What is Tableau? What are the different Tableau Products?

Tableau is the best intelligence tools for business and data visualization. Gartner Research , officially known as Gartner, Inc. which is a global research and advisory firm providing insights, advice, and tools for leaders in IT, Finance, HR, Customer Service across the world, positioned Tableau for 5 consecutive years, as the highest Business Intelligence platform.

It is one of the hottest Visualization tools that companies are using today, the ease of use and straight forward process makes it one of the easier to learn as well. The demand in current market is great for this tool and mastery of it can get you jobs well over 60$ an hour in some states. Average earning per Indeed.com is about $96,000

Read more about the earnings of Tableau Developer here


Tableau can be divided into 2 Product Families -

  • Development Tools - The Tableau tools that are used for development such as the creation of dashboards, charts, report generation, visualization fall into this category. The Tableau products, under this category, are the Tableau Desktop and the Tableau Public.
  • Sharing Tools - the purpose of the tools is sharing the visualizations, reports, dashboards that were created using the developer tools. Products that fall into this category are Tableau Online, Server, and Reader

Below is detailed information about the tools that Tableau has under its belt currently.

  • Tableau Desktop
  • Tableau Public
  • Tableau Server
  • Tableau Reader
  • Tableau Online
  • Tableau Prep



  1. Tableau Desktop:

Tableau Desktop is a business intelligence and data visualization tool that can be used by anyone. It specializes in transforming boring tabulated data (spreadsheets in excel) into easy to understand graphs. With Tableau Desktop, you can enjoy real-time data analytics by directly connecting to data from your data warehouse. You can easily import your data into Tableau’s data engine from multiple sources and integrate them by combining multiple views into an interactive dashboard with abilities to filter and forecast future sales.

  1. Tableau Public:

Tableau Public is a free software which is designed to enable to you to make visualizations just like Tableau Desktop.  It is an ideal way for beginners to practice with the tool as well hobbyists and bloggers to create and share interactive visualizations on the web.

It is a Tableau version specifically build for cost-effective users. By the word "public," it means that the workbooks created cannot be stored and distributed privately and internally, in turn, it needs to be saved to the Tableau Public cloud which would be viewed and accessed by people in the Tableau community. There's no privacy to the documents stored to the cloud considering that anybody can download and access the data.

  1. Tableau Server:

If you produce a large number of workbooks that have to be updated regularly or you have a large number of people consuming your work, Tableau Server will save you time. You can distribute dashboards with Tableau Desktop and offer them all through the association with online Tableau Server. It uses quick databases through live associations.

The software is specifically used to share the workbooks, visualizations which are created within the Tableau Desktop utility across the enterprise. To use dashboards inside the “Tableau Server”, you should first publish your dashboards in the Tableau Desktop to the server. Once the work has been uploaded to the server, it will be available only to the certified users. Once the required login credentials are input by the consumer, they would be then able to access the dashboards, through an internet browser. The safety is the best in Tableau Server, and it is a good deal applicable for quick and sharing of dashboards in an organization. An administrator is usually assigned and will usually have complete control over the server. An administrator is able to create sites, groups and assign permissions.

  1. Tableau Reader:

This is another FREE software provided by Tableau. This application empowers you to open and view dashboards that are designed in Tableau Desktop. You can channel, drill down information, however you can't alter or modify the reports in any way. It is similar to Adobe PDF Reader, it allows you to view the designed reports.

Tableau also permits you to share content with another Tableau Desktop tool. It is good practice to have the data store in the .twbx or as a Packaged Workbook.  Tableau Reader is a free version that allows users to consume Tableau Desktop reports without the need for a paid license. The only requirement is that the Tableau report is saved as a packaged workbook.

  1. Tableau Online:

Tableau Online (Released in 2013) is another cloud-based information sharing environment (managed by Tableau Software) that provides data security without the need for installing any software or managing hardware. Your data is stored in a secure environment managed by Tableau Software. To start using Tableau Online just requires signing-up for the service and assigning access to your users based on your security needs.

Tableau offers a cloud-based option called Tableau Online. This service provides a low cost alternative to sharing workbooks with licensed users of the service. Tableau Server is a self-managed solution that can be maintained inside or outside of your organization’s firewall. Workbooks are published to Tableau Online or Tableau Server. People consuming the workbooks are granted access to them by a designated administrator that controls security.

There's are non-restrictions on the records that can be published within the Tableau online. Tableau online creates a right away hyperlink to over facts assets which might be hosted inside the cloud inclusive of the MySQL, hive, amazon aurora, spark sq.

  1. Tableau Prep

Tableau Prep is the visual, direct and intelligent solution with which you can clean your data and give them the appropriate form for analysis. Preparing the data for the analysis is usually a manual task, which is time-consuming and, in fact, quite tedious. Tableau Prep helps you prepare data in the same way that Tableau Desktop does in the analysis. Prepare your data quickly and reliably. Better understand your data to improve your analyzes. Prepare your data with Tableau Prep.

The design of Tableau Prep is based on three coordinated views. The first is a data grid that displays row-level data. The second one is a profile panel that allows you to see the profiles of each column. Finally, it includes a flow panel to understand the complete process of data preparation. Select the view with which you want to interact according to the task in question. Since these views are coordinated, when you make changes to the profile panel, they are immediately reflected in the flow pane and the data grid. This visual and direct experience makes it easier to check the impact of the changes. In addition, you can be more certain that the final data is correct.

Differences between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public

Tableau Public, is a freeware provided by Tableau. It enables you to utilize most of the product functions. You can make dashboards and connect your data from sources like CSVs, Text and Microsoft Excel reports. In any case, the biggest contrast is that Tableau Public does not enable you to share your work locally. You need to share them on the openly which implies that everybody can see your information since it's saved on the cloud.

Tableau Desktop, work area offers all the full highlights of software, Your work can be shared locally. This condition permits you the associate with various document types, control the information sources and share your Tableau work locally and openly. You won't almost certainly have an immediate association with a database or web and programming APIs.

Another difference is that you can connect to many data sources in Tableau Desktop but only some sources like Excel, Access, Text in  Tableau Public.

The chart below explains the best software or route you should take depending on your needs.