The Tableau Community Forums are THE place to go to get your Tableau questions answered or to submit an idea for a feature you would like to see in a future version of Tableau. The Forums are full of passionate, knowledgeable Tableau users that thrive on solving problems in Tableau. You can even collaborate with your local Tableau User Group (TUG) via the Forums.

For many Tableau users, the Forums are the first interaction they have with the Tableau Community, even if they don’t realise it. It’s not uncommon for users to go to the Forums in search of help for tough Tableau challenges they face in their daily work. Remember, the Forum members (the people who help to answer questions) are predominately Community volunteers just like you, while Tableau employees also get involved occasionally to help support users.

There’s so much more to the Forums than just a place to ask and answer questions. There are also many benefits of getting involved in the Forums too, even some that you might not expect!

Reasons to Get Involved

There are a whole host of reasons why you should get involved in the Tableau Community Forums. Below I’ve listed just a few of them:

To Get Support

First and foremost, many Tableau users initially go to the Tableau Forums for support. There’s no better place (in my opinion) to find solutions to your most challenging Tableau problems. Regardless of if you find an answer to your Tableau problem via a question posted by somebody else, or you post a new question of your own, the community users on the Forums are welcoming, passionate and ready to share their knowledge to help you.

The great thing about posting your question on the Forums versus other community social channels (such as Twitter, LinkedIn, or Slack) is that your question will automatically be visible to a huge group of knowledgeable community users who are ready to support you. Not only that, but your question (and hopefully the subsequent solution) will be saved on the Forums for others to find later if they encounter the same problem as you in the future. Questions posted on social channels may get answered but they are quickly lost amongst all of the other chatter and become difficult for people to find later.

To Learn and Support Others in the Process

As you become more skilled in Tableau, you’ll find yourself in a position where you can help others with their questions. Attempting to answer questions on the Forums is an excellent way to challenge yourself to find solutions to real-world Tableau problems. In doing so, you’ll likely expand your Tableau knowledge and learn new techniques which you can apply to your Tableau work.

The Forums are also a great place to learn from other users. A wealth of knowledge is shared on the Forums every day. There’s so much to learn from browsing through resolved questions and seeing the solutions that were shared by the community. Often there will be more than one approach to solving a problem so even if you know how to do something already, you may learn approaches that are quicker or easier.

To Meet Others

The Forums are a great way to connect with other community members and grow your network. Often Tableau users might be the only person using Tableau in their workplace. Perhaps this applies to you reading this. In this scenario, it can be difficult to find other Tableau users to interact with. This is where the Forums can be a hugely valuable resource. Once you become more familiar with the Forums, you’ll become familiar with the close-knit group of highly active users who regularly contribute. You may also find yourself in conversation with other users on question threads. The Forums probably aren’t the best place to connect with the Tableau Community at large (Twitter is much better for this) but they are a great place to connect with users in a more introverted, personal way.

To Help Influence the Product Roadmap

Included on the Forums is an Idea Board (more details are included later in this post) where you can share your ideas for product enhancements, vote on ideas posted by others, or have two-way conversations that can help influence the Tableau development team (and in turn, influence the future product roadmap). The Ideas Board receives thousands of visits per month, with new ideas being submitted every single day. Rather than complaining “I wish Tableau could……” to your colleagues, post an idea on the Forums and get your suggestion in front of the Tableau Product Team. You never know, it might make its way into a future product release!

To Earn Points, Badges and to Climb the Leaderboard

By interacting on the Forums you can earn points and virtual recognition badges. Who doesn’t love badges?! Your reputation level on the Forums directly corresponds to how active you are. Reputation is reflected in points. The more you post, comment, answer questions and share content, the more points you will earn and the higher your reputation level will be. There are several things you can do to earn points:

  • Answer or Ask a Question: 10 points
  • Write a Post: 10 points
  • Comment on a Post: 10 points
  • Mark an answer as Best: 10 points
  • Have your answer marked as best: 25 points
  • Share a Post: 1 point
  • Someone Shares your Post: 5 points

As you earn points, you’ll move through the reputation levels and move up the leaderboard. Each reputation level has a badge associated with it, starting with the “Data Newbie” level:

There are also other badges you can earn through special community challenges or by reaching certain milestones (i.e. answering 100 questions). The badges you earn will appear on your profile.

