How Tableau visualizations can be viewed

Tableau desktop is used to create visualizations in Tableau.

What is Visualization

Visualization means pictorial representation of data. This representation can be in the form of charts,tables,maps and so on. Visualization helps in gaining understanding of the data.

Using Tableau desktop, developer connects to data, preps the data according to the user requirements and creates various visualizations.

These visualizations are created on Worksheets. Each worksheet contain a one specific visualization or chart.

Multiple worksheets are combined to create a Dashboard.

Developer can also create a Story. Story is a combination of multiple dashboards and Worksheets.

Worksheets,Dashboards and Story can be created by using the following icons located at the bottom of your Tableau desktop screen.


How Tableau visualizations are viewed

Once visualizations are created, they can be viewed by business users. Tableau visualizations can be viewed by using

  • Tableau desktop
  • Tableau Reader
  • Tableau Server

If user has Tableau desktop license then he/she can view visualizations using Tableau desktop. Tableau desktop is a designing application, so power users can create more analysis on it.

This option is not good for the novice users.

Tableau Reader is a free download from It is used to view visualizations. Only Tableau twbx (Tableau packaged workbook) can be used to view in Tableau reader.

Tableau twbx files is packaged with the underlying data. This is not a good option, if security is a concern and underlying data should be hidden from the user.

Tableau Server is a central repository to store all Tableau applications. User can view visualizations stored on Tableau server via a url. No installation is required on the user machine.

Tableau server can host twb(Tableau work books) or twbx(Tableau packaged workbook) files. Twb files does not contain data.

Robust security can be applied to the visualizations hosted on the server. There is an option to hide the underlying data from the user. Server also provides options for web edit where users can perform minor edits to the visualizations.


To learn more about this topic and Tableau in general review my books Tableau Dashboards   and Tableau Questions & Answers



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