How To Work with Tableau Visualizations: The Guide

Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Tableau Visualization

Today, there is so much data at your disposal. Most probably, you have questions about that data. One of the ways to answer those questions is by visualizing the data. Tableau is a popular tool for data visualization. It is liked by many individuals and companies because of its ease of use. 

Tableau Visualization tools allow you to build different types of charts and graphs that you can use to visualize your data. Due to this, most Data Analysts find it difficult to choose the best chart or graph to use. It’s also difficult to choose a chart or graph through a trial and error process.

In this article, we will be discussing the different types of charts and graphs supported by  Tableau Visualization Tools. This will help you learn to choose the best chart or graph based on your needs. 

Table of Contents

What is Tableau?

Tableau logo
Image Source: Tableau

If you are looking for an easy-to-use Business Intelligence software that has the power to visualize data then Tableau is the right choice for you. It is Software as a Service Platform with high collaborative power. Tableau enables all the employees in the organization to understand their data batter, observe trends through various visualizations and make the right decisions.

Tableau’s most loved feature is that it allows you to work online, on desktops, mobiles, laptops, etc. Learn more about Tableau and its usage from their official documentation

Why should you use Tableau?

Business Intelligence processes play a key role in the organization of data which makes it easier to access and analyze the data. The decision-makers can accordingly make an educated decision after digging into the customer data to extract actionable insights. Here are a few benefits of Tableau:

  • Increased Organizational Efficiency: It allows you to benchmark the results against the larger organization through a holistic view of your operations. This lets you discover the areas of opportunity. Since Tableau ensures that you spend less time compiling reports, you can utilize this time to innovate on new programs and products to steer business growth.

    For instance, Pfizer is utilizing BI platforms to work with the different departments and developed models to increase the efficiency of patient diagnosis and devise better ways to undertake clinical trials.
  • Improved Customer Experience: Tableau plays a very important role in affecting customer experience and satisfaction. Here is an example to display its tangible effect. Verizon utilized these BI systems to create over 1000 Dashboards across all of its departments. These Dashboards extracted text data from customer support and data from operations. This data was used by Verizon to identify the areas of improvement which led to a significant cutback on customer support calls by 43%.
  • Improved Employee Satisfaction: Previously, the Data Analysts and IT departments spend a very small amount of their time responding to the requests of business users.

    This has since changed as departments that didn’t have access to their data without the help of Data Analysts, can do so with very little training in Data Analysis. The intuitive user interface encourages the non-technical users to dig into the data leading to greater employee satisfaction.
  • Competitive Edge: The knowledge of one’s position in the market and one’s performance enables an organization to be more competitive. Tableau allows you to keep up with the changes in your industry, correctly anticipate the user needs and accordingly tweak your marketing campaign to align with the user needs.

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It provides a consistent & reliable solution to manage data in real-time and ensures that you always have analysis-ready data in your desired destination. It allows you to focus on key business needs and perform insightful analysis using a BI tool of your choice such as Tableau.

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What is Data Visualization With Tableau?

Tableau Visualization is the visual representation of data for easy and fast processing. The human brain can process visual data better when compared to text data. Tableau is a boon to decision-makers for processing large quantities of data.

You can process the relevance among millions of variables and formulate hypotheses. Tableau Visualisation is an interactive data visualization. This can interact with users and adapt to the changing data.

Importance of Data Visualization With Tableau

Data visualization has become more powerful and improves business intelligence. Here are a few reasons emphasizing the importance of Tableau visualization:

  • Understand things clearly with better insights
  • Predict the future easily and take better decisions
  • Work with large volumes of data at ease
  • Easy to share your thoughts
  • Find the areas of improvement in your business
  • Scalable


You need the following  before diving further into Tableau visualizations:

  • Tableau Desktop or Tableau Server or Tableau Online. 

How to Set up Tableau Visualizations

1)  Tableau Visualizations: Bar Charts

 Tableau Visualizations: Bar Charts
Image Source: Tableau

Bar Charts are one of the most popular data visualizations supported by most BI platforms. With Bar Charts, you can easily know the differences between categories, identify outliers and trends, and know historical lows and highs within a short period of time. Bar Charts are simple yet effective visualizations, especially when your data can be split into categories. 

To generate a Bar Chart using Tableau visualization tools, follow the below-given steps:

  • Step 1: Create a new worksheet. 
  • Step 2: Drag the dimension into “Columns”. 
  • Step 3: Drag the measure into “Rows”. 