The Forum Leaderboard is refreshed daily and shows Forum members ranked by the number of points they have earned since they started engaging on the Forums. The members at the top of the table such as Community Rockstars Jim Dehner, Ken Flerlage and Deepak Rai have a staggering number of points, a testament to their dedication to the community and helping others:

Ways to Get Involved

Set Up a Profile

If you haven’t used the Forums before, the first thing you’ll need to do is create a profile. You can use your regular Tableau account to login (the one you use to login via if you have one) or create an account from scratch on the Forums site. It’s completely free to join!

The first thing you’ll be prompted to do after you sign in is set up your profile. This is where you can add a profile picture and some details about you:

Once your profile is set up, you’re ready to go!

If you have never used the Forums before, I highly recommend checking out the ‘First Time Here‘ resources to help you get started.

Ask a Question

The Forums are the place to go to seek answers to your product-related questions. In fact , there are more than 195,000 questions on the Forums!

With so many answered questions, the chances are that if you have a question, someone else has likely asked it in the past or if not, someone will have the same issue in the future. For that reason, it’s best to search for an answer to your question before posting one yourself. You can optimise your search by following the tips mentioned here.

If you can’t find a question similar to yours, go ahead and post a question of your own. But wait! Before hitting that orange “Ask a Question” button, follow the tips below to maximise your chances of getting a solution to your problem.

Familiarise yourself with the question window:

  • Post To – use this to select a relevant topic category for your question.
  • Question – this will be the title of your question. Keep it short, specific and relevant.
  • Details – this is where you describe your issue in more detail.
  • Topics – add one or more topics using the tags at the bottom to ensure your question gets submitted to the relevant discussion forum. When you type a topic in it will suggest a name for you but you can also view the complete list of topics here.

If your question is related to a workbook, whenever possible be sure to attach a Tableau packaged workbook to your question to help show your issue, for example, a calculation that isn’t working as expected. Without a workbook, it makes it much more difficult for Forum members to provide solutions as they cannot see the exact setup of your data and design. You can attach a workbook (or any other relevant file) using the paperclip icon at the bottom of the question window. A packaged workbook gives something for the Forum members to work with and goes a long way in helping them to understand the problem you are experiencing.

Always remember to anonymise your data before sharing any workbooks on the Forums! The simplest way to do this is by trying to replicate your issue using the Superstore Sales dataset (or any other anonymised data relevant to your use case). You could also try the approach explained here.

Provide as much detail as you can and be specific:

The Forum members want to help you! But to answer your question effectively, they need to fully understand your problem. In most cases questions are answered quickly but sometimes, questions go unanswered because they are vague or lack detail. When completing the details section, consider including the following information:

  • The Tableau Product you are working with, i.e. Tableau Desktop
  • The version of Tableau you are using, i.e. 2021.1
  • The type of data you are connecting to
  • The structure of your data, including details of any joins, etc
  • The desired outcome, i.e. “I want my calculation to return….”. If you are trying to achieve something visual (i.e. a particular chart type or table layout), it’s helpful if you include a mockup screenshot of how it should look.
  • If you are working under any restrictions. For example, do you need help with a calculation that must be done in a certain way? If so, mention this so you aren’t given a solution that doesn’t work.
  • The data sources you are working with; i.e. a live connection or an extract?
  • If you are attaching an image, be sure to use the “attach image” button as copy/paste does not work for images currently.

Share what you have tried so far:

Forum members are likely to respect and respond much better if you show you’ve made a good attempt at solving things yourself before jumping onto the Forums.

