What is Tableau?

Tableau is the leading analytics platform for business intelligence on the market. It allows users to simplify raw data into a format that’s easy to access and understand by those working at any level of an organization. Even non-technical Tableau users can create customized dashboards and worksheets with the help of this versatile tool. Some of Tableau’s most remarkable features include its capacity for data blending, real-time analysis, and data collaboration. It can be installed directly onto one’s hardware from a web download and be operational in just twenty minutes.

The Tableau product suite is used by many companies, like Skype, Wells Fargo, Nike, and Coca-Cola, for their data visualization needs. In fact, thousands of companies and organizations use Tableau for their data analytic and visualization needs.

This article will take a deeper look at one of Tableau’s most popular applications, Tableau Desktop, to explore some of its features for data analytics and data visualization.

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What is Tableau Desktop?

Tableau Desktop is a paid desktop application that enables users to take existing data sources, like SQL databases or Excel spreadsheets, and transform this information into dashboards, charts, and formulas. Tableau Desktop users are able to connect to data in order to create their own stories, dashboards, and workbooks, then publish and share them to their Tableau site. 

This powerful data visualization and business intelligence software is especially helpful when working with large stores of statistical data, as it provides users with a streamlined and user-friendly approach to transforming this information into interactive visuals, like charts or graphs. 

Pros & Cons of Using Tableau Desktop

Tableau Desktop users cite many benefits to working with this application, as well as a few drawbacks.


  • Tableau Desktop’s interactive parameters facilitate real-time interactions with users.
  • Files can be saved privately when using Tableau Desktop.
  • Its “show me” menu allows users to create graphs with the click of a button.
  • By right-clicking on a feature, users can easily discover items that can help create data visualizations. 
  • Tableau Desktop does not have data size limits.
  • It provides supplementary data connection options to databases and other sources.


  • Data extractions can run slowly on Tableau Desktop if a large amount of data is required.
  • It can be time-consuming to format data so that it will work in various graphical representations.
  • A subscription to Tableau Desktop costs $70/month. This can be costly for an organization, especially when multiple Data Analysts are working with Tableau, and is an important consideration for those working with a limited budget.

Features of Tableau Desktop

Tableau Desktop provides users with many helpful features and tools for data analysis and visualization:

  • Tableau Desktop can connect to many different data sources. In order to do so, after launching Tableau Desktop, the available connectors are displayed on the Connect pane, on the left of the Start page. Tableau offers native connectors that are specifically designed for supported files and databases. Any database or file displayed under Connect can be connected to your data using this native connector. The specific data connectors that are supported by Tableau Desktop depend on which version was purchased.
  • Tableau Desktop makes it possible for users to access and combine various kinds of data without the need for writing code. Instead, users can manage, pivot, and split metadata in order to get the most out of it.
  • For users who experience difficulty entering data into Tableau Desktop, it’s possible that the data must be prepped prior to working with it. In instances such as these, users can work with Tableau Prep for data cleansing, combining, or shaping. Once it is analysis-ready, the data can then be output to Tableau Desktop.
  • Deep, driving questions can be answered using Tableau Desktop. Its capacity for performing powerful calculations based on existing data, as well as reviewing statistical summaries drive effective analysis. In addition, Tableau Desktop users can perform regressions, correlations, and trend analyses to better inform decision-making.
  • Humans have a natural capacity to notice visual patterns. With the help of Tableau Desktop’s interactive dashboards, it’s much easier for users to quickly discover insights that may otherwise go hidden. 
  • Interactive maps in Tableau Desktop provide answers not only to the “where” but the “why” driving data analysis. These interactive maps can be automatically created, and leverage built-in postal codes for over 50 countries for instantaneous mapping capabilities. In addition, geocodes and territories can be applied to personalized regions, such as sales areas.
  • Huge datasets can be analyzed on a laptop, thanks to Tableau Desktop’s capacity to use advanced database technology and computer graphics to extract large amounts of data in mere seconds.
  • With the help of Tableau’s device designer, Data Analysts can create, customize, and share dashboards that function on any phone, tablet, or desktop device.
  • Instead of relying on static slides to impart information, Tableau Desktop optimizes live stories that allow others to do the exploration firsthand. Tableau narratives challenge audience members to pose their own questions of the data, which leads to more effective collaboration and greater insights.
  • Tableau products are Unicode, which means they are designed to work with data that is stored in any language. The documentation and interface are available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese.

As is evident from the many benefits of working with Tableau Desktop, this application is a powerful tool for Data Scientists and Data Analysts working to extract and share relevant information from large datasets. This tool has applications for those who are new to data analytics, as well as seasoned Data Analysts who have been creating visualizations for years.

Those who are interested in purchasing Tableau Desktop can buy a monthly subscription to Tableau Creator. This suite of products was designed for data preparation, analytics, and collaborative needs within an organization. It costs $70/month for individual use, or for each member of an organization or team who uses it. Those who purchase Tableau Creator are billed annually. This product includes a license for Tableau Desktop, Tableau Prep Builder, and one Creator license for either Tableau Online or Tableau Server. Regular product updates are included to ensure that users have access to the most timely analytic capabilities and features.

Hands-On Data Visualization & Tableau Classes

Do you want to learn how to create stunning and engaging data visualizations, maps, charts, and graphs using the fastest-growing visualization platform on the market? If so, Noble Desktop’s Tableau classes provide a great option. These small group classes are available in-person in NYC, as well as in the live online format. Tableau courses teach students skills like how to spot the most optimal datasets to connect to, as well as how to analyze, filter, structure, and visually represent data.

In addition, a variety of live online Tableau courses are also currently available from top training providers. These interactive classes are taught in real-time and provide all learners with access to an instructor who is live and ready to provide feedback and answer questions. Courses range from seven hours to five days in duration and cost $299- $2,199.

Those who are interested in finding nearby Tableau classes can use Noble’s Tableau Classes Near Me tool. This handy tool provides an easy way to locate and browse more than three dozen of the best Tableau classes currently offered in the in-person and live online formats so that all interested learners can find the course that works best for them. In addition, for those searching for a data visualization class nearby, Noble’s Data Visualization Classes Near Me tool makes it easy to locate and learn more about over 200 courses currently offered in the in-person and live online formats. Class lengths vary from three hours to five months and cost from $119 to $12,995.