Tableau Data Visualization

What is Data Visualization in Tableau?

The use of data to create visually appealing graphs that can be understood at a glance is called data visualization. The Tableau Data Visualization tool is not only used for its aesthetic purposes but also to view multiple features by simply hovering over the graphs to get insights into multiple features embedded in the graph.

Tableau is one of the most popular data visualization tools due to its user-friendly interface. It provides tools for users to customize their data, ranging from selecting the type of graph appropriate for their data to the ability to customize the colors of the graphs to their preference. See this simple data visualization example to see the amount of sales made in each state.

Tableau Visualization - Intro

For this, a view between the number of sales and the different states in the US is used to see the number of sales in each state. Tableau also provides ways to automatically sort the data to create a graph that is descending in order.

Key Takeaways
  • Tableau offers a wide range of chart types including bar charts, line charts, scatter plots, histograms, pie charts, maps, and more.
  • Users can create interactive dashboards by combining multiple visualizations onto a single canvas.
  • Tableau can connect to various data sources such as databases, spreadsheets, cloud services, and web data connectors, allowing users to visualize data from diverse sources.
  • Tableau’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create visualizations without requiring complex coding or scripting. This helps users to follow the Tableau Data Visualization best practices.
  • Users can customize visualizations by adjusting colors, fonts, labels, tooltips, and other properties to match their preferences or branding requirements.

How to use data visualization in Tableau?

Follow this step-by-step Tableau Data Visualization tutorial, as shown.

Step 1: For a data visualization to be made, you need a Tableau workbook. 

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 1

Open the application by clicking on “File” and select “New” to open a new workbook in Tableau.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 1 - New

It will open a new workbook, where you can add sheets and dashboards by selecting it at the bottom of the application.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 1 - Add sheets

Step 2: Connect the workbook to a data source by clicking on “Ctrl+D” or “New Data Source.” Below the “To a File,” select the file type of your dataset. Here, “Microsoft Excel” is chosen.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 2

It will open your local storage, where you can navigate to where the dataset is and select it. Here, the Sample-Superstore dataset is used.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 2 - Folder

The preview of the dataset will be shown, from where you can go to “Sheet1” to start with your Data Visualization.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 2 - Sheet1

Step 3: Go to the sheet to start with your visualizations.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 3

Step 4: Place the feature “Order Date” and press on the “+” icon in the feature to expand till Month(Order Date).

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 4

Right-click on the other features and select “Remove” to delete them from the “Columns” component.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 4 - Remove

Do that until only the “Month” of the Order Date is left.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 4 - Month

Step 5: Right-click on the “Order Date” and select “Continuous.”

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 5

Step 6: Place “Profit” in the “Rows” component.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 6

Step 7: Press “Ctrl” and then left-click on the “Profit” feature to duplicate it.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 7

Step 8: In the second “Profit” visualization, select the graph type as “Circle.”

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 8

Step 9: Adjust the size of the circles by clicking on “Size” in the “Marks” tab and adjusting the slider to your desire.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 9

Step 10: Right-click on the “Profit” feature in the “Rows” tab and click “Dual Axis.”

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 10

Step 11: Right-click on the vertical axes and select “Synchronize Axis.”

Tableau Visualization - Use - Step 11

It makes it so that the range of both the vertical axes that have been combined will be the same, avoiding visual confusion due to different/truncated ranges.

The resulting visualization was made using the Tableau Data visualization tool.

Tableau Visualization - Use - Result

Tableau Data Visualizations – Charts, Tooltips, Maps

Tableau provides a plethora of data visualization types. Some of the Tableau Data visualization tools include Charts, Tooltips, and Maps, which will be explained in detail.


These are the simplest data visualization techniques. These constitute the basis of what data visualization is. Some of the most popular chart types are:

  • Bar Chart

When you need to compare and contrast categorical data, you can use bar charts to do so.

Tableau Visualization - Charts - Bar chart
  • Line Chart

Provides changes in numerical data in a continuous format using lines.

Tableau Visualization - Charts - Line Chart
  • Pie Chart

It can be used to represent parts of a whole in a circle.

Tableau Visualization - Charts - Pie Chart
  • Scatter Plot

It can be used to show the difference between two numerical variables.

Tableau Visualization - Charts - Scatter Plot
  • Heatmaps

Show the change in data density via color intensities.

Tableau Visualization - Charts - Heat Map
  • Gantt Charts

It is used to view the timelines and schedules seamlessly.

