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Communicating Data with Tableau by Ben Jones

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Chapter 2. Introduction to Tableau

“We help people see and understand data.”

Tableau Software mission statement

Tableau software helps people communicate data through an innovation called VizQL, a visual query language that converts drag-and-drop actions into data queries, allowing users to quickly find and share insights in their data. The version of Tableau available at the time of writing is Tableau 8.

The goal of this chapter is to help you understand the different types of Tableau software, the basic user interface, how Tableau deals with data, and how data can be visualized in a variety of different ways. If you are already an intermediate Tableau user, you may want to skip this chapter and move on to Chapter 3.

Using Tableau

With Tableau, “data workers” first connect to data stored in files, cubes, databases, warehouses, Hadoop technologies, and even some cloud sources like Google Analytics. They then interact with the Tableau user interface to simultaneously query the data and view the results in charts, graphs, and maps that can be arranged together on dashboards. When it’s time to communicate key insights, there are a variety of options depending on the product being used, from sending files to embedding interactive visualizations online to sharing via social media.

Tableau facilitates the data discovery process (finding insights in data) as well as the data communication process (creating explanatory graphics, exploratory dashboards, and data storytelling) with no programming ...

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