By default, the above steps should create a Bar Chart. 

2) Tableau Visualizations: Line Charts

Tableau Visualizations: Line Charts

Image Source: Playfair Data

The Line Chart, also known as the line graph, is another method of visualizing data. It connects many distinct data points, presenting them in the form of one continuous evolution. This gives a straightforward way of presenting value changes in relation to other values. Use a Line Chart when you want to see trends in data over time. 

The following steps can help you to generate a Line Chart using Tableau visualization tools:

  • Step 1: Open a new worksheet. 
  • Step 2: Drag the dimension into “Columns”. For example, Order Date. 
  • Step 3: Drag the measure into “Rows”. For example, Sales. 

This should generate a Line Chart by default. In case the Line Chart doesn’t appear automatically, just open the Marks card and click the “Line” option. 

3)  Tableau Visualizations: Pareto Chart

Tableau Visualizations: Pareto Chart
Image Source: Tableau

A Pareto Chart is made up of a combination of Bar Chart and line graph and a similar measure is used to create graphs but the manipulation of the Measure shelf values is done differently. 

You can use a table calculation to generate a Pareto Chart that shows the accumulation of many categories. The purpose of this Tableau visualization is to show the contribution of members who are available in a field. 

To create a Pareto Chart using Tableau visualization tools, follow the below-given steps:

  • Step 1: Drag the dimension into “Columns”. For example, “Sub-Category”.
  • Step 2: Drag the measure into “Rows”. For example, “Profit”. 
  • Step 3: Click the dropdown button shown on the dimension that you have dragged to the “Columns”. Select the “Sort…” option. A sort window will be opened. 
  • Step 4: Choose “Descending” for sort order. 
  • Step 5: Select “Field” from the “Sort By” drop-down button. 
  • Step 6: Select the field that you added to the chart as the measure. 
  • Step 7: Choose “Sum” for “Aggregation”. 
  • The above steps should give you a Pareto Chart. 
  • Step 8: Again, drag the measure into “Rows”. In this case, it’s “Profit”. 
  • Step 9: Right-click the newly added measure (new Profit) and choose the “Dual Axis” option. This will generate a dotted graph. 
  • Step 10: Go to the Marks card. Choose “SUM(Profit)” from the “marks card” list. 
  • Step 11: Click the drop-down button located below the above and choose “Bar” as the chart type. 
  • Step 12: Choose “SUM(Profit)(2)” from the available list. 
  • Step 13: Select “Line” from the list. 
  • Step 14: Choose “SUM(Profit)” from the right side of rows. 
  • Step 15: Right-click it and choose the “Add Table Calculation” option. 

The Primary Calculation Type window will be opened. Do the following:

  • Step 1: Choose “Running Total” from the Primary Calculation Type drop down. 
  • Step 2: Choose “Sum As Aggregation” from the next drop-down. 
  • Step 3: Choose “Table (Cross)” for the “Compute Using” option. 
  • Step 4: Click the “Add table calculation” checkbox to check it. This will expand the “Secondary Calculation Type” window. Choose “Percent of Total” from the available options. 
  • Step 5: Select “Table (Cross)” for “Compute Using”. 
  • Step 6: Click the Close icon to close the window. 
  • Step 7: Go to “SUM(Profit)”, which is the last marks card. Click the “Color” icon shown on the marks card. Select the color of choice, and this will change the color of the graph. 

4)  Tableau Visualizations: Area Chart

Tableau Visualizations: Area Chart
Image Source: Playfair Data

Area Charts visualize quantitative data over different periods of time. It is simply a line graph in which the area between the line and the axis is filled with color. 

The following steps can help you to create an Area Chart using Tableau visualization tools:

  • Step 1: Open a new worksheet. 
  • Step 2: Press and hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click both the Dimension and the Measure. For example, Order Date and Quantity respectively. 
  • Step 3: Click the “Show Me” option shown at the top right corner of the screen. 
  • Step 4: Click the icon for “Area Chart”. 
  • Step 5: Select a dimension to be used to differentiate different areas from the dimensions pane. Add it to the “Color” icon of the Marks card. 

The above steps will generate an Area Chart. 

Other key charts and graphs in Tableau visualization tools include Histograms, Pie charts, TreeMaps, Scatter plots, Bubble charts, Heat maps, Maps, Bullet charts, Box and Whisker plots, Gantt charts, etc. 