Tableau Visualization - Charts - Gantt Chart


These are used in visualizations to add more context/details to a graph. This use case is most popular when you want to view multiple attributes without coming up with an asterisk (*) for more than one value. Tooltips can be used to build relations between two worksheets in Tableau. In this way, they can enhance data visualizations in Tableau.

Tableau Visualization - Tooltips
Tableau Visualization - Tooltips - filter


The best way to perform data visualization with data, including regions, is a Map in Tableau. With an API from OpenStreetMap, Tableau can offer a variety of maps using various visualizations that can be made with the additional benefit of being beneficial and easy to understand. Tableau supports many map layers, including streets, satellite imagery, and custom layers. Maps can be enriched with contextual data, such as population density, weather patterns, or business locations, to uncover spatial insights.

Tableau Visualization - Maps

Map visualization depicting the path of different storms across Asia.

Tableau Visualization - Maps - Visual

The amount of sales in every state in the US.

Tableau Data Visualizations – Formatting, Colors

The key features of data visualization in Tableau are the plethora of visualization tools available and the ability to customize the charts to your preferences. It makes Tableau one of the most popular data visualization tools out there, along with Power BI.


There are many ways in which you can format your visualizations. Some of these formatting types are:

  • Axis Formatting

With axis, Tableau gives you the ability to merge two axes, synchronize their values and change/remove the axis labels to suit the analyst’s purposes.

Example for “Dual Axis”.

Formatting - Axis
  • Text Formatting

Expanding on the previous point, you can customize the text of your data, align it to your preference, format the font size, font type, and so much more.

Tableau Visualization - Formatting - Text
Formatting - Text - measure values
  • Borders and Grid Lines

You can add or remove Grid Lines from your data visualization. You can also change their colors to your preference.

Here, the grid lines are removed by setting everything to “None,” as shown.

Formatting - Borders
  • Backgrounds

You have many options to customize the background of the visualization. It can range from adding a different color to removing other countries from a map.

It is done by right-clicking on the visualization and selecting “Background Layers.”


In the “Background Layers,” use washout to remove the other countries from the map except for the country you’re analyzing. Change the style from “Light” to “Dark”. You can also choose to add or delete other background layers.

background layers


In Tableau, there are a variety of ways you can change the default color scheme. 

  • Color Palettes

Select a variety of color palettes available in Tableau. You can also create custom palettes.

Suppose you want to change the visualization colors, which you can change in the “Marks” tab.

Color Palettes

Another way to change the Tableau Data Visualization colors is to use filters and separate them by color. You can create custom palettes by clicking on the color bars as shown.

Color - color bars
Tableau Visualization - Color - edit color
Tableau Visualization - Color - select color
  • Color Transparency

You can change the intensity and transparency of the colors in your visualization by adjusting the slider to your needs.

Color - Transparency
  • Color Consistency

While formatting the colors in Tableau, you must consider the level of accessibility these visualizations should have. Your visualizations must be friendly and inclusive to those suffering from color blindness of any level.

  • Color Selection

Explore the plethora of color combinations available in Tableau. It does not include the filters that are available to work on.

Tableau Visualization - Color Palettes

Parameters and Calculated Fields in Tableau

These are used to manipulate values and, to a lesser extent, the visualizations in Tableau. Both Parameters and Calculated Fields have different use cases.

  • Parameters

These are used to create dynamic inputs with which you can create filters, change aggregations and also adjust thresholds.

To create a parameter, click on the arrow button and select “Create Parameter.”

Tableau Visualization - Parameters - create

Customize the “Parameter” field to your needs.

Tableau Visualization - Parameters - Customize

Once created, these can be used by clicking on them and selecting “Show Parameter.”

Tableau Visualization - Parameters - Show parameter

Their usage can be further customized by using calculated fields.

Tableau Visualization - Parameters - calculated field

These can be used to create sliders to customize the density of the graph.

Tableau Visualization - Parameters - Sliders
  • Calculated Fields

These are custom fields created by users to manipulate the data-on-data visualizations. These can be created similarly to the Parameters field and used for various purposes, from default table calculations to custom categories.

They also support complex calculations, including mathematical operations, string manipulations, date calculations, logical comparisons, and level of detail (LOD) expressions.

To create one, click on the arrow and select “Calculated Field”.

Tableau Visualization - Calculated Fields

Then, write the calculations of your need.

Tableau Visualization - Calculated Fields - write

Analytics in Tableau Data Visualizations (Forecasting, Clustering)

The primary reason for Tableau’s popularity is its ability to conduct seamless analytics with little to no help from the user. These analytics play a huge role in Tableau data visualization. You can create forecasts for sales and also cluster. 


