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Generating Narratives within Tableau


This guide will walk through how to generate insightful narratives alongside your worksheets and dashboards within Tableau Server. After reading this guide, you should be able to produce a narrative to accompany your worksheet or dashboard. Other sections will walk through how to update the narrative based on applied filters, customize the narrative display, add context to the narrative and ultimately publish the narrative to a webpage for other users to interact with.

Single Sheet Object

1) For our example, we'll start with a line chart measuring sales by month. You can either be in 'edit' mode:

or 'view mode':

2) To generate an accompanying narrative, click the green Quill icon (this is your Narratives for Tableau Chrome extension). You will first be prompted to select the measures and dimensions that you want to generate the narrative about.

The extension will guess which of the columns in your worksheet are measures and which are dimensions, but you will be able to drag those items around to produce the desired narrative. The 'ignored' box is for any measures and dimensions that are part of your worksheet that you do not want included in the narrative.

The titles are drag-able and order is respected (left to right). For example, if you have a multi-dimension chart that is measuring sales by 'product' and 'region', if product and region go left to right, product will be treated as the primary dimension.

After you've generated a narrative, you can return to this selection for any sheet object by clicking the "Reset" button within the extension.

3) Once you've made your selections, click "Next". You can then choose the type of narrative you want based on your data.

The story selection box provides examples, but the four types of narratives supported are:

  • Continuous Analysis - You would typically see data plotted in a line chart.
  • Discrete Analysis - You would typically see data presented in a bar or column chart.
  • Percent of Whole Analysis - Data is commonly presented in pie charts.
  • Scatterplot - The narrative will describe the results of regression analysis between multiple measures

4) Click on one of the story types to generate a narrative.

5) Now that you have your narrative, you can apply customizations, context and ultimately publish. The other guides in our support center will go through those features in more detail.

Dashboard with Multiple Sheet Objects

This section will describe how to generate narratives for sheet objects when you are starting from a dashboard view containing one or more sheets.

1) In this example, we will start from a sample sales performance dashboard. Similar to the single sheet object example, you can be in either 'edit mode' or 'view mode' of the dashboard to utilize the extension.

2) Click the green Quill to open up the Narratives for Tableau Chrome extension.

The extension will find all of the individual sheet objects contained within the dashboard and will show you the available measures and dimensions for one. You can use the drop down in the upper left to select a different sheet.

3) After you've confirmed your measures and dimensions, clicked 'next' and chosen your story type, you will see your narrative generate. Different from the single sheet narrative, narratives accompanying a dashboard will allow you to toggle between narratives about each sheet object. You can access this menu by expanding the dropdown at the top of the extension.

4) Expanding the dropdown will show the list of sheet objects in the dashboard.

5) Clicking on one of the other sheet objects will either:

  • If a narrative has already been configured for the sheet object, it will bring up that narrative
  • If a narrative has not ben configured, it will allow you to confirm measures and dimensions for that narrative and continue with the narrative generation process.


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