“Ok my dashboard is done. I’ll just export this image and….crap…that’s not what I wanted…”
Has this 👆 ever happened to you?
I rarely use Tableau’s built-in functionality to export an image when I am trying to get an image of a Tableau dashboard for a blog or project submission, . It just doesn’t quite look the same as what is designed on screen. Since so much effort goes into the design, this is just not good enough after spending extra time to ensure it looks perfect. Let’s look a few common behaviors of the export image feature…
The export feature seems to ignore padding sometimes
Focus on the padding of the edges of the dashboard…
Sometimes elements move and are cut-off
Focus on the icons at the bottom….
Webpage objects display as blank objects
Focus on the embedded YouTube video…
Have no fear, we can fix this…SnagIt
A quick note: I am using SnagIt and PhotoShop, both of which cost money. You may be able to achieve this process in other free tools, like Gimp for example.
SnagIt is easy enough to figure out. You hit the capture button or (Shift+Control+C) on a mac or (Print Screen) on a PC to start an image capture. What I really like is that you can set the exact pixel height and width below the capture and you can move the image capture around. You can do a target screen capture on a mac (Command+Shift+4), but it is not very precise. That precision is needed for getting around long visualization problems.
The recent visualization Pooja and I created for IronViz had a dashboard sized at 1000px x 1900px. It also had an embedded YouTube video (shown above) so exporting an image was not an option. I used SnagIt to grab three sections of the visualization.
Take the captures from Tableau Public.
- Copy the Share URL and add ‘&:showVizHome=no’ to the end of the URL in your browser
- This allows you have a consistent left edge to start the capture from
Look for obvious break points in the viz to start and stop captures (i.e., above/below horizontal lines)
- SnagIt gives you a little zoom window so you can be pixel perfect as you capture
- Remember you can resize the capture window before hitting capture (drag or enter pixels)
Now Let’s put it back together…Photoshop
I assume you can do this in other (free?) tools, but I like Photoshop so here goes…I am going to show how to do this in a video (recorded with SnagIt).
Creating a single static image
Creating an animated GIF in Photoshop
Sometimes you just have to take it to the next level. Who doesn’t like animation? This next example will show an advanced example of how to work around the web page object issue to great an animated GIF.
The dashboard here was created by Amarendranath D for #IronViz. I created the GIF for him and a few people asked about the process. Here is the how-to video. Also, Amar owes me a beer. 🍺
I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.