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Flashcards in deck_bronze Deck (45):

Why do I need Tableau? What value does Tableau deliver?

Tableau lets your users explore the data and ask questions that lead to business answers and insights that drive the business. Tableau is fast, easy to use, and flexible, allowing all data workers to work independently without the help of report writers or DBAs.


What about performance?

Tableau has no limitations with regards to performance, speed, or size. With Tableau, you can choose to connect directly to your live data or load it into our fast data engine. If you already have a snappy database, tableau will use it for the majority of processing and only bring the results to your desktop. If your data isn’t so fast, business users can load it into our fast data engine and have speed of thought responses.


How hard is it to learn? How long does it take to learn Tableau?

Tableau is designed for the data worker, not just for technical DBAs and report writers. Most of the basic features in Tableau can be learned in an hour or so. Just like with any application, there are many more advanced features that may not be apparent the first time Tableau is used. We have all of our free training and support documents available for free online, so most of our users can be up and running within a matter of hours. New users are supported with both live and on-demand training, support (web, email), Tableau examples and packaged workbooks online, tips and tricks, etc. Also, Tableau has the “ShowMe” feature which enables users to select the fields they want to analyze and have Tableau draw the best fit view based on visualization best practices, so this helps people get up and running very quickly.


Who is this for?

Any data worker. Tableau is not tailored toward any vertical or functional area. It’s like asking who can use Excel. Tableau is meant for anyone who needs to explore or ask questions of their data, regardless of technical or analytical background.


We have a BI standard. How is Tableau Different?

Tableau approaches the objectives of BI from a fundamentally different perspective. Instead of having the tools and power centralized in IT, Tableau allows the business professionals to directly interact with their data to answer their questions. This provides freedom for both parties: IT is free to focus on critical tasks and projects without constant interruption from the business users; The business professionals are free to ask any question of the data at any time, or even pursue new data and new questions without the need for deep planning and projects with IT. The end results is a more agile, more responsive business that can make better decisions, faster.


How many visualizations or chart types?

Don’t show ‘Show me’! Tableau provides an unlimited variety of displays that are a combination of various tools. Users can combine these tools in new ways to arrive at new types of visualizations that best suit their needs. In addition, Tableau provides quick access to many of the most common types of displays including line charts, bar charts, scatter plots, pie charts, area charts, small multiples, Gantt charts, heat maps, highlight tables and cross-tabs. You can even combine together different types of charts to arrive at entirely new visualizations.


I can’t connect to my data, what’s wrong?

What error message are you getting? If it says they need to download the drivers, then kindly suggest they download the drivers. If it is some other error: Our support department can get you set up in no time. Please contact them with your error and they will get back to you shortly (or, for bonus points, create the case in Salesforce for them!)


What databases can you connect to? (be able to list them all)

Best answer – open the connect to data dialog and show them the extensive list. Tableau can connect to file based data such as access and excel as well as relational databases like SQL Server and Oracle and cubes such Essbase and Analysis Services. Tableau can connect to Hadoop through our Cloudera Hadoop Hive connector. For other databases, you can use the ODBC driver. You can also paste data directly into Tableau. Ask them what type of data they have. It makes it easier to say, “oh yes, we connect natively to your environment.”


What is ODBC?

The objective of the ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) standard itself is that it provides a uniform way for products to connect to databases. ODBC drivers are supplied by your database vendor and vary in quality and completeness. Tableau will detect the capabilities of your ODBC driver and match functionality as best we can. When using the ODBC connection, it is often recommended to use it to create Tableau Extracts, rather than running interactive sessions to the data source.


Can I connect to SAP?

Tableau can only connect to the supported databases. If your data is in another format, you must first get it into a supported format by extracting the data or linking to it from another database. Tableau has been looking into developing support for SAP BW and SAP HANA. However, until this is released, you should continue accessing that data as you do today, which typically means extracting it to Excel.


My excel data doesn’t work with Tableau. What do I do?

KB article written on this topic found here: Remove or exclude introductory and other unnecessary textMake sure each row contains only one piece of dataHeaders: Limit headers to a single row, add missing headersMissing data: Fill blank cells and delete blank rowsClean up aggregated and descriptive dataUse Tableau’s Reshaper Plug-in found here:


What is the difference between ‘Connect Live’ and importing all or some of my data?

