Tableau can connect to variety of data sources. It can connect to excel files,relational data bases and many more.
When you launch Tableau desktop on your machine, connect screen opens up. Here you can connect to your desired data source. If you have trial version of Tableau desktop then you can just connect to file based data sources.
With Tableau installation,Tableau provides couple of data sources. You can use these data sources for practice. These data sources are available on your machine in the following location:
\Documents\My Tableau Repository\Datasources. All Tableau related documents are also stored in the same location.
Connecting to data in Tableau
1. Open Tableau desktop
2. From the connect screen, browse and select your data source. For this exercise, I used Tableau’s Sample-Superstore.xls. This datasource comes with the Tableau Desktop installation and located under the Tableau installtion directory – \My Tableau Repository\Datasources
3. Once connected, you will see the connection name on the top and individual sheets in the excel will appear under the Sheets. You can modify the name of the connection.
4. Sheets in excel behave as Tables.You can drag the sheet you want to use in the Drag sheets here section.Preview of the data will be displayed.
I will drag the Orders sheet. From the right side of the screen , you can choose the options to connect to data as Live or Extract. If you want to apply filters to the data, you can do so by choosing the Filters
5. Continue building your dashboard/visualization by clicking on Sheet1 from the bottom
Want to Learn more about handling data in Tableau, visit Data manipulation