Tableau – Data manipulation

Before data can be used in the visualizations, it is a best practice to prepare the data so that it can be meaningful.

Preparing data includes but not limited to the following:-

  • Giving user friendly names to dimensions and measures.

To give user friendly names to any data element, right click on the data element, select rename and change the name of the field



  • Converting dimensions to measures and vice versa.

Dimensions store the descriptive information and measures stores the quantitative information. Dimensions are used to slice and dice the data.

When data connection is created, Tableau segregates the data automatically between dimension and measures. If you want to change any dimension to measure or measure to dimension that can be done very easily by moving a measure to the dimension section and vice versa.

In the below screen, OrderID is placed in the measure section by Tableau but it is a dimension. We will simply select OrderID in the measure section and drag it to dimension section.


  • Hierarchies – Relational databases don’t have built in hierarchies but relational databases have related dimensions that have inherent hierarchy.

Hierarchy are created by simply dragging and dropping the fields in the data window.

(a) Select a field and drag and drop it on the top of another field.


(b) When prompted, type the name of the hierarchy


(c) Drag and drop any number of fields required in the hierarchy

(d) You can order fields within your hierarchy. Product Hierarchy is now ready


After data preparation, are you ready to create some charts, Tableau provides a wide range of charts. Learn how to create different charts in tableau.

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