types, and perform mathematical operations on your data using calculated fields.

    Following these steps will allow you to construct a calculated field in Tableau:

    • To create a calculated field, right-click the data pane and select "Create Calculated Field."
    • Enter the calculation's formula in the "Formula" dialog pane.
    • Give the calculated field a name, then click "OK."

    Let's examine some examples of creating calculated fields in Tableau.

    Example 1: Developing a new measurement

    Suppose you have a dataset containing sales revenue and sold quantity. You wish to determine the average selling price per unit. Create a new calculated field titled "Price per unit" using the following formula.


    This formula divides the total sales revenue by the total quantity sold to determine the average price per unit.

    Example 2: Changing data categories

    Suppose you have a dataset that contains a date field. You wish to alter this field's data type from string to date format. To accomplish this, you can construct a new calculated field titled "Date" using the formula below:

    DATEPARSE("MM/dd/yyyy", [Date])

    This formula converts the date string to a date format using the DATEPARSE function.

    Example 3: Performing arithmetic operations

    Suppose you have a dataset containing a temperature in Celsius field. You wish to convert the temperature to Fahrenheit. Create a new calculated field titled "Temperature (F)" using the following formula.

    ([Temperature (C)] * 9/5) + 32

    This formula multiplies the Celsius temperature by 9/5 and adds 32 in order to convert it to Fahrenheit.

    Using functions and logical statements, calculated fields can be used to construct complex calculations. For instance, you can use the IF statement to perform calculations based on conditions and the WINDOW functions to perform calculations based on a sliding window of data.

    In conclusion, calculated fields are a potent tool in Tableau that enables you to construct new measures, modify data types, and perform mathematical operations on your data. By following the straightforward steps for creating calculated fields, you can create complex calculations that will help you obtain insights from your data.

    Using Functions in Calculated Fields

    In calculated fields in Tableau, functions can be used to generate more complex calculations. Functions are predefined formulas that conduct a particular operation on a given data set. There are numerous functions available in Tableau, each designed to solve a particular problem or accomplish a particular mission.

    Here are some frequently used Tableau calculated field functions:

    Tableau offers a variety of mathematical functions for performing mathematical operations on data. SUM, AVG, MIN, MAX, and COUNT are some examples of mathematical functions.

    These functions are used to manipulate textual data. The string functions LEFT, RIGHT, MID, LEN, and TRIM are examples.

    • Date functions: These are used to manipulate dates and timings. The YEAR, MONTH, DAY, HOUR, and MINUTE are examples of date functions.
    • Logical functions: These functions are utilized to assess for specific data conditions. The following are examples of logical functions: IF, AND, OR, and NOT.

    These functions are utilized to conduct calculations on subsets of data. The aggregate functions SUM, AVG, MIN, MAX, and COUNT are examples.

    These functions are utilized to conduct calculations on a table of data. Table calculations include running totals, moving averages, and total percentage.

    When creating calculated fields in Tableau, it is essential to comprehend how functions operate and to employ them effectively. It is also essential to remember that functions can be combined in a variety of ways to produce more intricate calculations. By effectively utilizing functions and calculated fields, you can obtain a deeper understanding of your data and create more sophisticated visualizations.

    Examples of Calculated Fields

    This section will provide some examples of calculated fields to help you comprehend how to implement them in your Tableau visualizations.

    1. Calculating Total Percentage:
    2. A common application of calculated fields is calculating the total percentage for a given dimension. If you have a dataset of sales by region, for instance, you may wish to calculate the percentage of total sales for each region. To accomplish this, you can construct a calculated field using the formula below:


      This will provide you with the sales percentage for each region.

    3. Calculating Running Total:
    4. A common application of calculated fields is to compute ongoing totals. If you have a dataset of daily sales, for instance, you may wish to calculate the cumulative sales over time. To accomplish this, you can construct a calculated field using the formula below:


      This will provide the cumulative sales total over time.

    5. Calculating Difference from Previous Period:

      You can also use calculated fields to determine the difference between the current period and the previous period. For instance, if you have a dataset of monthly sales, you may wish to determine the difference between the current month and the previous month. To accomplish this, you can construct a calculated field using the formula below:

      SUM([Sales]) - LOOKUP(SUM([Sales]), -1)

      This will provide the sales difference from the previous month.

    6. Calculating Averages:
    7. Averages can also be calculated using calculated fields. If you have a dataset of product ratings, for instance, you may wish to determine the average rating for each product. To accomplish this, you can construct a calculated field using the formula below:


      This will provide you with each product's consensus rating.

    8. Calculating Ratios
    9. You can also calculate ratios using calculated fields. If you have a dataset of employee salaries by department, for instance, you may wish to calculate the ratio of each employee's salary to the average salary for their department. To accomplish this, you can construct a calculated field using the formula below:


      This will provide the ratio of each employee's compensation to the department's average salary.

      Tableau visualizations can be made more complex and insightful by utilizing calculated fields. The key is to comprehend the logic and syntax underlying Tableau calculations and to apply them in a variety of situations.

    Best Practices for Calculated Fields

    Several recommended practices for working with calculated fields in Tableau can help you create more effective and efficient visualizations. Here are a few considerations:

    • Begin with a simple formula: When creating a new calculated field, begin with a simple formula and progressively expand upon it. This can help you avoid errors and make troubleshooting problems simpler.
    • Give calculated fields descriptive names that accurately reflect their function. This can make them simpler to locate and use in the future.
    • Add annotations to your calculated fields to describe what they do and why they are significant. This is especially useful if you are working with a team or if you need to return to your work later.

    • Avoid duplicating calculations: If you find yourself repeatedly constructing the same calculated field, consider a parameter or table calculation instead.
    • Test your calculations: You should always test your calculated fields to ensure that they are functioning properly. This can be accomplished by comparing the results to known values or by utilizing Tableau's in-built validation tools.
    • Optimize your calculations: If your calculated fields are dragging down your visualization, consider optimizing them by using a simpler formula or a different type of calculation.
    • By adhering to these best practices, you can create more efficient and effective calculated fields in Tableau, thereby achieving your data analysis objectives.


    Calculations in Tableau are a potent instrument for generating new measures and conducting complex calculations. Calculated fields may be utilized for mathematical, logical, and string operations. Calculations can be performed on the data in a visualization using table calculations. Users can create effective and efficient calculated fields in Tableau by adhering to best practices.

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