Tableau Tutorial

Tableau is the leading business intelligence tool available in the current market. The first section of the Tableau Tutorial for beginners will show you the step-by-step process of connecting with different data sources. The next section of this Tableau tutorial helps to learn to create data visualizations like tables, charts, maps, dashboards, and stories with screenshots.

Although it is the most powerful reporting tool, you can easily learn the Tableau tutorial in 28 days (Maximum). We provide links with examples to each topic present in the Tableau Desktop on this tutorial page.

The best way to learn tableau tutorials online is to practice every data analysis yourself. If you practice multiple times, you can master this data visualization tool.

What is Tableau?

Using this Tableau Desktop, you can create visually rich and meaningful reports, and this tutorial covers all of them. These reports tell you the story about your organization or business, perhaps the data you provide. In addition, it has simple drag and drops features to design vivant reports.

Tableau can connect to many data sources ranging from traditional excel, text, CSV files, etc., to advanced databases, including Microsoft Azura, SQL Server, Access, Analysis Service, Analytics, SalesForce, Oracle, SAP, Teradata, etc.

This Tableau software is the most intelligent bi tool available in the current market. It allows the data analysts to design Charts, Maps, Tabular and Matrix reports, Stories, and Dashboards without technical knowledge with a simple drag-and-drop functionality.

Tableau allows you to find data insights, find answers to questions, and also allows you to tell a story about the business.

You don’t need any programming knowledge or coding skills to learn tutorials or use the Tableau business intelligence tool. You may need data to analyze your business and the Desktop to create reports.

Tableau Tutorial for beginners and Advanced

Tableau is one of the leading data visualization tools available for data scientists for data connectivity, data cleaning, and creating data visualization on complex data.

Desktop Introduction and Data Sources

The tableau desktop connects to various Data sources or datasets such as Text Files, CSV, Excel, Databases, Data warehouses, Big Data, Cloud Data, and Cloud applications. So we start this Tableau tutorial section with steps to Install it and Connect to the data source or data warehouse. Or connect different sets of data sources to the Desktop.

  1. Download and Install
  2. Start Page
  3. Show Me
  4. Connect to Excel Files
  5. Connect to Text Files
  6. Connecting to a Comma Delimiter Text File
  7. Connect to a Colon Delimiter Text File
  8. Connect to a Semicolon Delimiter Text File
  9. Connect to a Tab Delimiter Text File
  10. Connecting to a Vertical Bar or Pipe Delimiter File
  11. Connecting to Microsoft SQL Server
  12. Connect Microsoft Analysis Services
  13. Connecting to JSON File
  14. Connecting To PDF File

Tableau Reporting Tutorial

Learn everything about creating Basic Reports and the options for preparing the dataset and basic formatting.

Measures and Dimensions

By default, Tableau will divide the columns into Dimensions and Measures when you connect to any data source. In general, all the numerical columns are placed under the Measures pane. In contrast, the text columns or fields with categorical information are placed under the Dimensions pane. 

Remember, you can drag the required field from Measure to Dimension or vice versa. Or right-click and select the Convert To Measure or Convert to Dimension option.

A simple example can be an Order ID or Employee ID. Tableau initially considers them as Measures, but you must drag them back to the Dimension pane.

Tableau Measure Names and Measure Values tutorial

By default, Measure Names hold the dimensions, and the Measure Values contain your data’s Measures. For instance, add Profit and Sales measures to the Rows shelf and a country field to the column shelf. 

In the above scenario, the aggregated values of measures (AGG(Sales) and AGG(Profit)) will show up under the Measures values and the actual measures (Profit and Sales) under the Measure Names. Please refer to the Line chart to view this. 

  1. Creating the first Report
  2. Data Labels
  3. Format Report Title
  4. Create Folders
  5. Sorting Data
  6. Add Totals, Sub Totals, and Grand Totals to Report
  7. Joining Tables
  8. Data Blending
  9. Table Report
  10. Crosstab Report
  11. Annotations
  12. How to Show or Hide Cards and Shelfs?

Tableau Tutorial on working with Data Visualization tool

This Tableau tutorial helps beginners prepare data in an understandable format for their sheets.

By creating parameterized reports, you can pass the control to end-users. For instance, there are 100 records in a report, and if we allow the user to enter his own value. Then, he might see 10 or 20 or all the 100 records by passing the parameter value.

