- The below video shows some of the interaction features, such as pop-up windows (using the new Show/Hide Container functionality in version 2019.2) to change filters and configuration, loading interactive visualisations either within the dashboard or externally in Tableau Public and switching the method used to size the circles on the main chart.
- This is Tableau’s free version. If you don’t have a paid subscription for Tableau, this is an excellent alternative. You can practice with most of the program’s functionalities and you don’t have to pay Tableau’s annual fee. So, it is up to you – you can either use Tableau Public for free or pay for Tableau’s desktop version.
With all the data that is now available, more powerful tools are needed to make more sense of it. Tableau Public provides some of the most powerful visualization tools available today, and it’s free to use with public data.
Tableau offers the Public version which is a free product ideal for personal level use. We can discuss the various limitations of this versions further in the blog. Another factor that makes the Public edition or any Tableau product so appealing is that no programming is required to produce the vizzes. Tableau Prep Builder in the browser allows you to prep your data from wherever you have access to a browser, bringing the data prep process into one integrated platform on the web. No need to manage individual desktops, IT admins can now upgrade the server to get everyone in the organization on the latest version.
It’s Not Tableau-As-A-Service
Tableau’s approach to data visualization on the web is unique in its technical implementation. Rather than offering a web-based client (which would be quite a challenge), they provide a free, downloadable version (Windows only) of their desktop software with some limitations. This means that you are working with full-blown Tableau on your own machine, providing fast interaction and tons of features.
There are some more limitations in this version of Tableau, but they make sense in the context of the uses that Tableau Public is meant for. The program only talks to Tableau’s servers, storing the data on what Tableau calls the “public web” (as opposed to an intranet, presumably) for the world to see. You can only import from CSV/TSV, Access, or Excel files, and data size is limited to 100,000 data points. The latter is a bit of a bummer, because you might want to use Tableau to filter the data before showing less than 100k items. But it’s not a huge limitation, and a lot of public datasets are well below this number of records. Your storage on Tableau’s servers is also limited to 50MB, so it makes sense to filter your data before importing it.
Is Tableau Public Free
The Tableau Way of Visualizing Data
For people used to Excel and most other tools that can create charts and visualizations, working with Tableau means letting go of some habits. Tableau knows the type of your data, and it uses that knowledge to construct what it considers the best views. In fact, perhaps the most effective use of Tableau is selecting a few dimensions of interest and hitting the Show Me! button. The program then offers a few alternatives, each of which is going to be a good representation of the data.
For people used to picking the type of chart first, this comes as a bit of a shock. But once you get used to it, it’s a very efficient way of working. The focus is on analyzing data, rather than constructing the perfect view by hand. The visualization becomes a means to an end, not the end in itself.
If you have a very specific idea what the view should look like, this can be frustrating. But with a bit of practice, it is usually possible to make Tableau create a good approximation of that. For full creative control, you should look at Protovis or something similar, though.
In addition to bar and line charts, scatterplots, bullet graphs, and variations of those, Tableau can create small multiples plots and some of the best maps you will find anywhere (and, fortunately, no choropleth maps). Using sheet links, views can talk to each other, which is especially useful for dashboards (which collect views from several sheets). With the addition of highly configurable filters, it is possible to construct complex, interactive visualizations.
Compared To …
Tableau Public Previous Versions
The great strength of Tableau Public when compared to Many Eyes and others is its ability to create visualizations consisting of multiple, linked views (which they call dashboards). This makes it possible to link different views (like maps, etc.) together and letting the user pick subsets of the data she is interested in. Tableau has very powerful tools for filtering and selecting data that provide quite a bit of flexibility in creating very effective views of the data.
Almost all visualization-as-a-service websites also require the user to pick the visualization first, rather than being able to suggest it based on the data selection. Like with Excel, this leads to many terrible choices that do not fit the data well. People who are willing to accept Tableau’s help will end up creating much more useful and better-designed visualizations.
All the features and talk about public data aside, this is a genius marketing move for Tableau. While it’s probably the biggest success story in visualization, it is still rather obscure by the standards of Excel et al. Getting an unlimited free trial into the hands of thousands of people will raise awareness among people who are interested in analyzing data, while at the same time training them in its use.
