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Tableau has grown to become one of the most popular business intelligence tools in the
entire world.
It is a BI software that allows non-technical users to visualize their data and work with
it almost immediately, lowering know-how barriers dramatically.
In the past, business analysts needed the help of IT personnel who would assist them
in gathering raw data and pre-processing it.
Only then could business analysts start working on the visualization of such data.
The advent of Tableau democratized this process and allowed BI analysts to be independent.
Non-technical people can easily load data into the program and start playing with it.
Tableau’s forte are meaningful and intuitive visualizations.
And sometimes that’s really valuable.
Analysts are able to explore their data right away, without spending too much time on numbers
which provide limited insights and instead focus on data that matters.
This is why we can confidently say that Tableau is an indispensable tool in the arsenal of
most corporate business intelligence analysts, data analysts, and data scientists.
Many people are uncertain about the difference between Tableau and spreadsheet tools like
And that’s a reasonable doubt, until we point out they serve different purposes.
Using Tableau doesn’t necessarily mean you can forget about Excel, and vice versa.
While Excel is not as powerful or intuitive as Tableau when it comes to data visualization,
Tableau is not optimal when you would like to use it as a data creation tool.
Although it has several database management functionalities, the program isn’t the best
solution when you would like to perform multiple operations with your data before you start
analysing it.
Moreover, Tableau isn’t great for multi-layered calculations.
It is able to calculate its own fields, but it shouldn’t be used as a spreadsheet tool
for multi-layered calculations such as the preparation of a budget in Excel.
Where Tableau surpasses the competition is in data visualizations.
It is a very smart program that allows you to visualize data in a more powerful way compared
to Excel.
So, for example when you work with geographical data, there is no way Excel could interpret
the cells in your spreadsheet as a geographical location.
On the other hand, Tableau recognizes that and allows you to visualize such data and
see how a variable is distributed geographically.
Moreover, Tableau allows you to combine several types of charts and build up meaningful dashboards
that are truly interactive and facilitate additional analysis.
Once you visualize your data, you can easily dig deeper and explore its granularity, finding
the reason for unusual spikes or investigating certain trends.
Even novice Tableau users would be able to save a significant amount of time, if they
transfer their pre-designed existing Excel dashboards to Tableau.
Uploading new data and updating visuals is more rapid in Tableau.
Therefore, we can agree that a competent analyst needs both Excel and Tableau given that they
serve different purposes.
Tableau is superior when it comes to visuals and dashboards, and Excel is a spreadsheet
tool we need in order to perform multi-layered calculations.
In the same way a combat soldier carries a rifle and a pistol at the same time and uses
them under different circumstances, a business analyst should know how to work with both
Excel and Tableau and apply each of them when needed.
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Tableau vs Excel: When to use Tableau and when to use Excel

102 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on March 9, 2020
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