Chapter 2 Connecting to Your Data

“I think a manager’s world is not black and white. It’s a world filled with uncertainties and dilemmas. The sort of thing that would leave any neophyte moaning, “What the Hell is this.”

Gordon Mackenzie1

It would be nice if all the data you needed to access resided in one place, but it doesn’t. Your data is scattered over multiple databases, text files, spreadsheets, and public services. Tableau’s ability to directly connect to a wide variety of data sources makes it easier to analyze data residing in different places. At the time of this writing, fifty different connectors are available in Tableau for Windows (twenty-two connectors for the Mac version). You can analyze spreadsheets, public data tools, analytic databases, Hadoop, and a large variety of general-purpose databases as well as data cubes.

What You Will Learn in This Chapter

Tableau Software has made the user interaction easier for data connections, joins, and data blending. A new Connect Page persists in the worksheet view that provides easier access to all of your data connections. Joining tables is now a more visual experience, and the new Data Interpreter provides easy tools for dealing with poorly formatted spreadsheet and text file data sources. The Data Interpreter provides a better way to deal with typical spreadsheet problems. Readers of the first edition of this book will find a lot of new content in this chapter.

We start by introducing the Connect Page in the context ...

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