Investing in the development, server space, etc., should pay off for Tableau in terms of sales, but also for all of us in terms of getting a seriously powerful visualization tool out into the world for everybody to use.
|Founded||Mountain View, California, U.S. (2003)|
|Founders||Christian Chabot |
Damon Fletcher (CFO)
Andrew Beers (CTO)
|Revenue||US$1.2 billion (2018)|
|4,181 (May 2019)|
Tableau Software (/tæbˈloʊ/tab-LOH) is an American interactive data visualizationsoftware company focused on business intelligence. It was founded in 2003 in Mountain View, California, and is currently headquartered in Seattle, Washington. In 2019 the company was acquired by Salesforce for $15.7 billion. CNBC reported that this acquisition is the largest acquisition by Salesforce, which is considered the strongest in the CRM field, since its foundation. 
The company's founders, Christian Chabot, Pat Hanrahan and Chris Stolte, were researchers at the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University. They specialized in visualization techniques for exploring and analyzing relational databases and data cubes, and started the company as a commercial outlet for research at Stanford from 1999 to 2002.
Tableau products query relational databases, online analytical processing cubes, cloud databases, and spreadsheets to generate graph-type data visualizations. The software can also extract, store, and retrieve data from an in-memory data engine.
Tableau products include:
- Tableau Desktop
- Tableau Server
- Tableau Online
- Tableau Prep Builder (Released in 2018)
- Tableau Vizable (Consumer data visualization mobile app released in 2015)
- Tableau Public (free to use)
- Tableau Reader (free to use)
- Tableau Mobile
- Tableau CRM
Tableau has a mapping functionality, and is able to plot latitude and longitude coordinates and connect to spatial files like Esri Shapefiles, KML, and GeoJSON to display custom geography. The built-in geo-coding allows for administrative places (country, state/province, county/district), postal codes, US Congressional Districts, US CBSA/MSA, Area Codes, Airports, and European Union statistical areas (NUTS codes) to be mapped automatically. Geographies can be grouped to create custom territories or custom geocoding used to extend existing geographic roles in the product.
Download Tableau Public Latest Version
Tableau was founded in January 2003 by Pat Hanrahan, Christian Chabot, and Chris Stolte, and moved its headquarters to the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, the following year. The company has since expanded its Fremont headquarters and announced plans in 2016 for an auxiliary campus in suburban Kirkland, Washington. A new headquarters building opened near Gas Works Park in Wallingford in March 2017 and was followed by a new building in Fremont that opened in 2018.
In August 2016, Tableau announced the appointment of Adam Selipsky as president and CEO, effective September 16, 2016, replacing co-founder Christian Chabot as CEO.
In June 2018, Tableau acquired Empirical Systems, a Cambridge, Massachusetts based artificial intelligence startup, with plans to integrate the company's technology into the Tableau platform. Tableau also announced plans to establish an office in Cambridge as a result of the deal.
On June 10, 2019, Tableau was acquired by Salesforce in an all-stock deal worth over $15 billion.
On May 17, 2013, Tableau launched an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, raising more than $250 million. Prior to its IPO, Tableau raised over $45 million in venture capital investment from investors such as the NEA and Meritech.
The company's 2013 revenue reached $232.44 million, an 82% growth over 2012's $128 million. In 2010, Tableau reported revenue of $34.2 million. That figure grew to $62.4 million in 2011 and $127.7 million in 2012. Profit during the same periods came to $2.7 million, $3.4 million, and $1.6 million, respectively.
Wikileaks and policy changes
On December 2, 2010, Tableau deleted WikiLeaks's visualizations about the United States diplomatic cables leak, stating it was due to direct political pressure from US Senator Joe Lieberman.
On February 21, 2011, Tableau posted an updated data policy. The accompanying blog post cited the two main changes as (1) creating a formal complaint process and (2) using freedom of speech as a guiding principle. In addition, the post announced the creation of an advisory board to help the company navigate future situations that 'push the boundaries' of the policy. Tableau likened the new policy to the model set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and opined that under the new policy, Wikileaks' visuals would not have been removed, as 'the underlying data were statistics about the cables, not the cables themselves'.
In 2008, Tableau was named a Codie award winner for 'Best Business Intelligence Solution' by the Software and Information Industry Association. The company was recognized as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for seven consecutive years between 2012 and 2019.
More than 690 companies, including Amazon, are using Tableau.
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