What is Tableau Software?

Tableau Software was founded in 2003 by co-founders Chris Stolte, Pat Hanrahan, and Christian Chabot. The business concept derived from a computer science project at Stanford University. This project focused on improving the flow of analysis and making data accessible to anyone. Today, Tableau is a fast growing data visualization and data analytics tool that is used in the Business Intelligence Industry. The main purpose of Tableau is to help people easily understand data. Basically, Tableau software converts your raw data into something that is easy to understand. It can be difficult to interpret numbers and statistics, which is why Tableau is such a convenient and useful tool for anyone to use. 

In this article, you will learn about what Tableau is used for, why you should use Tableau, how Tableau works, all about Tableau products suite, Tableau desktop, Tableau reader, Tableau server, and the advantages and benefits of using Tableau Software. 

what is tableau used for

What is Tableau Software Used For? 

As briefly mentioned earlier, Tableau software is a visual analytics platform that transforms the way you see data and use it to solve problems. Today, so many aspects of business are data driven, which is why it is critical that you understand your data. If you cannot understand your own data, how can you expect others to understand what you are talking about? Luckily for you, Tableau is a useful tool that makes it easy for anyone to understand their data. 

Why Tableau Software?

Tableau is the market’s top choice for modern business intelligence. There are more than one million members in the Tableau Community, including over 500 groups around the world. There are so many great things about Tableau. One of the greatest things about Tableau is the fact that anyone can use the tool. For instance, you can be a data analyst, data scientist, teacher, student, executive, or business person. No matter what your occupation is, you will find it easy and convenient to use Tableau software. In general, Tableau is very user friendly. Above all, Tableau puts the users first. 

How Does Tableau Software Work?

The main goal of Tableau is to connect and extract data from all sorts of platforms. For instance, Tableau can pull data from excel, pdf, Oracle, Microsoft Azure SQL database, Google Cloud SQL, Amazon, and a variety of other data sources. 

Once you launch Tableau, the data connectors allow you to easily connect to any database that you could possibly think of. The amount of data connectors you receive depends on which Tableau version you purchased. In other words, different Tableau versions will have a different number of connectors that are supported by Tableau. 

The data that you pull from your various data sources can be live or extracted by Tableau Desktop, which is Tableau’s data engine. You will learn more about Tableau Desktop later in this article. 

Once you pull the data from Tableau Desktop, you can publish the content to the Tableau server. You will learn more about the Tableau server later in this article. 

what is tableau

Tableau Products Suite

The Tableau Product Suite consists of five things: Tableau Desktop, Tableau Public, Tableau Online, and Tableau Reader and Tableau Server. In the following sections, you will learn all about the Tableau Product Suite. 

What is Tableau Desktop?

Tableau Desktop is where the data analysts and data engineers can actually work with the data to develop and create data visualizations. From there, these dashboards are shared with the users through a static file. After the users receive the dashboards, they can view the files through Tableau Reader. One of the great things about Tableau Desktop is the fact that users can code and customize the data reports. 

What is Tableau Public?

Tableau Public is a free tool that allows anyone to publish data to the web. This is not just normal data. On the contrary, this data that will be published is interactive data visualizations. These data visualizations that are published to Tableau Public can be placed in a number of different platforms. Platforms include web pages and blogs, social media, and email. In addition, you can make the data downloadable to other users. You might be thinking dealing with data is intimidating or difficult to do; however, don’t worry about anything.

One of the great things about the Tableau Products Suite is the fact that you do not need to possess any programming skills whatsoever. This means that Tableau Public is available for anyone who is interested in understanding data and sharing their data findings with other people. The only downside to Tableau Public is the fact that you cannot save your workbooks locally. 

tableau reporting

What is Tableau Online?

Tableau Online is a hosted version of Tableau Server in the cloud. You might be wondering, “If Tableau Online is just a version of Tableau Server, then what’s the point of Tableau Online?” Well, the answer is quite simple. Tableau Online is the fastest way to begin your data analytics journey. Analytics and reporting can be difficult and confusing to master; however, you can make the process a million times easier for yourself by using Tableau Online. Tableau Online is also very user-friendly, like the other Tableau Products Suites. Tableau takes care of the behind-the-scenes aspects of data. Therefore, all you have to worry about is simply sharing your data analytics.

Another positive aspect of Tableau Online is the fact that you can easily view your dashboards on your phones, tablets, or other mobile devices. This aspect is very convenient since you will most likely always have your phone with you, versus lugging around your computer 24/7. There are so many other great things about Tableau Online, so these were just a few positive factors

What is Tableau Reader?

Tableau Reader is a free product that allows analysts and content creators to deliver the content that they created in Tableau Desktop. Tableau Reader came before Tableau Server was created. At the time, before Tableau Server came around, Tableau Reader was the only way to share interactive content with users who did not have access to Tableau Desktop. Basically, Tableau Reader allows you to read Tableau files. However, the person that you send the Tableau files to could only open and read the file if they also had Tableau Reader. If the person you are sending the Tableau files to does not have Tableau Reader, you will need to convert the files to a PDF. Fortunately, Tableau Server was invented, making the whole process easier and more convenient for everyone. 

tableau desktop

What is Tableau Server?

Tableau server is an enterprise platform which has a variety of features that are supported. Some features include collaboration, governance, security, automation, and distribution features. In addition, Tableau Server allows users to organize, share, edit, and collaborate on various Tableau dashboards. Unlike Tableau Online, which keeps your data completely on Tableau, Tableau Server allows you to store your data on whatever cloud storage or server you would like. This factor makes it easy to share your Tableau dashboards with users who might not use Tableau. Some benefits of Tableau Server include making it fast and easy to make data-based decisions, being able to send messages to certain people in your dashboard, the convenience of having all of your data in one place and being able to easily customize your data dashboards. 

Advantages of Using Tableau

Now that you know the basics of what Tableau Software consists of, let’s look at the advantages of using Tableau. In other words, let’s look at what makes Tableau such a useful tool and why you should use Tableau in your business today. 

Data Visualization

As mentioned throughout this entire article, the main premise of Tableau Software is to visualize data. So, why is visualization so important? In other words, why do businesses go above and beyond the traditional written, video, and audio data sources and go right for data visualization tools? The answer comes from the fact that people are more likely to remember visual information. Research has found that 65% of people are visual learners. So, by transforming complicated analytical data into something visual, people will have an easier time understanding what the data means. Yes, there are other data visualization companies; however, Tableau is by far the superior tool. There are several functional, appealing dashboards available through Tableau. As a result, your data will be easy to implement into your business. 


Another advantage of using Tableau is its user-friendliness. Data can be quite intimidating to work with; however, if you use Tableau, there is nothing to be afraid of. The tool will walk you through the process step-by-step, making it an easy process. 


No one likes waiting for anything. It’s human nature to be impatient. Luckily for you, Tableau is a highly functional, fast performing tool. No matter how big or small your data set is, Tableau will operate quickly and efficiently, ensuring that you get your data back as soon as possible. 

It would be impossible to name all of the many benefits that Tableau has to offer. So, just know that there are so many positive aspects of implementing Tableau Software into your business model. 

Reach out to SEO Design Chicago today if you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding how to get started with using Tableau to improve your data process, marketing your business better, or anything else concerning your business’ success. 

tableau software

FAQs about Tableau Software: 

  • What is included in the Tableau product suite?
  • How does Tableau software work?
  • Why do companies use Tableau?
  • What are the advantages of Tableau?
  • Who created Tableau and why?

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