Introduction

In business intelligence visualization, often the reports are presented in a manner that requires type-in or ad-hoc calculations to be performed. These are calculations that make a quick summary of the expression or formula you may want to implement. They allow you to create a calculation in the shelf, and are applicable only in the view where they are created. In this guide, you will learn how to create ad-hoc calculations.

The data to construct an ad-hoc calculation can be of any type, such as a measure, dimension, date etc. This guide will use the sample superstore data source available in the Tableau repository. There are three sheets: `People`

, `Orders`

, and `Return`

, that have been joined to fetch the data. In the subsequent sections, you’ll work with different ad-hoc calculations.

The ad-hoc calculations can be constructed in **Rows** and **Columns** shelves, as well as in the **Marks** and **Measures**.
To start with, double click on the **Rows** shelf to either create a temporary calculation or to call a measure from the **Measures** shelf.

Output:

Typing the first few letters will display the names as shown below.

Output:

The first calculation you’ll do is to sum the variable `Profit`

which will result in the image below.

Output:

You can also create an ad-hoc calculation on the **Columns** shelf and the **Marks** card. Drag the variable `Sub-Category`

into the **Rows** shelf and the ad-hoc calculation can be created on the **Columns** shelf.

Output:

In this example, you are calculating the profit margin by dividing the variable, `Profit`

, with `Sales`

. The column shelf is formatted to percentage, and the variable, `Category`

, is placed in the **Color** option of the **Marks** card. This will generate the output below.

Output:

To begin, drag `Segment`

into the **Rows** shelf and the measure, `Sales`

, into the **Text** label in the **Marks** card.

Output:

The next step is to double click on the measure and edit the field with calculation. In this case, you’ll divide `Sales`

to get the value in millions, as shown below.

Output:

The above step will create the following output.

Output:

Ad-hoc calculations are temporary calculations that don’t get saved in the workbook unless used in the view. To convert them into actual calculations, you simply need to drag the ad-hoc calculation into the **Measures** or ** Dimensions** shelf. Doing this will prompt you to rename the calculation. This is shown below.

Output:

In this example, you’ll name it `Profit Ratio`

.

Output:

You’ll begin by dragging the `Sales`

variable into the **Columns** shelf, and `Region`

into the **Rows** shelf.

Output:

The next step is to double click on the blank space in the **Rows** shelf and create an ad-hoc calculation consisting of the `RANK()`

function to sort the values.

Output:

Next, right click on the ad-hoc calculation and make it discrete.

Output:

Drag it before the variable, `Region`

, which is now sorted in the descending order of `Sales`

value.

Output:

In this guide, you learned how to create ad-hoc calculations in Tableau. You also learned the different options for dealing with these ad-hoc calculations. This will help in strengthening your descriptive analytics capabilities.

To learn more about visualization and data analysis using Tableau, please refer to the following guides: