Tableau is an easy-to-use Business Intelligence mechanism for data visualization. It employs data as an essential functional component. We also need to comprehend all the underlying segments of Tableau. It includes how we can manage, extract, filter, merge, etc. data and different data types in Tableau. Thus, tableau lets users connect to databases, files, and other significant data sources. 

What is Tableau?

Tableau is the most prominent and influential data visualization and business intelligence device. Moreover, it enables users to develop interactive dashboards, reports, and charts to interpret and illustrate data visually. With a user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop functionality, Tableau simplifies data investigation and enables deeper understanding. 

Thus, it supports varied data sources and offers cutting-edge features like data blending, calculations, and forecasting. Consequently, Tableau’s involuntary visualizations support businesses in discovering trends, patterns, and correlations. Thus, it empowers organizations to make data-oriented resolutions. Additionally, Tableau helps users use data to its full potential. Therefore, it enhances understanding, communication, and collaboration among the team members. 


Data types in Tableau

Tableau Features

Tableau provides resolutions for diverse enterprises, units, and data environments. Here are some unique features enabling Tableau to address various scenarios.

Speed Analysis

As it does not demand a high level of programming expertise, any user with access to data can use it to derive value from it.

Self Reliant

Tableau does not need a complicated software configuration. Therefore, the desktop version most users use is sufficient and contains all the attributes required for data analysis.

Visual Discovery

The user uses visual tools like colors, charts, trend lines, and graphs to analyze the data. We can document the script minimally as we can accomplish all the tasks through drag and drop.

Blend Diverse Data Sets

Additionally, Tableau qualifies you to combine various relational, semi-structured, and raw data sources in real-time without costly up-front integration expenses. Also, the users can use the knowledge of data storage.

Architecture Agnostic

Tableau works in devices where data is available. Hence, users need not worry about precise hardware or software prerequisites to use Tableau.

Real-time Collaboration

Tableau can manipulate data on the fly. It can also embed a live dashboard in portals like SharePoint or Salesforce. Moreover, you can preserve your view of data. Thus, it helps authorize team members to subscribe to the interactive dashboards to view the latest data by restoring their browsers.

Centralized Data

Tableau server equips a centralized spot to handle the organization’s published data sources. Eventually, you can delete, manage schedules, add tags, and change permissions in a suitable location. Thus, administrators can centrally specify a schedule for server extracts.

Different Data Types in Tableau

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A data type classifies the given data into various kinds. Thus, the seven data types in Tableau are:

  1. String Values
  2. Date Values
  3. Date and Time Values
  4. Numerical Values
  5. Boolean Values Geographic Values
  6. Cluster Group

String Data Types in Tableau

The string data type consists of zero or more characters or text data type. Also, a string data type contains the characters in a single or double quote. Moreover, they can have any text, from names and descriptions to labels. Finally, Tableau makes sorting, filtering, and interpreting information effortlessly.

We can use String values in the following ways:

  1. Alphanumeric Power: Strings can handle letters and numbers simultaneously. Hence, it’s perfect for mixing text and numerals in one field.
  2. Sorting and Filtering: Alphabetical or traditional sorting and filters help you concentrate on specific string data elements.
  3. Concatenation Magic: Merge multiple strings. Thus, it helps merge information or create new variables.
  4. Formatting Flexibility: Customize font styles, sizes, and colors. Thus, it improves text visualizations.

We can further divide the String data type in the following ways:

  1. Char string type – Char data type usually has alphanumeric data values maintaining fixed or predefined lengths. If the string value exceeds the fixed or predefined size of the Char data type, then the system shows an error.
  2. Varchar string type– Varchar data type also has alphanumeric data values. It means variable character. As the name suggests, Varchar stores data values with variable lengths. Thus, the string value can be of any size without system restriction. 

Date and Time Data Types in Tableau

Tableau can function with various date and time formats like dd-mm-yy, mm-dd-yyyy, etc. The time data values are year, quarter, month, hour, minute, and second. Tableau automatically classifies the data and time values under Date data type and Date & Time data value when tabulating the data and time values.

Date values are, thus, committed to managing calendar-based information. They can vary from simple dates to elaborate time and date blends, suggesting flexibility for different analytical requirements.

We can use the data and time data type in the following ways:

  1. Precision Analysis: To analyze events accurately, convert the data into hours, minutes, or seconds.
  2. Combined Temporal Insights: Merge date and time values and enhance the precision of data in investigation.
  3. Time-Series Visualizations: Use time-series visualizations to emphasize trends and practices in a specific duration.

Numerical Data Types in Tableau

The figures in the tables indicate the numerical data type. Basically,these values are the basis of quantitative analysis. Thus, it means giving details about volume transitions and associations between data sets.

We can use numerical values as follows:

  1. Quantitative Analysis: Use numbers to execute quantitative analysis and unveil practices, tendencies, and discrepancies in the data.
  2. Aggregation and Summation: We can use the aggregation functions for summations, averages, and, also, for other numerical calculations.
  3. Comparative Analysis: Compare numeral values across measurements or types to determine critical insights and outliers.

Numeric data types are of two types:

  1. Integer type: These are whole values without any fractions. Generally, most numeric fields are of integer type.  
  2. Floating Point type: These values contain a fraction. Floating types can be used with ease in calculation after rounding them. Also, it can store numbers up to a specific limit.

Boolean Data Types in Tableau

Boolean values in Tableau represent binary data. Thus, they describe a field that can be true or false. Moreover, boolean values originated as an outcome of relational computations. We use 1 or 0 to represent boolean values. A relational calculation also results in an unknown output, a NULL value. Thus, a boolean data type is perfect for scenarios where we can classify the data into two results.

We can use a boolean data type in the below ways:

  1. Categorical Filtering: Boolean values filter data based on distinct prerequisites, thus authorizing focused analysis of subsets.
  2. Logical Calculations: Use Boolean logic to develop calculated fields to derive new insights based on logical requirements.
  3. Binary Grouping: Use Boolean values to classify data into binary types, streamlining the representation of dichotomous details.

Geographic Data Types in Tableau

Geographic data values are those values used in maps. Additionally, a globe icon denotes these data types. Thus, it contains the country name, state name, city, region, postal code, etc. It also connects each value with latitude and longitude values.

The geographic data type also helps to plot maps, create heat maps, perform spatial analysis, and conduct geospatial visualizations. Therefore, this data type is beneficial in scenarios where comprehending the geographic distribution of data is vital.

We use geographic values as follows:

  1. Mapping Data Points: Plot data points on maps to display the geographical spread of details.
  2. Spatial Aggregation: Perform regional analysis by applying geographic measurements offering regional trends and patterns.
  3. Custom Geocoding: Tableau is entitled to custom geocoding, which means users can map locations without standard geographical information.

Cluster Group/Mixed Values in Tableau

The field often does not have a single data type but contains a mixed one. Thus, the data types are named cluster groups or mixed data values. These values can develop complications during data analysis. However, Tableau cannot handle such data. Users can also manually control them by designing a separate column that does not have mixed values. A cluster group is a pack of identical data points. Tableau’s cluster attribute automatically segregates similar data points to aid in spotting trends and outliers.

Cluster groups are used as follows:

  1. Automatic Sorting: The cluster attribute sorts groups of similar data points without manual effort.
  2. Spotting Trends: Identify trends or uncommon items in the data by examining the automatically formed cluster groups.
  3. Visual Representation: Tableau displays these cluster groups visually, making them simple to comprehend and include in your charts.

Explore Tailored Learning Paths

Enrol in Henry Harvin’s Tableau Training to learn more. It’s a 32-hour Two-way Live Online Interactive session. In addition, Henry Harvin offers a one-year Gold Membership of Analytics  Academy, including e-learning access. Subsequently, skills covered in the course are data filtering and sorting, calculations and expressions of data, building graphs, data visualization, and integrating tableau and R programming.

Moreover, this program, led by industry experts with 10+ years of experience, offers valuable perks. These include Alumni status, guaranteed internships, weekly job opportunities, and live projects. In addition, it’s a comprehensive package that ensures practical skills and continuous support for professional growth.


In conclusion, comprehending data types in Tableau is essential for effective data visualization and analysis. Users can confirm precision and consistency in their visualizations by conquering these data types. With the proper knowledge of data types, Tableau users can use the full potential of their data and make informed decisions.  Additionally, identifying the role of distinct and continuous fields allows data analysis and interpretation precisely. As we can manipulate data types within Tableau, users can tailor their visualizations to specific analytical needs. Overall, mastering data types in Tableau enhances the ability to communicate complex information visually and drive informed decision-making.

Recommended Reads

  1. Top 50 Tableau Interview Questions and Answers
  2. Power BI vs Tableau: The Better Choice To Go With in 2024
  3. Top 12 Tableau Books To Enhance Your Visualization Skills 
  4. Scope and Salary of Tableau Developer in India
  5. What is Tableau? Its Uses and Applications
  6. 10 Best Tableau Certification Courses in India: 2024

Frequently Asked Questions  

Q.1 How many data types can one work with in Tableau?

Ans. Tableau supports seven elementary data types:

  • String values
  • Number/integer values
  • Date values
  • Date & time values
  • Boolean values
  • Geographic values
  • Cluster or mixed values

Q.2 What type of data can Tableau use?

Ans. Tableau is versatile and can relate to various data sources, including:

  • Databases
  • Files
  • Big data sources
  • Cloud-based platforms such as Google Cloud, Amazon Redshift

Q.3 Mention the different sources we use to import data in Tableau.

Ans. Tableau permits importing data from various sources, such as:

  • Spreadsheets
  • SQL databases
  • Cloud-based platforms (e.g., Google Cloud, Amazon Redshift)
  • Web data connectors

Q.4 What different types of visualizations can be made using Tableau?

Ans.Tableau presents a wide range of visualizations, including:

  • Bar charts
  • Line charts
  • Scatter plots
  • Heat maps
  • Geographic maps
  • Treemaps
  • Pie charts
  • Gantt charts, and more.

Q.5 Why should one choose Tableau?

Ans. Various conventional BI tools have hardware constraints. Tableau does not have any dependencies. Tableau is user-friendly and straightforward to understand. Users can work with multiple data sources.

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