Forecasting in Tableau involves predicting future trends or values based on historical data using statistical models. Users can configure forecasting options such as the forecast period and confidence intervals to fine-tune the forecasting model.

Tableau generates forecasted values and confidence intervals, which are displayed alongside historical data in visualizations such as line charts, allowing users to assess the accuracy and reliability of the forecasts. Go to the “Analytics” tab and select “Trend Line” and “Forecast”.

Tableau Visualization - Forecasting

It creates a cash-flow forecast.

Tableau Visualization - Forecasting - cash-flow forecast


Based on common features, data points can be clustered under a class/group. These similarities are calculated using Machine Learning algorithms. Tableau supports many Machine Learning algorithms such as K-Means, Hierarchical Agglomerative clustering, density-based clustering, and so on.

You can create clusters by going to the “Analytics” tab and dragging and dropping “Clusters” to the sheet.


The easiest is to create density-based clusters.

Tableau Visualization - Clustering - density clusters

Creating Dashboards in Tableau

It is straightforward and user-friendly to create Dashboards in Tableau. By combining the required worksheets, you can create highly interactive dashboards. It means that to create a dashboard in Tableau, a prerequisite is to have multiple worksheets with data visualizations in hand.

Tableau Visualization - Dashboard

Creating a dashboard is easy. You can create new dashboards by clicking on the bottom next to new sheets.

Tableau Visualization - Dashboard - new

After connecting the dataset to this workbook, you can create worksheets with your visualizations in them. Select the worksheets you want displayed in the Dashboard.

Tableau Visualization - Dashboard - sheet

You can change their sizes by changing the dimensions of the Dashboard, and also make all the sheets as “Floating” to give more customization capabilities.

Dashboard - Floating

From this, you can see how user-friendly and easy it is to create dashboards.

Important Things To Note

  • Ensure a thorough understanding of the data you are visualizing, including its context, quality, and limitations.
  • Tailor your visualizations to your audience’s needs, preferences, and level of expertise to ensure maximum comprehension and engagement.
  • Select the most appropriate chart types and visualization techniques that effectively communicate your message and highlight insights from the data.
  • Avoid distorting or misrepresenting data through misleading visualizations, inappropriate scaling, or selective use of statistics that may lead to misinterpretation.
  • Minimize unnecessary chart elements such as gridlines, backgrounds, or 3D effects that do not contribute to understanding the data and may detract from the clarity of the visualization.
  • Always provide transparency about the data sources, methodologies, and assumptions underlying the visualizations to ensure trust and credibility with the audience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I customize data visualizations in Tableau?

Yes, you can customize Data Visualizations in Tableau in many ways. Some of these are shown below.

Example: Changing the size of the graph.

FAQ 1 - size
Example: Changing the type of graph visualization.

FAQ 1 - Graph

2. How can I share Tableau data visualizations with others?

There are multiple ways by which you can share the data visualizations in Tableau. Here are some ways you can do it. To do this, you need to save the data to Tableau Public (it saves in the Public server if you save your progress). Then, log in to your account in Tableau Public and click on the “Share Button”.

FAQ 2 - Share

You will get an option to embed it as an HTML link if you want to embed a Tableau Data Visualization to your website or you’ll get a link to share the visualization with anyone who has access to the link.

FAQ 2 - share code

3. How can I optimize performance for large-scale data visualizations in Tableau?

Here are a few ways by which you can optimize performance for large-scale visualizations in Tableau.

• Simplify data connections by removing unnecessary joins or blending only essential data sources.
• Limit data extracts to include only the necessary fields, reducing the size of the data extract and improving performance.
• Optimize data source filters to minimize the amount of data processed, particularly for large datasets.
• Aggregate data at the source whenever possible to reduce the volume of data transferred to Tableau and improve query performance.
• Reduce the number of marks displayed in visualizations by using aggregated measures or filters to focus on essential data points.

4. Can I create animated data visualizations in Tableau?

With the recent introduction of “Viz Animations” in Tableau, you can now create animated Data Visualizations with a story of your choice to make the visualizations more dynamic. To enable it, go to “Format” in a workbook and select “Animations”.

FAQ 4 - Animation

Customize the animations to your preference by editing them in the tab.

FAQ 4 - Customize Animate

Download Template

This article must be helpful to understand the Tableau Data Visualization, with its formula and examples. You can download the template here to use it instantly.

This has been a guide to Tableau Data Visualization. Here we learn how to create dashboard with visualization tools, Analytics, parameters and points to remember. You can learn more from the following articles –

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