Make Visualizations Faster

You’ve put in a lot of work to make your visualization—view, dashboard, or story—make a point or tell a story. You don’t want to lose your audience while you wait for the visualization to load. By following the guidelines in this topic, you can improve the speed of your visualizations.

Reduce the scope

Whether you’re creating a view, dashboard, or story, it’s tempting to pack a lot of information into your visualization because it’s so easy to add more fields and calculations to the view and more sheets to the workbook. But the result can be that the visualization becomes slower and slower to render.

Remember that each worksheet runs one or more queries against the data, so the more sheets, the longer it takes to render the visualization.

Take advantage of the fact that Tableau is designed to deliver interactive visualizations to your users, and spread the data out across multiple visualizations, if you can. Be strategic when designing your visualization—the fewer sheets and data sources, the faster your visualization will perform.

Limit the number of filters you show in the view

Filters that you show in your view (formerly called quick filters) are a very powerful feature of Tableau that you can use to create rich, interactive visualizations for your users. See the filters highlighted on the right in the following screenshot:

When you add an interactive filter to a view, each filter in the view requires a query in order to populate the options. If you add a lot of interactive filters to your dashboard, it can cause the dashboard to take a long time to render.

Also, when you use “show relevant values” on a filter, it requires a query to update the shown values each time other filters are changed. Use this feature sparingly.

Reduce the number of marks on the view

While there is no hard and fast rule on what defines “too many marks,” be aware that more marks means that more processing power and memory is required to render them. You can find the number of marks by looking at the lower left of the Tableau Desktop window in the status bar. Watch out for large crosstabs and for maps with complex custom polygons. Keep in mind that too many data points on a view can also reduce the visual analytics value by causing information overload.

To avoid this problem, compile related views and connect them with action filters so that you can go from an overview to a more granular view as you explore the data. Make sure that you remove any unneeded dimensions from the Detail shelf. You can also try displaying your data in different types of views to see what’s most effective.

Zoom without filtering

When users zoom in on a visualization with a large number of marks, Tableau doesn’t filter out the marks you can’t see. What changes is the view of the data, not the total number of marks. If you only need a subset of the data, filter out the data you don’t need.

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