  1. Creating and Removing Hierarchies
  2. Bins
  3. Parameters
  4. Sets
  5. Combined Sets
  6. Grouping Example 1
  7. Grouping Example 2
  8. Edit Groups
  9. Unpivot SQL Table Columns
  10. Unpivot using Pivot Option
  11. Pivot Table Columns

Tableau Tutorial on Charts

This tutorial section shows the list of charts that are available on the Tableau Desktop to create data visualization.

  1. List of Charts
  2. Area Chart
  3. Bar Chart
  4. Box Plot
  5. Bubble Chart
  6. Bump Chart
  7. Bullet Graph
  8. Butterfly Chart
  9. Box and Whisker plot
  10. Circle Timeline
  11. Circle Views
  12. Cumulative Histogram
  13. Discrete Area Chart
  14. Discrete Line Chart
  15. Donut Chart
  16. Dual Combination Chart
  17. Dual Lines Chart
  18. Funnel Chart
  19. Gantt Chart
  20. Gradient Bar Chart
  21. Grouped Bar
  22. Heat map
  23. Highlight Table
  24. Histogram
  25. Line Chart
  26. Lollipop
  27. Pareto Chart
  28. Pie Chart
  29. Pie chart using Multiple Measures
  30. Progress Bar Chart
  31. Rounded Edges Bar Chart
  32. Scatter Plot
  33. Side-by-Side Bar Chart
  34. Side-by-Side Circles Chart
  35. Simple Circle Timeline
  36. Stacked Bar Chart
  37. Stepped Line Chart
  38. Sunburst Chart
  39. Sunburst using Map & Makepoint
  40. Text Label
  41. Traditional Funnel Chart
  42. Tree Map
  43. Word Cloud
  44. Waterfall Chart

The following Tableau tutorial for beginners section helps you learn advanced reports.

Tableau Tutorial on Dual Axis Reports

For instance, If Columns Shelf has Country Dimension, and Rows Shelf has Sales and Product Cost Measures in your sheet.

For the default Tableau Bar chart, you can place one measure on the Rows shelf; please check its beginners tutorial. However, if you want to put multiple measures, then you have the following options to place measures on

  1. Individual Axis – Create an individual axis for each measure. The above scenario creates two bar charts, one with Country and Sales and the other with Country and Product Cost.
  2. Blended Axis – Blend the two Measures to share the same axis by both of them. The above scenario creates two side-by-side bar charts for two measures against the Country. 
  3. Dual Axis Reports – Bending the measures and placing both measures on the same axis. It paces the Country as the X-Axis and places Sales and Product Cost Measures on either side of the Y-Axis. 

Tableau Reference Lines Tutorial

The Tableau Reference lines are helpful to mark the critical points within the chart or based on the axis, so learn the tutorial. For example, a bar chart shows the sales by region or product. If we add an average reference line to it, it will show each bar’s average point. By seeing the lines, we can identify whether the product is underperforming.

  1. Add Reference Lines
  2. Reference Bands
  3. Reference Distributions

Learn Tableau Maps Tutorial

Nowadays, people extensively use maps to identify places or see information. Therefore, it will be wise to display our data in Maps where the highest Sale, profit, or customer base is with dark color, etc. The best part of this application is using Google maps to represent the spatial data.

Suppose your data doesn’t have latitude and longitude details but includes the geographic fields with the globe icon, including country, state, province, city, or postal codes. It uses that information and automatically generates the latitude and longitude by considering the center points.

  1. Basic Maps
  2. Symbol Map
  3. Google Maps
  4. Mapbox Maps as a Background Map
  5. WMS Server Map as a Background Map

Tableau Dashboard Tutorial

A dashboard is a combination of multiple sheets shown on a single page. Within this, one can view a wide variety of information or different analytics. By seeing a dashboard, one can easily monitor the business workflow.

As the name suggests, A story may contain a series of dashboards or sheets to convey business information.

Learn Tableau stories and Dashboards for data visual analytics tutorial training.

  1. Create a Dashboard
  2. Format Dashboard Layout
  3. Create a Device Preview of a Dashboard
  4. Create Filters on the Dashboard
  5. Dashboard Objects
  6. Create a Story

Tableau Filters tutorial

This section covers the list of supporting filters with a real-time example of each filter to learn. Learn about these Filters and calculations.

