What is Tableau? 101 Guide for Beginners

What is Tableau? 101 Guide for Beginners


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In this era of data-driven decision-making, Tableau has emerged as a solution for visualizing and analyzing data. In this beginner-friendly blog, we will demystify Tableau, explore its features, and provide you with essential tips for your data visualization journey.

Tableau is a leading data visualization and business intelligence (BI) tool that empowers users to transform complex data into interactive visualizations, dashboards, and reports. Its primary focus is on internal BI, helping companies explore, analyze, and understand their data to improve operations, identify trends, and drive strategic decision-making. It provides a user-friendly interface that enables non-technical users to interact with data effortlessly. Tableau also offers embedded analytics capabilities and can be integrated into other applications, allowing end-users to access and interact with reports.

Tableau Basics

Tableau is designed to simplify the process of visualizing and analyzing data. It helps users understand complex data by transforming it into interactive visual representations, such as charts, graphs, and maps. Its purpose is to display data in reports that provide actionable insights and facilitate data-driven decision making.

Tableau offers a range of powerful features, supports various data types, and provides advanced analytics options such as forecasting and clustering.

It offers different versions that cater to different needs. Tableau Desktop is the main product used to create reports and dashboards. Tableau Server allows for sharing and collaboration within organizations, while Tableau Online provides a cloud-based platform for sharing and accessing reports. Tableau Public is a free version that allows users to share visualizations publicly.

Importing and Connecting Data

Tableau supports a wide range of data sources, including Excel spreadsheets, CSV files, databases, and cloud based services like Google Analytics and Salesforce. It can also connect to web based data sources and APIs.

With a few clicks, you can connect to your data source and load it into Tableau. It automatically detects the structure of the data and helps prepare it for analysis.

Users can create live connections to data sources, enabling real-time data analysis, or create data extracts to improve performance for faster visualization.

 Creating Visualizations in Tableau

Tableau visualizations are built using worksheets, which consist of shelves and cards. Shelves define the dimensions and measures used in the visualization, while cards display the visual elements. By dragging and dropping fields onto shelves and selecting the desired visualization type, you can create meaningful visualizations.


Included in the product is a wide range of chart types allowing for the most effective way to represent data. Bar charts are suitable for comparing categorical data, such as sales by product. Line charts show trends of time, such as sales by month. Scatter plots help identify relationships between variables, for example, comparing sales and costs for individual products. Other chart types include: tables, bubble charts, histograms, and pie charts.

In addition, users can customize colors, fonts, backgrounds, and add interactive elements like filters and parameters. 

Sharing in Tableau

There are several options available for sharing visualizations with others. They can be exported to image files or PDF documents, making it easy to add visualizations to presentations and documents outside of Tableau. 

Users are also able to save visualizations as workbooks, which contain all the data and charts associated with the report. These workbooks can be shared with other Tableau users for further analysis or editing.

Tableau Server and Tableau Online enable collaboration within organizations. It allows users to publish their visualizations to a centralized site, making them accessible to individuals with access. 

Tableau Public is a free platform for sharing visualizations publicly. Users are able to publish visualizations to the Tableau Public website and share them via social media or embed in websites.

With the Tableau Mobile App, you can access your Tableau Server or Tableau Online content on your mobile device, interact with visualizations, and even author new visualizations. Web authoring enables users to create and edit visualizations directly in a web browser, without the need for Tableau Desktop.

Tableau Considerations

There are various pricing options tailored to different user needs. Tableau Desktop is available on a per-user license basis. Tableau Server and Tableau Online have pricing based on the number of users and the level of functionality required. Tableau Public is free and available for anyone to use.

While Tableau does provide embedded analytics capabilities, there are significant limitations to consider. Tableau's embedded analytics functionalities are primarily focused on rigid visualizations and dashboards, and they do not offer the same level of customizations and integration as a dedicated platform built for embedded analytics, like Explo. It’s important to evaluate your specific requirements and assess whether Tableau’s embedded analytics capabilities align with your needs.

The best alternative to embedding Tableau

Unlike Tableau, Explo is explicitly built for embedded, customer-facing applications. Within minutes you can provide your customers with white-labeled dashboards that look and feel native to your application.

Explo can help you: 

  • Create customer-facing dashboards with minimal coding.
  • Maintain your brand with white labeling and custom styling.
  • Enable self-service reporting for your customers.

Explo is a low-code solution, meaning anyone, regardless of their coding experience, can easily create useful and interactive data visualizations. With Explo, business users, analysts, and product teams can transform raw data into meaningful insights with just a few clicks. By reducing the reliance on manual coding, Explo’s dashboard builder accelerates time to insights.

Give Explo a try today for free: Get Started

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