Chapter 58. Five Tips for Creating Efficient Workbooks

One of the most common questions I receive from new Tableau users is, “How much data can Tableau handle?” Further, I commonly undertake Tableau engagements with the exclusive goal of making workbooks run more efficiently. Tableau is capable of handling extremely large datasets, and the software only becomes more powerful with each new release.

That being said, providing an answer on how much data Tableau can handle is a tricky question, and that’s because “big data” is a relative term. Whenever a new field is placed on a view, Tableau queries the underlying data to visualize the answer. This works much like when a database query language like SQL is used to ask questions of a database. For this reason, the efficiency can depend on many factors, including not only the number of records, but the processing power of the hardware, the complexity of calculations, the type of data, and so on.

I won’t go deep into technical details and optimizations in this chapter, but give five tips anyone can use to make Tableau workbooks run more efficiently. While Tableau likely won’t crash on you when dealing with a large dataset, the time it takes your visualization to load should be considered as a measure of good user experience.

Credit: It’s hard to pick just five Tableau efficiency tips, but the following was prioritized in part because of this great Tableau post: “6 Tips to Make Your Dashboards More Performant” by Nicholas Hara.

Five ...

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