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What is Tableau? Working and Key Features

  • Neelam Tyagi
  • Aug 21, 2019
  • Updated on: Jan 21, 2021
What is Tableau? Working and Key Features title banner


All the excellent purpose-oriented business conclusions become easy to pursue if the outcomes from the analysis of the dataset are presented in the form of data visualization. And it is more advantageous to predict insights if all graphs, charts, plots etc are placed on a single dashboard. 


Here, the concept of Tableau comes into the picture, an appropriate platform used for visualizing motives. 


The simple tableau is so rich with meaning that whether represented on the mantelpiece or in the mind, it seems suspended, complete unto itself, somewhere in eternity.  

-Lucinda Franks


Business intelligence and analytics use Tableau as a visualized platform for the intentions of helping people watch, observe, understand, and make decisions with a variety of data. Any type of graphs, plots, and charts can be made easily in it without the need for any programming.



What is the Tableau?


Tableau is the rapidly growing visualization tool used for different business applications. It is high in demand software due to its easy access to use. It is widely used in Business Intelligence (BI) processes


Tableau is crafted in such a way that all kinds of charts, plots, and graphs with different designs can be positioned simultaneously for visualization.      


If we talk about the data type and structure and their access in tableau, it can work on any kind of data type either data is structured, unstructured datasets with the accessing of any sort of programming language as R, Python, SAS, etc. 


A person with a non-technical background can easily work on Tableau as it doesn’t require any technical or programming knowledge. (Since we are talking about programming languages, go to the blog An introduction to R programming).


Researchers described Tableau as a "highly interactive and intuitive visual-based exploration experience for business users to easily access, prepare and analyze their data without the need for coding"


Tableau has plenty of easily accessible functions that can create highly simplified graphs or charts for any set of complex data. 


A business analyst can investigate any pattern, insight, flow, or trends from visually available data and hence predict or conclude for any business problem.


Explaining the Working of Tableau   


As discussed earlier, any sort of data is easily accessible to Tableau. So in the procedure of tableau, it gets connected and extracted to data for visualization. 


  1. Tableau can extract data from a database like pdf, excel, text documents, R, Hadoop, Python, or SAS to cloud databases like Flipkart, Google sheet, Netflix, Amazon.

  2. The data is dragged off to the data engine of Tableau,  also called the Tableau desktop. Here, the business analyst works on data, generates a dashboard, and shares it with the user, where the user reads this on the screen called Tableau Reader. 

  3. Data is published with various supported features like collaboration, models of security, automation, distribution, etc. 

  4. In the end, the user will be able to download a visualized data file on emails, desktop, or mobile. (understand the basics and types of Data Visualization in Business Analytics).


Below is the video that is describing everything from coupling data to the making of dashboards for the beginners.





What are the Key Features of Tableau?


As simple as Tableau is easy to use, it is more feasible and flexible to create a dashboard on it because of its premier features. Some of its features are listed below.


  1. Depending upon the useability of Tableau it has the following features:

  • Easy to access from different sources, 
  • No need for any technical or programming knowledge, and

  • Quick response for making a dashboard.


  1. For easy accessibility and analysis, the data file can be downloaded locally on mobile or desktop, multilingual representation of data, real-time exploration of any dataset, etc.


  1. In terms of connecting and sharing, it has various inbuilt advanced features such as 

  • Collaboration and distribution, 

  • Highly securable, 

  • Multiple data sources connection, 

  • Easy importation and exportation of the massive size of data. 


(As the picture of massive data came, understand what is Big data and how it is shaping up the Internet of Things (IoT)).


What are the various products of Tableau? 


The tableau consists of different products and each product has some specific function required for the designing of the dashboard, so the Tableau products suite consists of;


  • Tableau Desktop 

  • Tableau Public

  • Tableau Server

  • Tableau Online

  • Tableau Reader

Displaying the Tableau's products that are Desktop, Public, Server, Reader and Online

Tableau products

 Which are further classified into two parts based on analysis of the data


1. Developer Tools


In this class, tools in the tableau are used for development, such as generating the dashboard, making reports, graphs, bars, charts, maps, visualization, etc.

Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public work as a developer tool.


2. Sharing Tools


In this class, tools in the tableau are used for the sharing of visualized reports,    charts, graphs as a complete dashboard. Tableau Server, Tableau Online, and Tableau Reader work together as sharing tools.


The Tableau products suits are discussed in detail below



1. Tableau Desktop


Tableau Desktop is a tool full of specific functionality. It is the place where all types of charts, graphs, reports etc are made to form a dashboard. The dashboard can be shared with any server and can be read in Tableau Server. 


Tableau Desktop is used for different purposes as connectivity and sources of data with the user. Tableau Desktop is either used personally or professionally. 


  • Personal Tableau desktop is used for private mode, its workbook can’t be shared publicly and is of limited access. 

  • Professional Tableau Desktop is used for professional work only, it can be shared or created by anyone and gets published on Tableau Server with full access to all genre of the data  



2. Tableau Public


This is a user and cost-effective Tableau version which is used publically, the worksheet created on this is saved in the cloud of Tableau Server, in order to be used or shared by everyone. It has easy and unlimited access for users.


If someone wants to learn anything about Tableau or wants to share his work publicly, then, Tableau Public is the go-to option.    



3. Tableau Server


Tableau Server is highly used for sharing dashboards, visualization, and worksheets that are generated on Tableau Desktop through any organization.  


The worksheets must be published on Tableau Desktop in order to share with Tableau Server, it is only then accessible to the user. 


Tableau Server is highly secured software for swift and effectual sharing of data within an organization



4. Tableau Online


Tableau Online is an online sharing tool in which data is saved on the servers, fully arranged on the cloud, and maintained by the Tableau group. There is no storage limit of data published on Tableau Online. 


Similar to Tableau Server, Tableau Online also needs the worksheets created by Tableau Desktop to broadcast the data. 


All sorts of data can be supported by Tableau Online like data from different web applications, Google Analytics, e-commerce shops like Bigbasket, JioMart, Tesco, etc, 



5. Tableau Reader


Tableau Reader is the tool that allows the reading of worksheets or visualization created on Tableau Desktop or Tableau Public. The data can be refined but any kind of modifications or editing are restricted. 


There is no security of data as this can be accessed by any user for the reading of worksheets.




As Tableau has a more specific function such as generating worksheets, easily accessible, no technical background required, large volume data supported, etc., it is highly used for business applications


“The goal is always to make a nice tableau painting with the voice. The more color I can find, the more shadow I can find - the goal is always to make more nuance and colors.”

 -Cecilia Bartoli


Tableau saves a lot of time in creating data visualization and gives very fast and accurate results. It helps to code and customize reports. Tableau is an excellent visualization apparatus for analytics and business intelligence applications.

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