26 June 2014

Devil's tooltip (ubertip) in Tableau

The official name of this tooltip's the ubertip, but the devil's tooltip shows its real nature.

Ubertips appear after clicking on row or column headers, when clicking on a mark or data item in the view, they don't appear.

Let's analyse this example.
After clicking on the text in the heading, the tooltip pops up.

                                      Tooltip                                                                                      Ubertip

To get ride of regular tooltips it's enough to:
go to upper menu: Worksheet=> Tooltip
leave 'Include command buttons' unchecked and delete everything from the box.

This doesn't have any impact on the devil's tooltip. The devil's tooltip is laughing in your face...

I have a trick to solve this problem.

Right-click on the name of the sheet and 'Duplicate sheet'.

Delete the data part of the chart to leave only the row header (in other words got rid of everything what is in the Columns and the Colour Mark).

You get something like this (it's the first chart). Make the column as narrow as possible so the ABCs disappear.

Go to the original sheet and click the dimension in the Rows and leave 'Show Header' unchecked.  

You get something like this (it's the second chart):

After this complex and long process, you have one chart in two pieces :) Place both charts next to each other on the Dashboard.
Devil's tooltips show only when you hoover over headings.
The first chart consists a heading and nothing more so the tooltip appears, but only when part of the text in the heading is hidden and the tooltip includes the text but no data or command buttons.

The second chart has no heading so nothing appears.

It's not a proper solution of the problem, just a tiny trick when the devil's tooltip makes you really crazy. From a philosophical point of view, it doesn't have any sense as it is an example of Occam's razor.

Wikipedia says:
Occam's razor is a principle used in problem-solving devised. It states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.

Or speaking in our language if you can present the data using one chart don't create two :)

Here is a support group for people unhappy with ubertips in Tableau, you can vote for changing devil's ubertips into something more friendly.


  1. Thank you for highlighting this issue. One issue with this workaround is that sorting the view (via hover button on axis) will result in the second view being sorted, but the headers will remain unchanged.

    Another possibility, which is also problematic is to use a single view and float a blank object on top of the headers. That will prevent interactivity with the headers while still allowing the user to see them and allowing them to change order with interactive sorts. But no interactivity means no ubertips ("devil's tooltips" - clever!) but also no click and highlight / filter either.


    1. Joshua,
      Thank you, I know how to fix the problem, I've hidden axis using empty text box, now sorting options are not available. Floating text box can hide everything not just headers but also axis :) You're right it is not so funny as, the sorting buttons were giving more value to the data visualization so now the viz is poorer.

      I've seen people complaining about sorting buttons on axis, that you can't switch them off and by this some data visualizations can be destroyed (devil's sorting :-))

      Yes I know that second possibility from VizCandy http://vizcandy.blogspot.ca/2014/05/finishing-touches-to-avoid-clickin.html