Comprehensive Guide to Learn Tableau Public [Step by Step Explanation]

Tableau Public is one of the most widely used software for business intelligence tasks around the globe and across industries. Companies are on the lookout for people who have some familiarity and experience of working with this tool so that they can present data in a way that can be understood at any level of the organization. Learn more about tableau data visualization.

We have put together a comprehensive guide to learn tableau public to help you create such interactive and professional data visualizations. So, read on! 

Tableau Tutorial For Beginners

Why Tableau?

Data visualization allows businesses to transform raw data into useful insights, thereby improving their decision-making processes. In the modern technology-led world, there is a growing need for intuitive tools that offer flexibility to all users and bring customer focus to the operations.

From startups and mid-stage ventures to fortune 500 companies, enterprises of all sizes are realizing the value data-driven analytics can bring. With this perspective, Tableau is experiencing an increase in popularity across the board. The Gartner Magic Quadrant 2020 recognized it as a leader among analytics and business intelligence platforms. 

Tableau Desktop vs Tableau Public 

The Tableau software comes in two primary licenses for individuals: Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public. The two versions primarily differ with respect to their price, connectors, and security. 

Tableau Public is an excellent option for anyone who wants to try their hand at data visualization for free. It has most of the functionalities of Tableau Desktop except things like secure online sharing and publishing options, integration with servers, etc. 

Every week, Tableau Public gets 13,000 new visualizations, which goes to demonstrate its popularity across geographies, industries, and use cases—from music, art, and entertainment to healthcare, and much more.

Step-Wise Tableau Public Tutorial

Here are the initial steps of working with Tableau Public:

1. Open the Dataset

Access the source file that you want to use. Let’s say it is an Excel file with the health information of the citizens in a country. Such a dataset may contain hundreds of columns and rows of data for different states and indicators. 

2. Connect to a Data Source

You can drag and drop your dataset in Tableau Public and simply click on “OK” to connect it. Tableau will automatically recognize the data depending on the type. For instance, in the health dataset, there would be categorical fields like “State” or “District” and other numerical fields like “obesity rate,” maternal mortality rate” etc.

3. Create the First View

Double click on the “State” and “District” fields so that Tableau can geocode these values accordingly. If you get a warning message, it means null values have been excluded in the geographical fields. To avoid this, select these values, then right-click, and choose Exclude.

Don’t forget to apply the changes to subsequent views; you can do so by going to Filter, right-clicking on the exclusions, and selecting Make Global. After this, you will have a visual map showing all the states and districts for which your health dataset contains a record. 

Follow these steps for the health indicators (numerical data like obesity rate):

  • Drag from the Measures panel into Color.
  • Copy into Size shelf.
  • Encode the States by those values.
  • Change the colour to your liking.

Now, to create the first view:

  • Add a filter to enable the choice of individual districts.
  • Click and drag “Districts” into the Filters shelf.
  • Click OK.
  • On the Filters shelf, right-click on “District.”
  • Choose Show Quick Filter followed by Deselect All.
  • Select any one district.
  • Right-click on the bottom tab.
  • Rename your worksheet as “Map View.”

4. Add a Second View

For the second view, you first need to add a new worksheet. Again, drag the health indicator (obesity rate in this case), but this time onto Rows. You can drag other data points like “people who don’t exercise” and “people who don’t eat fewer fruits & vegetables” into the Columns. 

Before you move further, stop to draft “State” and “District” into Level of Detail or LOD in Tableau. Otherwise, the values across all districts and states would be summed up into a single data point by default. 

You can create the final scatter plot after a few extra steps, including:

  • Changing the colour
  • Opening “Automatic” from the drop-down menu followed by “Circle”
  • Increasing the points’ transparency by moving the slider
  • Selecting Analysis from the top menu and clicking on Trend Lines

Finally, you can rename your worksheet just as you did for the first view. For simplicity, let’s call this one “Scatterplot View.”

5. Create a Dashboard

Once you have both the views, you would want to bring them together for further analysis. You can simply double click on them to get them on the dashboard.  After this step, create a Compact List and select Make Global to ensure that all alterations you make get applied simultaneously. 

You are now ready to make custom decisions on your data dashboard, such as:

  • Right-click on the filter, go to Customize and uncheck show “All” value.
  • Right-click on each view’s titles and Hide Title
  • Rename the given dashboard as “Obesity by state and district.”
  • Under objects, double click on Title

6. Save to the Web

Before you save the file online, you can choose the size and layout of your webpage.

For this, you can go to Size> Edit, then click on File in the menu. You can then log in with the credentials of your Tableau Public account and give a name to your workbook. Tableau will publish your data visualizations just how you built them.

