Have you ever struggled during a presentation switching between PowerPoint and Tableau? Public speaking and presenting complex data is challenging enough without also having to juggle multiple presentation applications.
The current workaround: Tableau allows you to export a workbook as a static PowerPoint presentation. This is helpful, but sacrifices live data and the interactivity features that makes Tableau so valuable.
How can a presenter confidently present from a single application that moves seamlessly between static and dynamic content while also staying current as new data became available?
What it does
Instead of exporting a Tableau workbook into a non-interactive PowerPoint, importing the PowerPoint slides to Tableau would combine the static PowerPoint slides with the dynamic Tableau visualizations into one interactive Tableau Story. The best of both worlds.
To make this dream a reality, we’ve developed a script at Apogee to create Tableau workbooks incorporating a folder of images into a Tableau Story. Simply export the slides you wish to use from PowerPoint as image files, run the script and then open the resulting Tableau workbook. You can then merge with other Tableau content to create your combined presentation, with the images serving as standalone slides or as background to complement the Tableau worksheets. The script is not limited to PowerPoint slides. It will work with any folder containing a mix of JPEG or PNG files, silently ignoring other types of files.
We call the project StoryBuilder, but the Python script itself is image2twb.py and is available for download at https://github.com/ApogeeIntegration/Tableau-Utilities/tree/master/storyBuilder
If you are in a MS Windows environment and prefer an executable to a Python script, there is a windows executable version at https://github.com/ApogeeIntegration/Tableau-Utilities/releases
How we built it
As Tableau workbooks are at a core level based on an XML format, the python script built to import powerpoint, and other, images into Tableau stories consists of manipulating Tableau's infrastructure to include them. The script consists of a variety of functions and command line argument parsers to make this move effortless.
Publishing to Server
In the github repository provided, we also provide a method to publish the Tableau workbook with the PPT imported Story onto the Server.
What's next for Story Builder Utility
The script and workflow works efficiently and can performed without much trouble! Please ensure your image exports are of a resolution that is to your liking and not too low.
As far as the tool itself, this workflow currently requires exporting the powerpoint slides into an images folder manually. It would be great if there were a way to automate this step as well, feeding the path to the script as an argument.
We hope that you and others can find our solution when dealing with similar issues to ones described here and please let us know your thoughts!