10 Creative Ways to Use Tags in Tableau

Tags are basically key words applied to objects on Tableau Server (data sources, workbooks [which applies the tag to all views within it], views, metrics, flows, as well as databases, files, tables, and columns [if you have Tableau Catalog]). 

They are used for identification purposes and best used broadly (not just on content that's all in the same project). I find it best to determine a tagging strategy before going down this road. What's great about tags is that they can provide some additional insight that you don't get natively through Tableau Server. For example, you can navigate to a data source and see what fields it contains, what it's connected to, and what workbooks it feeds, but you can't always determine what the purpose is or how critical it is to the business. Tags will help objects show up in the search bar, too, though you will only see what you have permissions to view.

Below are a few creative ways to use tags.

Identify data sources refreshed via API 

(as opposed to Tableau Server's native scheduling) using a keyword such as "RefreshedViaAPI" or "EnterpriseScheduler". This is helpful if you want to know that a data source is being refreshed on a regular basis, even though you can't see that within the Tableau Server UI.

Identify dashboards that serve senior management

using keywords such as "SeniorManagement" or "Executive". This helps to curate a set of reports that provide a business overview or take action to certify/audit data sources.

Identify dashboards that inform critical processes

using keywords such as "CriticalPriority" or "Severity1". By using defined guidelines to identify these items, administrators can then ensure the appropriate response time is provided if an issue should occur.

Identify data sources or workbooks that contain sensitive data 

using keywords such as "HIPAA" or "MNPI". Not only will tags help end users know when they're dealing with sensitive data, but data governance teams can monitor usage and ensure appropriate access is set.

Identify the data domain 

using keywords such as "Sales" or "Transactions". If an update is made to the business logic pertaining to a specific data set, these tags will make it easy to find the impacted reports.

Identify the source system 

using keywords such as "Bloomberg" or "Salesforce". This will help users and administrators identify the root cause of an data quality issue, and you will more easily be able to report on usage to data vendors.

Identify reports that are embedded elsewhere

using keywords such as "EmbeddedElsewhere" or "UsedInConfluence". If a dashboard is embedded in another application, you might not know about it. You will be able to easily identify anything that might be impacted by a security patch or change in authentication.

Identify reports that are sent externally 

using keywords such as "ClientPacket" or "AnnualReport". Content might be collected from a variety of projects to compile the final report and a tag makes the process much easier to find all the necessary material.

Identify objects that haven't been used recently

using keywords such as "StaleData" or "InactiveContent". Once objects have been identified, you could archive or delete them, or alert the owner of the tag.

Report on the tagged objects

Once you have all tags applied you can then use Tableau's repository to report on the tagged objects. You can create an annual review of sensitive data, request that owners delete old objects, list data sources that are ready to be certified, and much more!

So, what's your tagging strategy going to be?

Additional Resources:

  • https://mindmajix.com/tableau/how-to-organize-reports-for-consumption-in-tableau-server
  • https://help.tableau.com/current/pro/desktop/en-us/tags.htm