Best of the new features Tableau has given us in the 2020.1 release

By Lee Ronan, Commercial Director, CSL

In the January 2020.1 release, Tableau has bought forward some long-awaited improvements as well as new features. Key highlights are dynamic parameters, viz animations and buffer calculations.

Dynamic Parameters

As with most of Tableau’s feature updates, the idea for dynamic parameters came from a user within the Tableau Community Forum. A quick search into the archives of the ideas section shows that there was a demand for dynamic parameters since at least 2012. Eight years on and tableau have finally given the people what they want…

The update allows for two things. The first being that we are now given the option to select the parameter value that we wish to see when the workbook is first opened. This value is based around a calculation so a simple,

{Max([Order Date])}

Will now ensure that the view automatically opens to show the most recent data.

The second part of this feature allows for the parameter’s list of values to update automatically – by selecting ‘when  workbook opens’. This means you don’t have to  republish workbooks whenever there is new data that you want incorporated into a parameter.

Viz animations

The next new feature in update 2020.1 is viz animations. To enable this feature, you will need to select Format – Animations, which will bring up a new animations window. As shown:

The viz animations are an aesthetic feature that enable dynamic movement of visualisations when filters, parameters, sorts etc are adjusted. They are useful at displaying changes in data and it looks pretty good as graphs seamlessly and smoothly transition to display new information.

The speed of these animations can be adjusted. If merely using as an aesthetic feature then in my opinion the quicker the better, as users will have to wait a fraction of a second longer when interacting with a view before they can see the data they want. If, however you are interested in visually displaying changes in data then one of the slower options may be for you.

The only negative to using this new feature is that in busier dashboards, the transitions can be a little jumpier and not quite as seamless, so use with caution.

Buffer Calculations

A potentially very useful new feature. It allows for distances around a point to be visualised. The data source must contain longitudinal and latitudinal columns, which can easily be built up from postcodes or other geographic data using a host of online resources.

Once you have Longitude and Latitude you can use the function MAKEPOINT to generate a spatial point which the BUFFER calculation requires. 

E.g. MAKEPOINT([Latitude],[Longitude])

Then to create the Buffer calculation use;


Dragging this calculation into a viz will then display a series of circles centred around the spatial points in the data with a 2 km radius. The radius of these can be adjusted by changing the number 2.

The map of the lake district shows regions where you are within a 2 km radius of a GP Practice or Pharmacy (using data from

For a full list, including any feature I did not touch on, here’s the official announcement

If you want to know any more about how you could be using these new features in Tableau, please contact us on


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