Quite often when migrating from an existing reporting tool (like Excel) to Tableau our end users are only used to seeing data in tables. There's often a legacy overlap - they want the nice interactive charts, but they also still cling on to their data tables for backup. The requirements for your dashboard may be to show beautiful and insightful visuals, with a table of ALL THE DATA underneath.
So, how do you balance the request for data with the need to gradually nudge report users in the new, interactive, direction?
Show users how to view and export the underlying data on Tableau Server
You can export data from a point - the rows of data that make up the point.
You can export data from a sheet or view on the dashboard. This can include the underlying data. (Note that this ability can be turned on and off through permissions on the Server too).
Provide a dashboard with a data table
At the end of your report you may want to give a table of data on its own dashboard for people to view if needed. This could be filtered down using dashboard actions on data points too.
In this example clicking on a data point in the scatter-plot takes you to the data table and filters it to the products the manufacturer you clicked on provides.
Use chart types that gradually move users from tables to visuals (like highlight tables, heatmaps, treemaps)
Highlight table - using colour we can see our negative values (orange) and our highest values (blue). This is more obvious than in the data table and attracts the eye to key data points.
Heat-map - gives a good overview using size and colour to draw the eye to the important points. You can use the tool-tip to provide the figures which aren't displayed on the heat-map.
Tree-map - splitting this by year also shows us the trend over time. Again it's good for an overview and you can put values as labels for more detail, or use the tool-tip.
Use Andy Kriebel's awesome .csv export tip
Create a .csv export button on your dashboard so your end users can download the data. Follow Andy Kriebel's blog tutorial to do it.