Top Picks: Tableau 2020.4

I have always been impressed by the exciting features that tableau roll out in their releases. Tableau releases its feature update every quarter, and they have released Tableau 2020.4 with a range of new features and updates. The features of every Tableau release are selected based on various surveys and are curated based on research and feedback from the users.

As a frequent user of Tableau Desktop and Server, check out my top picks from the list.

• Improved dynamic parameter
• Multiple marks layer support for maps
• Block comments in calculations
• Web authoring enhancements
• Offline map support for Tableau Server
• Tableau Server Management (TSM) improvements
• Multiple key activation on Tableau Server prior to TSM initialization
• Analytics Extension for Tableau Online
• Merge duplicate external assets
• Tableau Prep Builder in the browser

Tableau Desktop

Improved Dynamic Parameter

The dynamic parameter was one of the features which I used extensively starting from 2020.1. The feature allows us to populate parameter values based on a specified field whenever the workbook is opened. We will be able to select only the field with matching data types.

The feature update announced in Tableau 2020.4 gives me more privilege to customize the Dynamic Parameter. I can now set a parameter’s range to a field’s min and max value upon opening the workbook, or when the field’s data source is refreshed.

So, whenever I open the workbook or the extract is refreshed, Tableau displays the unique values within the range specified, giving more control over the parameter values displayed.

Multiple Marks Layer Support for Maps

This is an exceptional feature to bring multiple spatial layers and context together to better understand and analyze geospatial data and map views. I will be able to include multiple marks layers from a data source to map visualizations and enhance the geospatial analysis. I can present more context in a single map view and perform further analysis with this feature.

Block Comments in Calculations

Block comments is a simple yet one of the most useful features for me, which Tableau has announced in 2020.4. I often used to add comments in complex calculations for easy understanding in future references. Earlier, only single-line comments were possible, limiting the description I could add. But from now on, I can add comments of any length to calculation windows with block comments by simply starting the comment with /* and ending with */.

What makes it unique is that the new multi-line block comment feature is consistent with other popular programming languages. This feature is an example of Tableau’s on-going effort to provide its customers with an intuitive user experience.

Tableau Server

Web Authoring Enhancements

Starting from Tableau 2020.4, it is possible to author dashboards from the browser just like how we design it in Tableau Desktop. With this web authoring enhancements, I can include Highlight actions, Format Mark Labels, apply filters to worksheets, create fixed sets, and even create extract in my workbooks from the browser itself. I no longer have to make changes from Tableau Desktop and publish it to the server. I can directly do it from the browser itself.

Offline Map Support for Tableau Server

Rendering dashboards with maps is now faster compared to previous versions. Now, I can create maps using the offline map style in web authoring, ensuring the performance of map views in Tableau Server. Offline map support is a great deal for organizations with strict internet access restrictions, assuring that map view access to all its users.

Tableau Server Management (TSM) Improvements

Tableau Server Administration activities like installation, upgrade and backup are now easy like never before. I can retry installation or upgrade from the last checkpoint in case of an unexpected issue or error during installation or upgrade, saving my efforts to obliterate tableau server.

Backups can be performed twice as fast as previous versions, and I can monitor the progress with the new progress bar giving visibility into what step the backup is on and how much time is remaining.
Backups can also be scheduled using TSM command starting from 2020.4 and that is awesome. I no longer need to prepare batch script and depend on the windows task scheduler to schedule the backups on regular intervals; instead, I can schedule it with just a single command.

Multiple Key Activation on Tableau Server Prior to TSM Initialization

During Tableau Server installation, it is now possible to activate multiple license keys prior to TSM initialization. I will be able to save a lot of time by eliminating the need to restart after the installation is completed to activate multiple licenses and experience a smoother installation.

Analytics Extension for Tableau Online

The power of the Analytics extension is now unlocked in Tableau Online too. The feature was already available in Tableau Server, and it helped us dynamically perform advanced analysis with models and functions in R, Python and other platforms.

Analytics extension in Tableau Online significantly enhances the scope of using Advanced Analytics by the common users.

Merge Duplicate External Assets

Earlier, the Database or Table with similar names used to appear as multiple assets within Tableau Catalog. But, the new feature helps me to merge those multiple assets into a single one. I can manage assets easily and keep an organized view of External assets by merging the common ones.

Tableau Prep

Tableau Prep Builder in the Browser

Prepare the data for visualizations from anywhere using a browser! Starting from 2020.4, Tableau is bringing the data prep process into one integrated platform on the web. Now I can easily prepare and manage prep flows from anywhere using a browser.


Tableau is progressively evolving as a single platform for data preparations, visualization, and collaboration with every update and version release.

Author : Firdous Maqbool
Images Courtesy : Tableau

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