Connecting Live leaves all the data in the source database. Tableau will dynamically query the database to retrieve analytic results. This is great for fast, or rapidly changing databases.Importing data into the Fast Data Engine optimizes the data, dramatically improving performance when connected to large amounts of data or file based data sets. The extract is static and will need to be refreshed as new data is available, however this can be automated through Tableau Server.Additionally, you can set up incremental extracts which will only bring in the new data since the last refresh, rather than refreshing the entire extract. For example, you can schedule an incremental extract refresh for every fifteen minutes, and a full refresh during non-peak business hours.


What is the maximum number of rows Tableau can use?

Tableau can connect to unlimited amounts of data. In fact our customers use Tableau as the front end to some of the largest databases in the world – Billions of rows of data. How many rows of data do you have? If you are using a live connection to your giant database, we only retrieve the data needed to answer your question. For example, you have 100 million rows of data and want to find the monthly sales trend for the last 2 years – Tableau only retrieves 24 rows of data. Ok, the daily sales trend for the last 3 years – about 1,000 rows go to Tableau.If you are using the Fast Data Engine, then you can still effectively use 100’s of millions of rows – even on a laptop with limited memory.


What does ‘architecture aware fast data engine’ mean?

Unlike typical ‘in memory’ databases, Tableau’s fast data engine is not constrained by the amount of RAM on the machine. Tableau only pre-loads the columns used in the analysis and it can even load just part of a column. The ‘architecture aware’ part means that it automatically adapts to the characteristics of your system, even when those characteristics (ie available memory) are dynamic.


Can I join data from 2 different data sources? (be able to demo)

Yes. Make two data connections and add field from each to the worksheet. Tableau calls this Data Blending because it joins the results together rather than forcing you to integrate the detailed data.


Can I connect to multiple databases at once?

Absolutely! You can have each sheet connected to a different type of data and visually combine them in a dashboard. Or you can combine them in a single sheet using data blending.


Can I augment my data with data I found on a website?

Yes. Select the tabular data that you found on an informative website and paste into a Tableau workbook.


How do cubes differ from relational databases in Tableau?

Cubes Gain:Hierarchical FiltersDrill Up/Down per MemberCalculated Members (write your own MDX)Default MembersTotal Using (set the total to use a different calc than the original field)Relational Gain:Robust Calculations – even on dimensionsGroupsAggregations (in a cube these are pre-defined)Fast Data EngineRelative Date FilterRow Level Filters


I’m trying to blend my cube with my relational data but it is not working.

Cubes cannot be secondary datasources. However, you can connect to a cube as a primary and then another non-cube as a secondary.


How many employees do you have?

Almost 600, but we are rapidly growing every quarter.


Can I install Tableau on two machines? (for one user?)

Yes, each named user can install tableau on two machines for their own use. Read the EULA for more details and limitations


If I have multiple users, I guess I want Tableau Server?

That depends. Tableau Desktop is the Authoring Tool, and Tableau Server is the recommended report consumption tool. If your multiple users are all looking at doing their own rapid-fire analytics, then they would all need Tableau Desktop licenses. Alternatively, if you have many users that would only consume reports created by those power users, then Tableau Server licenses would be necessary for those users.


How do I order?

That’s easy. Either order directly from our webstore on or call your salesperson at 206-633-3400.


What is the difference between a measure and a dimension?

A measure is something that we want to calculate such as the total sales. A dimension is categorical data that we would use to break down that measure into smaller components such as sales for each region (region being a dimension that contains east, west etc)


What about calculations? (be able to demo table calcs and create a calc)

Tableau has lots of powerful calculations. You can create simple calculations like you would in Excel or very powerful calculations that you would only dream of in Excel. For example, on this trend chart, I can simply click on my measure to display year over year growth.


How do I do Medians? (be able to demo on superstore)

Simply change the aggregation to ‘Median’ on supported databases. If your database doesn’t support medians, you can either create an extract and tableau will upgrade it for you, or use a reference line to calculate the median of the results displayed.


Can I drill down? Can I create a hierarchy? (be able to demo)

How do you mean drill down? Yes, just drag one field onto another. Repeat as necessary.


What about templates?

We’ve already created one today without any additional effort. The entire process of our analysis has been captured by Tableau and we can reapply to new sets of data. We simply point Tableau at the new data by editing the connection or by choosing to replace the data source. As long as the fields in the analysis have the same names, Tableau will automatically swap the connection. If not, it is very simple to drag and drop to replace fields on each shelf. Voila!


How do I get a line and a bar on the same chart? (be able to demo)

Simply drag the second measure to the right side of the Viz, then right click on it and change the mark type.


How do I share my results with others?

