Tableau : An Overview – Part 1

Tableau : An Overview – Part 1


Tableau is a Business Intelligence software which helps in visualizing the data by easily connecting to any data source. All its needs is just few drags and drops to create a beautiful and rich data visualizations. User can create interactive dashboards which can be shared across.

Tableau Software and its products

There are five main products offered by Tableau:

  1. Tableau Desktop
  2. Tableau Server
  3. Tableau Online
  4. Tableau Reader
  5. Tableau Public

Tableau Desktop lets user connect to data and provide drag and drop options to create the visuals. User can either connect to live data or the extract stored in a specific location. These views can be used to create an interactive dashboards where filters can be applied to view the data at different level of grains.

Tableau Server is the browser based application which can be accessed by any user. The dashboards created using Tableau Desktop, data sources and shared data connections can be published or shared here. All this is done securely with permission settings to manage the data access.

Tableau Online is a hosted version of Tableau Server. It lets user share dashboards with the organization, customers and partners. Other users can access these views and get the answers to their questions in a web browser. All this is done on secure environment.

Tableau Reader is an application using which the developers can share their packaged workbooks with their team or organization. These workbooks can be downloaded on the reader and the user can apply filters or sort the data to obtain the desired results. This application is free to download.

Tableau Public is a new platform for data stories. on the web. For free. Tableau Public is for anyone who wants to tell interactive data stories on the web. It’s delivered as a service so you can be up and running right now.

Getting started with Tableau

Connecting to data source/database

Connecting to data through Tableau Public is very easy. Below are the steps to connect to a data source.

1.   Open the Tableau Public which will take you to the following screen:

2.   Click on “Open Data” which will take you to the following screen.

It gives the list data sources tableau can connect to. For demonstration, we will choose Microsoft Excel.

3.   Click on “Microsoft Excel” and choose the file from the location where it has been stored.

4.   After the connection is established, various sheets of the workbook appear as tables on the left hand side.

5.   These tables can be either dragged to the white space or double clicked to view the data.

6.   Number of sheets can be added to the view and joins can be created between these sheets as they are treated as tables. By default Tableau creates inner join based on the names of the columns.

These joins can be edited. It can be either inner join, left join, right join or full outer join based on the requirement. Also the columns used in joining conditions can be changed by choosing the desired column from the drop down.

7.   Once the appropriate joins are defined, click on “Go to Worksheet” which we will take you to the page where visuals can be created.