A Comparison of Two Image Layering Methods in #Tableau

Introduction

Blog posts are great for demonstrating a technique that you have found to be problematic and frustrating.  While completing the work for another blog post on understanding Tableau trend models, I ran into a problem in Tableau that I could not easily resolve.  I tried to resolve it for a while (even getting into the depths of the XML file that contains the controls for the Tableau workbook), but time didn’t allow me to fully complete that analysis.  Instead of continuing down that path, I switched methods and solved the problem.  Since there are two ways to do essentially accomplish the same objective, I thought this would make a good topic for another post.

This post evaluates two different methods for introducing images onto your Tableau graphic.  The first method uses the Background images functionality that is found under the Maps menu in Tableau 8.  The second method uses the concept of floating images set onto a dashboard.  At the time I recorded the Method 1 video shown below, I had not yet thought of the solution I described in the Method 2 video, which is also shown below. That is why there are two separate videos to show the techniques.


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Method 1

This method is best described as laying background images on your Tableau graphics.  Rather than reading a description of the process, you can watch the video below to learn  this technique and to see the problem that I encountered with the method.

Method 2

This method is best described as using floating images on your Tableau dashboards.  Rather than reading a description of the process, you can watch the video below to learn this technique.

Conclusions

The problems shown in the Method 1 video could not easily be overcome.  There might be a way to reset the limits of the Tableau drawing canvas, but I don’t know how to do it!  The Method 2 technique is very easy to use and is stable.  I will use this technique for future work.

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