  1. Filters Introduction
  2. Conditional Filters
  3. Context Filters
  4. Data Source Filters
  5. Extract Filters
  6. Filters on Dimensions
  7. Filters on Measures
  8. Quick Filters
  9. Selection Filter
  10. Slicing Filters
  11. Top and Bottom Filters

Tableau Table Calculations tutorial

Tableau Calculated Fields allows you to create a new field based on the existing data and some built-in functions, and this beginner’s tutorial covered all of them. 

The Table calculations are pre-defined to find the moving average, running total, running difference, etc. The following are some table calculations performed on the measures to achieve our business objective.

  1. Calculated Fields
  2. Create Table Calculations
  3. Basic Approach to Calculate Rank
  4. Advanced Approach to Calculate Rank
  5. Calculating Running Total
  6. Calculate the Moving Average
  7. Calculate the Percentage Of Total
  8. Quick Table Calculations
  9. YTD Table Calculations

Learn Tableau Built-in Functions

Like any server, it provides various built-in functions for numeric data, string columns, or dates. It also has the If else and case statements to create complex expressions. We must create a calculated field to create or work with all the following functions.

This section of the Tableau tutorial explains the list of available built-in standard functions to use in data visualization and learning.

  1. Aggregate Functions
  2. Case Function
  3. Date Functions
  4. If, If Else, and Else If
  5. Logical Functions
  6. Math Functions
  7. String Functions
  8. Table Functions
  9. Type Conversion Functions

Tableau Products Tutorial

We can divide the products into two types

  • Developer Tools – Tableau Desktop and Public
  • Sharing Tools – Tableau Server, Online, Reader.
Products Line

Tableau Desktop

Tableau is a Windows Application available in both Professional and Personal Versions. It has data connectors that differentiate both because the Professional version supports more data sources than the Personal.

The Tableau Personal edition lets you share your tutorial workbooks with the Public. And the main advantage is the cost-effectiveness of working with Excel, Access, text, spacial files, etc.

With Profession, you can share Tableau tutorial reports with the Server and the Public. If you want to connect to databases or a wide variety of data sources and want to publish or distribute your workbooks to the server, use the Professional.

Both versions allow you to create workbooks that contain sheets (reports), dashboards, and stories.

Tableau Server

It will host within the organization’s premises. Use the server to deploy reports; you can share those data analytics across the organization.

We can publish the required workbooks to this Tableau server using the Desktop so that all the users with the required permissions can access that tutorial report. And you can control who can View, Interact, and Edit within the permissions section.

It allows the users to ask questions and get answers from the published data source. For instance, when you type the Sum of Sales Vs. Profit question generates a report.

The administrators can view the performance. And users with administrator access can edit/alter the existing Visualization or create a new report using the web browser.

This server has the option to create subscriptions. With this option, subscribers get an email notification when an update is in the published report.

Compared to Online, it is more secure because it resides within the company firewall, which provides extra security. In some scenarios, you can also host it in a cloud such as Google Cloud, Azura, and AWS.

Tableau Online

A cloud-based platform allows us to distribute, share, and collaborate on dashboards in a secure environment. Tableau or a third-party partner maintains the cloud network performance.

All the reports will host in the cloud, and users with permissions can view them. However, it means all the users who want to access it must have a service license. So no guest access to the online server.

Workbooks published online must use the Data Extract option that must refresh regularly.

Dashboard starters enable you to connect to popular web applications and help you create pre-defined dashboards seamlessly.

Tableau Reader

It’s an entirely free product. The reader allows one to view and interact with the reports generated by licensed users. For example, you can view and interact with twbx workbook files developed by other users on a Desktop. However, you have no permission to modify workbooks.

Tableau Mobile

It allows access to reports on mobile devices and supports Android and IOS devices.

Tableau Public

Free Product. Unlike Reader, it allows you to develop reports. However, all the workbooks created by this product will save to the Public cloud.

It has a very limited number of data connectors. However, you can use this one if you have the excel or text files to analyze. Also, restrict the number of rows you can use, and the storage space is limited.

It allows you to see all the Visualization made by the community people across the world. And you can find all the data analytics you might need for your organization.

The best part is that you can download any chart and twist or change it per your needs.

Overall, it is best suitable to get hands-on experience with the product.

Tableau Public Premium

It is an annual subscription-based service that helps or prevents saving the work to the public.