Creating a Dashboard in Tableau

Here are the steps to create a dashboard in Tableau:

  1. Connect to your data– Login using your Google info and choose a data source to connect with Tableau.
  2. Extract the data– Select the dimensions and measures of the data that you want to analyze. Here Dimensions include landing pages, source, location, and the Measures include visits, bounces, exits, page load sample, load time, page views, time on page, unique page visits.
  3. Data visualization with Tableau– You can visualize data using the easy drag and drop method. You can compare data easily and represent them in your preferred method.
  4. Enhance your data– You can enhance your data with aggregation using the calculated fields option in Tableau.
  5. Data Segmentation– Using Tableau you can segment data to fulfill your purpose.
  6. Tableau Visualization– The tableau provides you an option called “Show Me” to get started with your visualizations quickly. You can aggregate your worksheets to form a dashboard.

Tips for Using Tableau Data Visualizations

  • Keep your dashboard clean and simple without any clumsy visualizations.
  • Choose your colors wisely for sensible visualization.
  • Ensure to have clear typography and simple labeling.
  • Utilize the Tableau marks to show more variables.

Benefits and Features of Tableau Visualization

In the field of business intelligence, Tableau is an industry leader. Here are the features of Tableau that are intuitive and powerful:

  • Single click visual analysis: You can analyze data in a logical and easy manner. The data is converted into visualizations in less development time.
  • Direct connection: Tableau helps you to connect the users directly to databases, data warehouses, and other sources of data. Tableau does not require any complicated setup.
  • Interactive dashboard: Tableau provides you with an interactive dashboard that gives results very quickly. All these data visualization dashboards will give you an in-depth knowledge of the data.
  • Deals with big data: Using tableau you can analyze enormous data effortlessly and visualize it better than any other Data Visualization Tools.
  • Easy use: It is very easy to use and reduces unwanted complications. It has a drag and drop interface with a user-friendly environment.
  • Publishing and sharing: The dashboard can be published live on the platform from which the user is accessing it.

Challenges Encountered while Working with Tableau Charts

The following are the challenges that you will encounter when using Tableau Visualizations:

  • Tableau is a good data visualization tool. However, it lacks the capabilities of a typical BI tool. 
  • No version control and collaboration when creating charts and dashboards. 
  • It lacks connectors to some data sources, hence, you can’t pull data directly from such sources for visualization.

Advantages of Tableau Visualization Tools

Here are the advantages of Tableau Visualization tools:

  • Tableau is a very powerful Data Visualization tool.
  • Using Tableau, you can create interactive dashboards at a very high speed.
  • It is really easy to use and smaller learning curve.
  • Tableau has simple data connections across different mediums.
  • Tableau is the best alternative for scripting language access.
  • It comes with a responsive dashboard and strong mobile support.

Downsides of Tableau Visualization Tools

While there are a lot of benefits to Tableau visualization tools, there are also a few downsides.

  • Automatic refreshing of the Tableau dashboard is not possible. You have to manually refresh, or custom coding using API, Javascript, and Python.
  • Tableau tool is not completely open-source.
  • The conditional formatting options available in Tableau are limited to 16 rows.
  • Parameters in Tableau are static in most cases.
  • Tableau Server 8-core costs about $175,000, as well as a cost per user per month.


In this article, You’ve learned the various key charts and graphs provided by Tableau Visualization Tools and also learned how to visualize your data in Tableau using various types of charts and graphs. Perceiving visual data (charts, diagrams, etc ) is easier than looking at thousands of rows of data.

Tableau Visualization tools not only allow you to see your data in the form of diagrams but also color co-ordinate or highlight the important pieces of information that can help you save a lot of time that would otherwise be spent manually trying to identify crucial information and trends. After reading this article you should be able to work with tableau Charts that focus on key business needs.

Carrying out an insightful analysis through visualizations such as Highlight Tables can be challenging especially when you need data from multiple data sources that Tableau does not support, and this is where Hevo comes into the picture. Hevo is a No-code Data Pipeline and has awesome 100+ pre-built integrations that you can choose from. Hevo can help you integrate your data from numerous sources and load them into a destination to analyze real-time data with a BI tool such as Tableau. It will make your life easier and data migration hassle-free. It is user-friendly, reliable, and secure. Check out the pricing details here. Try Hevo by signing up for a 14-day free trial and see the difference!

Nicholas Samuel
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Skilled in freelance writing within the data industry, Nicholas is passionate about unraveling the complexities of data integration and data analysis through informative content for those delving deeper into these subjects.

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