Tableau is all about sharing. One of the most effective ways of sharing analysis is to provide interactivity. With a few clicks, you can publish your analysis to the Tableau Server so that users can log into any web browsers and get up to the minute results, high interactivity, and secure access, all with nothing to download. Or you can save your workbook as a packaged workbook and send it to anyone. They can use the free Tableau Reader to open it and interact with your results. You can also simply right click on your sheet and copy and paste the image into power-point, an email etc. Additionally you can publish the entire workbook as a PDF and distribute it as you see fit. As you can see, Tableau tries to make it as easy as possible for your results to be leveraged throughout your organization.


Can I build pivot tables? Or crosstabs?

Absolutely. Not only can you build one quickly via drag and drop, but any sheet can be quickly converted to a cross-tab with a click (choose duplicate as cross-tab or Show Me!)


How can I sort my data? Be prepared to give a short demo on sorting (at least 4 different places to sort)

Drag and drop membersDrag and drop in LegendsOne click sort iconsIn the viewIn the menuRight click on any dimension for computed sort


How do I get a map in Tableau? Can I see addresses?

Simply double click on one of your fields that has a blue globe next to it. You can even use a filled map mark type. For specific mapping needs like street addresses, custom sales territories, or international zip codes you can import custom geo-coding if you have the latitude and longitude coordinates in your data.


How do I change my numbers to format in percent?

Best Practice: Right click on a field in the Data Window and choose ‘Field PropertiesNumber Format’. Set the option to ‘Percentage’. On a sheet, Right click on a tablet or number and choose ‘Format’. Typically you would choose the ‘Pane’ tab in the Format window and change the default number type (near the top) to percentage. Notice that the formatting changes instantly as you make selections.


Summing my measure does not make sense. How do I get the average?

On any measure, right click and select the aggregation of choice. If you always want a field to have a different aggregation, you can change the default aggregation from the data window. Right-click and select ‘Field Properties  Aggregation’


How do I add a goal or target to my chart?

Right click on your axis and create a reference line at the value of your choosing. You can even use parameters to dynamically set a target. If you have a field that contains the goal or target, then use a bullet chart (show me is best). If you have a spreadsheet that contains the targets, then use data blending first, followed by bullet.


Can I add a regression or trend line?

Right click on the view to enable Trend Lines. If they are not viable for the type of view, then Tableau will not display them. If it doesn’t work on a date axis, changing it to a continuous date will work.


Can I create Histograms?

Yes. We even have a Show Me option for this. Select a single measure and click Show Me Alternatives and select the histogram at the end. You can even dynamically set the bin size with parameters. Additionally, you can just show the raw distribution of measures when bins are not necessary. Use the same field twice –show as a Dimension on columns and ‘Count’ on Rows.


Does it run on a Mac?

Apple uses Tableau. They run it on Parallels or Bootcamp (most customers already have these products). Most commonly people on Macs will be using Tableau Server. Tableau Server is accessible from a Mac using Safari, IE, Chrome or Firefox.


Can packaged workbooks be password protected for data security?

If security is important then distributing files is not your best bet. Instead, the Tableau server provides multi-level security to protect your data and your analysis. Would you like to see a demo?


What support/resources are available to me during my trial?

Tableau provides Free training. You have automatically been enrolled in the next two training courses, Introductory and Advanced training. Additionally you can attend additional training On Demand by visiting our website. There are over a dozen hours of training courses that cover our complete product line.You get free support during your trial. You can use our knowledge base on the website and if that doesn’t answer your question, you can contact and they will be glad to assist you with any issues you might have.Additionally, you can contact me at any time and I’ll help you if I can, or route you to the best resource to answer your questions.


Which web browsers are supported for Server?

Tableau supports standard web browsers such as Internet Explorer (IE), Firefox , Safari, and Chrome.


Can we embed Tableau into another application?

Yes. Just click the share button and copy and paste.Tableau provides a web part for SharePoint or you can simply add the appropriate URL to any web application you might have. It is really nice because not only can you embed the picture, but you can also make it completely interactive just like on the Tableau Server! For example, users can mouse-over for more detail or change filters or drill down etc right in the embedded view. For some great examples of what you can do visit our blogs at


What is THE difference between Reader and Tableau Server?

Tableau Server provides live connections to the database, where Reader is a static extract that you will need to manually refresh and resend to end users as data changes.Tableau Server has robust, multi-tier security. Reader does not have any security.With Tableau Server there is nothing to install or maintain on user’s machines. Tableau Server is a collaboration platform for authors and consumers of analysis


Does Tableau work on an iPad or other mobile devices?

Tableau Server is automatically mobile aware and touch optimized with no extra coding or dual authoring. You can publish once, and view anywhere.We also have an optimized App for the iPad.