You might have already spent some time searching for a solution to your problem on the Forums, or through Google searches. Perhaps your tried following solutions or advice shared in response to other questions without success. Regardless, it’s helpful if you outline the troubleshooting steps you have tried or articles you reviewed already (provide links where possible). This will help to ensure that others will not suggest solutions you have already tried.

Remember, the Forum members want to help you so if you have missed any details from your question, you’ll likely receive a supportive response from a Forum member asking for more information or a packaged workbook. However, it’s much quicker for everyone if you include this information in your initial question.

Once you have your solution:

Hopefully, your question was answered and you have a solution to your Tableau problem. However, before you rush off, there are a few things you should do to close the loop.

  • Let the user/s who helped you know that their solution worked. This closes the loop and confirms the problem is solved.
  • Thank the community members that helped you. If the courteous thing to do. They gave up their time to help you solve your problem so the least you can do is say thank you.
  • Select “Select as Best” against the correct answer (or the one that gave you the prefered solution). This confirms your issue is resolved and also helps other users who view your question in the future to understand which solution was the best:

Remember, if you have a follow-up question, it’s best to post it as a new question. This makes it easier for people to find your question later. You can always link back to your original question in your post for context.

Answer Questions

The Forums rely on community members to get involved and share their knowledge to help support users. What’s stopping you from getting involved and answering questions?

Before I started answering questions on the Forums, I was hesitant to get involved. However, I need not have worried. The Forums are full of users of all skill levels and you don’t need to be a Tableau expert to start answering questions. What’s more, the Forum users are a friendly, welcoming group and will support you along the way.

Finding Unanswered Questions

There are multiple ways to find unanswered questions. Firstly, Tableau keep a viz of unanswered questions by topic and date posted. This is a great place to start.

Alternatively, you can view unanswered questions by selecting “Unanswered Questions” from the ribbon tab on any of the topic forums (this is great if you have a particular interest area, i.e. maps or Tableau Prep), or simply scroll down on the Explore page to view all unanswered questions. Unanswered questions are posted in reverse chronological order with the most recent questions shown first:

How to Answer a Question

To answer a question, simply select within the “write an answer” box below a question and start typing your response:

You’ll notice there are several options on the bar within the answer box which can be used to format text, add hyperlinks or attach images. You can also attach a packaged workbook by using the paperclip icon.

Tips for Answering Questions

I highly recommend browsing the unanswered questions and challenging yourself to attempt to answer a few. There will be questions of all shapes and sizes, from people asking for help with complex calculations, to others asking for help with charts or error messages.

When a user has attached a packaged workbook, download it and try working through their problem. Even if you can’t find a solution, it’s a great way of challenging yourself. If you come up with a solution, show it in the workbook (where relevant) and upload the packaged workbook with your answer. This will help the user see the solution working in practice and make it far easier for you to explain what you did. If your solution involves writing a calculation, be sure to include the calculation in your response with an explanation of what it does.

If you attempt to answer a question but run into difficulty, don’t just walk away. Bookmark the question! That way, you can check on the solutions shared by other users later and learn from them. You can view your bookmarked questions from your profile page.

Multiple Answers

Don’t be offended if other users respond to a question after you have submitted your response. There are often more than one solution to problems in Tableau. That doesn’t mean your solution was wrong, it just means there are other approaches that you can take.

Upvoting Answers

Remember, you can upvote other members’ answers by selecting “Upvote” and the user asking the question can mark answers as “Best Answer” if it resolved their issue. If a solution helped you (even if you didn’t post the question) you can still recognise users by upvoting their answers.

The Ideas Board

The Ideas Board is one of the most popular and important spaces in the Tableau Community Forums. This is where the community can share their ideas for product enhancements, vote on ideas posted by others, or have two-way conversations that can help influence the Tableau development team (and in turn, influence the future product roadmap). The Ideas Board receives thousands of visits per month, with new ideas being submitted every single day.

