Tableau 2018.1 - New naming & new features

Athan Mavrantonis

In mid-January, Tableau announced a change in the naming format of the upcoming versions. According to the announcement, Tableau 2018.1 would be the first version under the new naming format which basically follows the pattern:

<year>.<# of release in that year>.<# of maintenance release of this version>

Tableau hopes that the new version naming pattern will offer a more accurate feel of the freshness of the software to its users.

Except for the new naming, Tableau 2018.1 brings a bunch of exciting new features to the table. Let’s have a closer look at them.

Step Lines and Jump Lines

Step lines and Jump lines are new options within the Line mark type in Tableau 2018.1.

The step line chart type is similar to a regular line chart, but it does not use the shortest distance to connect two data points. Instead, it uses vertical and horizontal lines to connect the data points in a series forming a step progression. Step lines are usually used to showcase magnitude.

Jump lines consider the data points as the centre points of the horizontal line segments and are more frequently used when visualising the duration of a change.

To turn an existing line into a step line or a jump line in Tableau 2018.1 you can simply toggle between the different line types by clicking on Path in the marks card.

Analytic Objects Guidance

Need to know why you can’t use some of the options in your Analytics pane? With Tableau 2018.1 you can better understand when analytical objects are available based on the state of your viz. You will now receive guidance on disabled analytic objects on how to update your viz to get them.

Just hover over a disabled object on the Analytics panel to get the details.

Synchronize Axis with Different Data Types

You can now synchronize axis even with different data types, for example when one axis is a decimal and the other is a whole number.

Previously, the synchronize dual-axis feature was disabled when data types where different. This feature has also been added to the edit axis dialogue in web authoring.

Cascading Filters

With Cascading Filters, Tableau’s hierarchical filters are now matched to the underlying hierarchical structure. A hierarchical filter will now only pass relevance down to its descendants along the chain, as opposed to the previous behaviour where all filters affected one another regardless of their positions in the hierarchy.

Moreover, if you open the context menu of any filter in Tableau 2018.1 you will notice the new default setting "All values in Hierarchy".  


Cascading filters will also offer dramatical performance improvements for Tableau customers with Star or Snowflake schema databases who will see their query time reducing from minutes to seconds.

Dual Axis Mapping for Custom and Generated Latitude / Longitude

Dual Axis Mapping was already available in Tableau, but now In Tableau 2018.1 you can seamlessly integrate generated latitude/longitude fields (from built-in Geographic Roles) with custom latitude/longitude points.

You can also join together tables in disparate data sources and overlay geographic point data on top of shapefile data using dual axis maps.

Additional Clustering Functionality

K-means clustering has been a built-in Tableau feature since Tableau 10.0. In Tableau 2018.1 you have the ability to save an ad-hoc cluster by dragging it to the Data pane and then refit the model anytime by right-clicking the saved cluster and selecting Refit.

The intent of this feature is to empower users who have already done cluster analysis on their data to refit the cluster model when their data changes.

Viz in Tooltip Fix

Viz in Tooltip has been introduced in Tableau 10.5, however, the sheets used for Viz in Tooltips could not be hidden. You can now hide the sheets used for Viz in Tooltips, the same way as the sheets used in Stories or Dashboards.

Connect to Spatial Data Directly from SQL Server

If you work with geospatial data in Microsoft SQL Server, Tableau 2018.1 makes it possible to connect directly and use custom SQL to execute spatial operations in the database.

The enhancement supports Geography-type spatial data only. Geometry-type data (in MSSQL) will produce an error.

Easier Connector Driver Installation

In Tableau 2018.1 you will receive an upfront notification if you need to install a driver to connect to a specific data source from Tableau Desktop.

Downgrade Workbooks from Tableau Server and Online

With Tableau 2018.1 it's easier to work across different versions of Tableau. You can now download downgraded workbooks to work with an older version of Tableau Desktop.

In order to download a downgraded workbook click the Download button - which remains the same as in previous versions - and select the Tableau Workbook option which has been changed to open a sub dialogue that shows a list of supported Tableau versions that the workbook can be downgraded to.


After selecting your preferred version from the dropdown menu (with backwards compatibility up to Tableau 10.2) and clicking the Download button you get the downgraded workbook as a browser download. The workbook will also have the version number appended to the end of the file name (e.g. Workbook_v10.4.twb).

WCAG 2.0 AA Conformance on Tableau Server and Online

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are the industry standard set of guidelines that specify how to make content accessible, primarily for people with disabilities but also for all user-agents, such as mobile phones. Tableau 2018.1 Server and Online toolbars are now Double A conformant including Custom Views, Subscribe and Alerts.

Tableau Mobile Improvements

Looking for more collaboration features while you’re on mobile? You can now add comments and share viz snapshots from the iOS sharing menu on your phone and tablet.


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