Friday, 24 October 2014

Leaking the Zen Master Email

Blowing the whistle on the Tableau Zen Masters

Ok, this blog post might not be up for very long once The Man sees it and takes it down, forcing me to go into hiding in some embassy somewhere. But while i can I am going to let you into a little secret. I'm going to blow the whistle on the most highly respected group of people in the Tableau community. I'm going to reveal something they don't want you to know. Something that will change the way you think of them forever. I am talking about....

The Tableau Zen Masters.

This group of Tableau users are seen as the masters of Tableau. The perception is that they know everything about it, the experts expert. Well I am gonna shatter that illusion for you right now. They are just normal people, and they don't know everything. 

It started with this email to the Zens....

to Zens

Hi Guys,Quick poll, & be honest. Who knew you could pan a map by holding down the left mouse button in one place for a couple of seconds and then move to pan the map?I have always used the shift key to pan, somebody in a training session has just taught me the left button hold & pan. 
I was amazed, I mean, a zen knows everything right. Maybe this was a one off, surely it wasn't a common thing? Well, the replies just kept on coming. 

That was the first way I learned it.  It was six months after that that I learned about the shift key.  Sounds like one of those – “Well how about that?!?!?” moments.  Love it -        



to       ,        ,          .Zens

I've always done it that way, but only learnt the shift key thing yesterday!


              @                 .com

to             Zens

Have always known left mouse button and hold,  I've known about the shift key for five minutes now. 


to       , Zens 
Nice :)

I will always remeber when a new user taught me that the "Show Me" button locks relative table calcs (this was most useful before we had Automatic sorting for the advanced table calc dialog)

Can I take this opportunity to ask a seemingly simple question: How do you connect to a Saved Data Source in 8.2 from within an existing workbook?

I have so far only seen the list of Saved Data Sources when creating a new workbook, and not after clicking the Data->Connect to Data menu option.



to zens

@       - The saved connections have moved to the Home tab in the upper right:
 Inline image 1
However, my muscle memory still goes to the data tab.
@       - I've known about click+hold+pan since maybe my first month of using Tableau. I didn't know about shift+click+pan until just now, tho.
and still they kept emailing...

                 @        .com 

to        ,         Zens 
Ditto here after all those who said they knew about hold and pan but just learned about Shift.
Sr. Data Consultant |Tableau Accredited Trainer | 


to zens 
This is the first I’ve heard about using the shift key.  I’ve only ever known click+hold.

So there you have it, evidence that the Zen Masters are human, just like everyone else. They don't know absolutely everything, they learn from everyone else. And that is the point of this blog post. The Zens are just a group of normal people, they don't know everything about Tableau and are constantly learning from everyone else. What makes them Zen is not an encyclopaedic knowledge of Tableau but the willingness to share that knowledge with everyone in the Tableau community. Some are experts in design, some in mapping, some in table calculations,others know exactly how tableau functions under the hood What they all have in common is a desire to help all Tableau users achieve that same level of understanding, enjoyment and passion that they have. To achieve Tableau enlightenment.

And thats what being a Zen is all about. 

Matt Francis

Author & Editor

Tableau Zen Master, Social Ambassador, Wrangler of Data, Vizzer of Data


  1. Great stuff Matt knowing that the Zen's aren't omnipotent is good. It proves that there is always someone out there who knows something you don't, but the real beauty of the Tableau community is they are likely to want to help you learn too.

  2. Hi Matt,

    I've last night watched Laura Poitras' @citizenfour documentary. Excellent and highly recommended! So I can appreciate your interest in surfing the top-secret leaks wave :)

    Yet the Tableau Zens, I believe, are best thought of as "generous and all loving" when it comes to Tableau; an expectation that aligns nicely with the energy & hours they dedicate to the product and the community.

    Rather unfortunately, I'd say, "omniscient & all knowing" are expectations better reserved for the NSA and GHCQ. ~:-\


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