Tableau actively listens to their users and it’s not uncommon for ideas from the Ideas Board to be developed and added to the product. In fact, in the last year or so, almost 40 community idea submissions were realised as part of the Tableau product releases and became a real feature in the product!

How to Navigate the Ideas Board

If you navigate to the Ideas Board, you are initially be presented with a list of all ideas that have been posted to the board (at the time of writing there were 9,698 ideas!), with the most recent shown first:

You can use the filters at the top of this view to filter the list by topic, status (i.e. open, in development, etc), etc. Select any idea title to view more information about the idea.

If you prefer, you can also view all of the ideas in the Ideas Viz (accessible from the ribbon shown in the screenshot above):

The viz shows the number of ideas submitted by date with colour used to show the vote score against each one (the darker the shade of blue, the more votes).

Viewing Individual Ideas

From either the ideas list or the ideas viz you can select an idea to view more details about it.

Here is an example of a popular idea that was posted 5 years ago:

From here, you can read more details about the idea. On the right-hand side, you can see this idea has 80 supporters and 800 points. This means that 80 users have selected the orange ‘thumbs-up’ button to upvote the idea and show their support. A list of the 80 supporters is shown here also.

Also on the right-hand side is a subscribe button. Selecting this button means you’ll be notified of any further discussions on this ideas thread so you can contribute to the conversation, if desired.

Below the idea description is a discussion thread that works in a similar way to the questions/answers described above where users can submit their thoughts on the idea.

Upvoting Ideas

(Note: you must be signed into the Forums to comment on or upvote ideas)

To upvote an idea, simply hit the orange ‘thumbs-up’ button, either from the list view or within the idea itself. You can only vote on each idea once.

Submitting an Idea

To submit an idea, select the orange “Create Idea” button from the Ideas homepage:

From here, you’ll be presented with another window where you can enter details of your idea:

Firstly, you’ll need to add a title. Try and keep it concise so anyone reading your idea title will quickly understand what it’s about.

Once you have entered a title and move to the details box, a list of similar already submitted ideas will be displayed. This is to help you to check that your idea hasn’t already been submitted. Before submitting an idea, be sure to check it hasn’t already been submitted by someone else. If your idea already exists, rather than submitting a duplicate idea, add your vote against the existing idea and comment on why you think it would be a valuable feature in the product.

When sharing details about your idea, always consider the use case. What problem would this idea solve for you or your organisation? Focus on why it would be a valuable feature and why it’s worth developing. For example, would it speed up your workflow or improve the overall user experience? What workarounds are you adopting in the interim?

Be sure to add sufficient details to your idea submission so Tableau product managers and developers fully understand your request and can effectively act upon it and community members can sympathise and upvote your idea. You may find it useful to refer to these guidelines shared by Tableau to help you craft an effective idea.

Join a Tableau User Group

While the main Tableau User Group (TUG) page helps you to find TUG’s and sign up for events, the Community Forums Groups page can be used as a way of engaging with other members from your TUG.

From the main Groups page you can search for a TUG and join TUG’s by clicking the ‘Join’ button:

There are over 600 TUG’s on the Community Forums, each with it’s own page. Not every TUG is active on the Forums but the Charlotte TUG are a great example of a TUG that fully utilise this site:

From the Charlotte TUG page, you can find out details about the TUG (including contact details for the leadership team), view details of their next event, watch previous TUG recordings on YouTube, view a viz gallery of Tableau Public vizzes created by Charlotte TUG members, as well as find links to a wide range of helpful Tableau content.

It’s up to individual TUG leaders to customise their page so if your local TUG page isn’t set up like this, mention it to your local TUG leadership team and share the Charlotte TUG page as an example of how it could look!

I hope you found this post useful and I look forward to seeing you on the Forums soon!

Thanks for reading.