7. Embed on your Webpage

You can embed the Tableau Public visualization on your personal website or blog with a copy-paste operation. Go to the window called Save to Web Results, scrolling down to Visualization and clicking on Share. Copy the bed code and paste it into the HTML to put it live on your webpage.

You can also get a direct URL and share it on social media. Viewers will be able to see and use the tooltips, filters, and other functionalities that you’ve put onto your dashboard.

With this, we have learned how to “open, create, and share” using Tableau Public. Now, let us explore some other significant details to make this Tableau tutorial for beginners more cohesive.

Keeping these points in mind will help you approach the practical part with clarity and confidence.

Getting Started

Tableau caters to both professionals and organizations, helping them with their visualization needs with a wide range of products, namely

  • Tableau Desktop: For individual use
  • Tableau Public: For anyone who wants to learn the tool, and is open to publishing interactive data online 
  • Tableau Server: For organizational use, which requires collaboration among different teams
  • Tableau Online: For business intelligence tasks over the cloud
  • Tableau Reader: For reading files saved in Tableau Desktop

Connecting with Data

  • You can connect Tableau with several types of data sources, including Excel files, Text files, and big data queries.
  • Advanced connectivity features also let you work with Join types, Data blending, custom SQL, Google Analytics, etc.

Creating Views & Analysis

  • With Tableau, you can represent data in multiple views by applying filters, formatting, generating trend lines, forecasting, among many other operations.
  • The automatic selection feature of Tableau activates the best views for your objects, depending on the measures, dimensions, etc.

Tableau Dashboards & Stories

This is a separate section of a standard Tableau Public tutorial, covering these aspects: 

  • How to add views and objects
  • Apply filters to a dashboard
  • Selecting layouts and formatting
  • Building an interactive dashboard
  • Creating story points

Advanced Visualization with Tableau 

As we mentioned earlier, there is a multitude of ways to represent data in Tableau. As you go beyond the ‘Show Me’ visualizations, you can discover advanced graphs like:

  • Motion chart
  • Pareto Chart
  • Donut chart
  • Bump chart
  • Waterfall chart

You can also introduce R programming within the Tableau software. So, we recommend that you take this guide as a starting point to keep your curiosity for learning alive.

Also Read: Tableau Career Opportunities

Conclusion

Today, most business analytics courses include Tableau as a part of the curriculum and project work to offer experiential learning opportunities to candidates. Some examples of such learning programs are:

Such study options open avenues for practising and refining data science skills, particularly those necessary in the workplaces of today and tomorrow. The above Tableau Public tutorial will give you a headstart just in case you find yourself in a state of confusion! 

If you are curious to learn about tableau, data science, and want to learn more, check out IIIT-B & upGrad’s Executive PG in Data Science which is created for working professionals and offers 10+ case studies & projects, practical hands-on workshops, mentorship with industry experts, 1-on-1 with industry mentors, 400+ hours of learning and job assistance with top firms.

Why is Tableau so popular among BI tools?

No doubt, Tableau is, if not the best, one of the best BI tools out there, and there are many reasons to believe this statement. The following are some of the reasons that put Tableau way ahead of other BI tools:
1. Tableau’s dashboard is very informative and provides you with a detailed and organized view of your data visualized as charts and graphs.
2. It provides you with the convenience of sharing your data securely from one source to another with live data connectivity.
3. Tableau provides a wide range of data visualization, probably wider than any other BI tool. The data can be visualized in the form of advanced charts like a Bullet chart, Motion chart, Treemap, and Boxplot.
4. You can also create detailed maps on Tableau as it has detailed pre-installed information of maps such as cities, postal codes, etc.

Can Power BI be a replacement for Tableau?

Just like Tableau, Power BI is another BI giant that is dominating the business intelligence tools industry since 2011. Below are some points that justify the reasons for its popularity and why it is a tough competitor of Tableau.
1. Power BI works very efficiently in integration with services of Microsoft like Azure, Excel, and SQL at a very effective cost.
2. It offers a simple and user-friendly UI that takes no time to start working with building reports.
3. With Power BI, you get many amazing features like data discovery and data preparations in your pocket.

How is Tableau Desktop different from the Tableau Desktop public?

Although Tableau and Tableau Public are more or less similar, there are some differences that need to be mentioned.
1. You can only connect to the local data through the Tableau Desktop Public and you must be registered with Tableau Server Public.
2. While working on Tableau Desktop, you cannot save your work locally. You must save it to Tableau Public Server or pay for the premium.
3. The number of rows is limited in the Tableau Desktop Public. You can avail yourself of unlimited rows with the paid plan.
4. Tableau Desktop personal costs $35 while Tableau Desktop professional costs $70. The Tableau server costs $ 35 while the Tableau online can be availed for $42.

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