10 things about Tableau 10: Google Sheets connector


10 things about Tableau 10: Google Sheets connector

We’re closing in on the end of the year, but there’s still time to wrap up my blog series titled “10 things about Tableau 10“. This time we’ll be looking at one of the new connectors, which debuted with Tableau 10 — the Google Sheets connector. It’s a connector that has been a long time coming, as many companies are moving into the cloud and taking advantage of the Google Platform. Let’s take a look at how it works with an example!

Google Sheets connector

The Google platform has been well received by organisations and provides a great way to collaborate. Some customers are already using the platform, specifically Google Sheets, to do Financial and Sales planning. However, joining that data together with your organisation’s operational data is difficult in the Google platform. With the new Google Sheets connector, we can join the sales planning data from Google Sheets directly to our invoicing data in Tableau. Here’s a fictional scenario about how that could be accomplished.

First we log into the Google Sheets service through Tableau. The connector can be selected from the list of data sources.


Tableau has provided a search field to find your spreadsheets as the connector doesn’t support folders currently. This is a bit of a nuisance but as the connector is a new feature, you can be sure it will improve over time! Here I’m searching for my 2016 sales target file that I’ve uploaded to my Google Drive.


The Google Sheets connection behaves just like the Excel connector. You can see your sheets on the left in the menu and drag the appropriate one to the data area. If you’re dealing with large spreadsheets, you may not want to run the connection Live, but instead switch over to an extract. In either case, the Google Sheets connector supports both.


Now that the data source connection has been made, we can do some vizzes. For this example, I’ve already connected Tableau to my billing data, which is saved in a AzureSQL database in the cloud.


The billing data I have is from multiple years, so in order to see how this year’s sales are hitting my targets, I’m going to filter my data to show figures for 2016 so the actuals and my targets are aligned on the same year. Both data sets have Customer information and Tableau has recognised that, which can be seen with the orange link, denoting a data blend.


Since we want to see the relation of the sales to the targets, I’m going to make use of the Reference Line feature in the Analytics tab. Putting the Target figures into the Marks, I have the information available now to use as a Reference Line point. We want to use this for all the cells in the data, so that we can see individual customer sales targets. You can format the viz as you see fit, I’ve just made the line a little bolder to for it to pop out.


To accentuate the information, I’m going to add a Calculated Field, which will colour our bars depending on whether we’ve reached the sales target for a particular customer. It also makes reading the chart much easier, since we can see at a glance which customers are above or below our target.


Bring the new calculated field onto the Colour Mark and change the colours to what suits your style. By default, Tableau will try to avoid using the red-green colour scheme but in this visualisation I think it’s fine.


Just sort the customers by the sales amount and apply additional filters, like the Highlighter for example. It’s a great tool that let’s you see your data in relation to your other data points (You can read more about the Highlighter in a previous blog post of mine).

Join me again next time for some more Tableau-magic!


To download a free 14 day trial of Tableau 10, go to our trial download page and discover Tableau 10 for yourself!

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Karri Linnoinen

Bilot Alumni

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