New book review – Tableau 8 – From Clutter to Clarity

Learn how to make the most out of Tableau 8 with this book from Larry Keller.

As more and more analysts/students start visualising their data using Tableau there is an increasing need for new documentation. Tableau 8 came out to the public in early 2013 and the Tableau 8 Training Manual : From Clutter to Clarity aims to guide you in your quest to make sense of the increasing amounts of data we have available to us these days.

One of the good things about Tableau Public is that you can download the work of others and see how things were made. Larry Keller builds on this approach by referencing several workbooks in his examples that you can download at no extra cost.

The examples are easy to skim so you’ll quickly find a section you’re after regardless of if you’re a beginner or an advanced user. Sections covered include connecting to your data and planning your data’s structure in Excel. Later chapters deal with selecting the right chart type for the data you want to show.


  • Connecting to Data – includes creating joins using SQL
  • Visualisation Basics – Covers the options in Show Me
  • Intermediate – Mapping, handling dates, Combining Fields
  • Advanced Features – How and why to use parameters, how to forecast

plus more – calculations, actions etc.

The book helps highlight which sections of menus you need to work with and is rich with screenshots. What’s pleasing to see is that the author also advises the user on what colours to use when making dashboards. Red and green seem the obvious choice but not so when 10% of your audience are colour blind (a fact I actually still find hard to believe having never met a colour blind person in the last 28 years).

If you have Tableau 7 or earlier you may struggle to follow some examples as Tableau’s interface has changed a fair amount in version 8. That said, there’s still lots of examples to follow if you’re a veteran of Tableau and have Tableau 7 or below.

From Clutter to Clarity is available to download as a Kindle book.

1 comment to New book review – Tableau 8 – From Clutter to Clarity

  • I thank you for these comments about my manual. After 7.5 years of experience with Tableau I believe that the greater audience is represented by users who are typically overwhelmed with myriad tools and responsibilities leaving little time to become expert in any single choice.

    More than a training manual, our clients have access to us to assist them when they get stuck in any exercise or feature/function. For those who own Tableau Server VIA will publish a best practices document for server by 9/1/2013

    Larry Keller
    CEO VIA Insights, LLC

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