Tableau Prep

Regarding data analytics, preparing data is a significant task, as far as I know. Because if your data is more polished or clean, it is a matter of time to get all the charts your business needs the most.

The introduction of Tableau Prep has completely removed the problem you might face in preparing your data. Especially if you are a non-technical user, you can prepare your data by dragging and dropping the required fields.

The following are some of the important features of the Prep.

  1. It enables you to connect to the data you need and combine data from multiple sources by dragging them. On the bottom pane, you can see the actual data.
  2. It will automatically perform joins on the tables that we drag in. And you can also create calculated fields to perform complex operations and view the result.
  3. The best part is that you can remove the unwanted columns or filter the data, combine them, and create new fields using existing data (calculated fields).
  4. You can view this prepared data on the Desktop. And also, you can create reports using this data.
  5. Share your data by publishing it to the server and allowing others within the organization to slice and dice it. You can also schedule, manage, and monitor the data flows across the organization.

Why Tableau?

The three most important things that make a business intelligence tool stand out are security, ease of use, and connection to many data sources. Tableau has all three qualities and many more. The following are some of them.

  • With the click of a mouse, it connects with a wide variety of data sources hassle-free.
  • It supports all kinds of charts that are useful for business decisions.
  • Easy for non-technical users to create a visualization. Simply selecting the required chart from the Show Me window will generate the chart for you. Or, drag and drop fields to Rows and Columns shelves.
  • Tableau supports live and in-house data; this tutorial will teach you everything.
  • It has trends, statistical summaries, and forecasts to understand the patterns in your data.
  • You can seamlessly share your work and reports across the organization or worldwide.
  • Secured environment to access reports on the server or cloud.
  • Access reports from a Web browser, Mobile phone (both IOS and Android), and Tablet.
  • Dashboards show all the information to understand the business and the ability to make decisions quickly. 
  • Its Performance recorder built-in tool provides detailed information about workbook performance. That includes connecting to data sources, query execution, data blending, Layout, etc. This summary report can analyze what took too long or where we can improve the performance.
  • It keeps the audit information of every action we do in the interface. Because of this, when you make a mistake or make many unwanted changes, you can use the undo button or redo to get it to roll back to normal.
  • It has a Duplicate Sheet option that allows you to duplicate the existing data analytics to an entirely new sheet.

File Types in Tableau?

The following are the supporting file types, and this article explains every one of them to learn.

  • Workbook – twb extension
  • Packaged Workbook – twbx extension
  • Data Source – tds
  • Packaged Data Source – tdsx
  • Bookmark -tbm
  • Data Extract – tde


Every Tableau workbook contains sheets (charts) and dashboards. That means it has all the information about the Visualizations or sheets we created, dimensions, and measures we used and applied.

It contains metadata about the connection to the data source but not the actual data. And it also stores the filters we used and the formatting applied to the charts.

Packaged Workbook

Tableau packaged workbook is a zip file combining the workbook twb file and the data source (actual data to work). So one can work with a twbx file even without the internet. 

For instance, if you want to share a workbook with a person who doesn’t have access to the data source, you can send a twbx file because it consists of the actual data. If a person doesn’t have a Desktop license can view this twbx file in the reader.

Tableau Data Source

The tds file contains the data source connection information and the metadata. So, for example, if it is a text or excel, it saves the file location. And if it is a database, then instance, port, server name, database, etc. 

It also stores the information about the bins, sets, groups, and calculated fields we created.

By default, the tds file is a part of the workbook but also saved separately to share this metadata with others. For instance, if you want to work with the same data source that has already been fine-tuned by creating bins, groups, and some calculated fields, save them as tds. It saves time, and you can use it at any time.

Packaged Data Source

This zip file contains all the tds file information and the actual files. For instance, our data source is an excel file. Therefore, the tds file has the file location, whereas the tdsx has the actual excel file and location information.

Tableau Bookmark

When sharing a single sheet or chart, you can save it as a bookmark. Or you can save the frequently used sheet as a snapshot. It is beneficial to share a sheet instead of a whole workbook. 

You can save a worksheet as a bookmark by clicking the Windows Menu -> Bookmark option -> Create Bookmark. And one can access it from the exact location, just under the create sub-menu.

The only limitation is that you can’t create a bookmark for a dashboard. 

