Best of the new features Tableau has given us in the 2021.2 release

By Lee Ronan, Commercial Director, CSL

Area spatial calculation

In this update tableau has again introduced a new spatial calculation. The AREA function now allows us to calculate the areas of certain geographies. A handful of different units are available including m, km, feet and miles. 

In order for this calculation to work you will need a shape file of the geographies that you want to calculate the area of. Below is a CCG map of England from 2014 showing the boundaries for the CCG’s at the time. Using this data and creating the simple calculation, shown opposite, (specifying the units) we are able to calculate the areas for each of these CCG’s.

Dragging this calculation onto colour then gives us a nice map of CCG’s in England, clearly showing which ones have the largest area. 

This calculation could then be used with say population data in order to see population density of different age/ sex groups and to be able to visualise this on a map with ease.

Show/ Hide buttons

This feature has previously existed for floating objects on dashboards, however this update in 2021.2 now allows for users to manually turn on and off any object in a tiled setting as well.  

In order to turn on this button you will need to select the options drop down, as shown opposite, on any object on a dashboard, and then select “Add Show/Hide Button”. This will create a button on your dashboard that you are free to position wherever you like. As with other buttons you can customise it by changing the image, colour or border to whatever you like. 

Users will then be able to click on this button to hide sheets on the dashboard, a really nice feature to give end users more power to pick and choose what they want to see in their dashboard. This is illustrated below. 

Map layer control

 Another update that gives more power to the end users to alter the view in the dashboards is Map Layer Control. This update allows for map layer controls to be included in published dashboards, meaning users can toggle between the different layers in a map, having them all showing at once or focusing in on specific layers. 

For example, the below map with two different metrics displayed can be toggled to allow users to focus on only one of the metrics or both together, depending on what they wish to look at.

To Wrap It Up

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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