Data Extract

Tableau allows working with either static or live data. So, if you want to work with a static version, you perform data extraction for that time interval or period.

On your Desktop, in the top right-hand corner, you can use the radio button to switch between Live and Extract.

When you choose the Extract option, you are actually importing all the data into the data engine or in memory.

The live connection allows working with live or up-to-date data. By simply clicking the refresh button, you can see the updated records.

Data Extract uses

  • It improves the performance because we work on a required subset of data. And it will also reduce the server load.
  • It provides data access even when offline because you can save them locally. When there is a situation where you don’t have the option to connect to live data, you can simply work with this extract.
  • If your data source does not support the median and count calculated functions, use the Data Extract option to add them to extracted data by default.

Tableau Architecture

Tableau Architecture

Data Layer

Tableau allows you to work with all varieties of data. You can work with databases, data warehouses, cubes, big data, Access, Excel, flat files, etc.

The best part is that you don’t have to bring all the data into the memory. Instead, you have the leverage to bring it when you needed.

Data Connectors

It has many built-in data connectors to work with all the major companies. That includes Microsoft SQL Server, Azura, Oracle, SalesForce, Teradata, Hadoop, etc. On top of this, Tableau supports the ODBC connection, which is the traditional connection string option for most Data sources. There are two options to connect with data.

  1. Live Data: With this option, you can send dynamic queries such as SQL or MDX to the database and get the aggregated information from it. It avoids importing all the data into memory, and if the backend database is fast, you can get performance advantages.
  2. Extract or in-memory: In a few steps, you can connect with any type of data, extract required records and bring it into the memory. Moreover, it has a fast database engine to get query responses. 

Which Tableau Product is Best for You?

The answer relies on four key attributes.

  1. What Data Sources do you need to connect, or what kind of data do you want to use in your reports.?
  2. How do you want to use your workbooks?
  3. How do you like to share workbooks?
  4. Do your workbooks have to update automatically or on a scheduled basis?
  5. Are your reports limited to a few people within the organization or distributed worldwide on the cloud?

Tableau used in

  1. Education
  2. Finance
  3. Government Sector
  4. Hospitals
  5. Insurance Companies
  6. Law firms
  7. Military, etc.

What is Data Visualization?

Data Visualization is a graphical representation of the data or visual communication of data. Two important advantages are

  1. Data analysis – creating visual elements or data analytics, such as graphs, charts, etc., to understand the data.
  2. Visual communication with data (excel tables, text files, database tables).

Why Data Visualization?

The company generally asks questions by conducting surveys to know about its products. Or, they tend to see the long tables with aggregated information to understand the basics. However, using data visualization on historical data, they get all the necessary answers and raise many more questions for improvement.

There are many reasons for this, and the following are some of the many reasons to use data visualization.

  1. Understand the Business trends.
  2. Identify the Sales of a particular product.
  3. Finding the low-performing goods.
  4. Identifying the area (Post Code, City, State, Country, etc.) where the company was getting more profits or orders.
  5. Find the correlation between the Sales and Profit or Product Manufacturing Cost vs. Sale Price.
  6. Understand the customer purchase patterns, including age, behavior, location, etc.
  7. Understand the Sale over the years by comparing this year with previous, monthly-based comparisons, and so on.

With the above information’s help, one can quickly identify the issues within the business. It also helps to make decisions without further damage or to improve sales. For example, when a company wants to introduce a new product, these data analytics help them understand customer behavior.

Apart from all the above, it is all about big data nowadays. It is humanly impossible to understand or make a business decision by seeing the trillions of records we get daily or hourly. What if we have the best data visualization tool like this one to generate good visuals?

Why is Tableau the best Data Visualization in 2023?

There are many data visualization tools available in the market. Still, Tableau and Power BI lead the race with a high customer base.

Tableau data visualizations tool helps create interactive data analytics using the data sources and share them online. The Desktop will help you develop sheets, charts, dashboards, and stories. And we can use them in the local system, or we have to publish them to the server.

We can distribute the interactive data visualizations online and access them from mobile, tab, or Desktop using Server. With the help of the server administrator, you can control the user roles, content access, etc.

About Suresh

Suresh is the founder of TutorialGateway and a freelance software developer. He specialized in Designing and Developing Windows and Web applications. The experience he gained in Programming and BI integration, and reporting tools translates into this blog. You can find him on Facebook or Twitter.