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The following topics will be covered in this tutorial:

How to Download and Install Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public?

There are two points to consider here:

  • Tableau Public is free.
  • Tableau Desktop is available only for commercial use.

Now, let us take a look at the difference between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public.

Tableau Desktop Tableau Public
Cost The personal edition is priced at $35 per month; the professional edition is priced at $70 per month. Tableau Public is available for free and is open source.
Users Tableau Desktop is used at both professional and personal levels. Tableau Public is used mostly at a personal level.
Data Extraction It is possible to extract data from various data sources and store files as Tableau extract files. It is not possible to extract data from various data sources as the sources are limited to a few categories.
Data Visualization Security Data visualizations are properly secured. Data visualizations are not fully secured.
Publishing Publishing can be done on Tableau Server as well as Tableau Online. Publishing can only be done on Tableau Public profile.

Downloading and Installing Tableau Public

1- Visit the URL on your web browser. Once the window opens, enter your email id when asked, and click on the “Download the App” button.

Installing Tableau Public

2- The file will start downloading in “.exe” format. You can view the download progress on the bottom-left corner of the tab.

3- Once the progress is 100 percent, open the file. Accept the terms and conditions by selecting the checklist boxes and click on the “Install” button.

Welcome to Tableau

4- Once the installation is complete, open Tableau and start the screen of Tableau Public as shown below.

Tableau Public Start Screen

Downloading and Installing Tableau Desktop

1- Enter this URL on your web browser.

2- Click on the “TRY NOW” button in the top-right corner of the website as shown below.

Try Now

3-  Once you click on the “TRY NOW” button, you will be redirected to a page that will ask you to feed in your official email address. After filling in the email address, click on the “DOWNLOAD FREE TRIAL” button.

Tableau desktop

4- The latest version of Tableau Desktop will start downloading, and you will be able to view the download progress in the bottom-left corner of the screen.

5- Once downloaded, open the file. Accept the terms and conditions, and click on the “Install” button.

Welcome to tableau


6- A pop-up option will appear asking for the approval of the administrator to install the software. Click on “YES” to approve and move further.

7- On approval, the installation will start. On the completion of the installation, open Tableau.

8- This is the final stage that asks for registration. Click on “Activate Tableau” and enter your license details or credentials.

9- Click on “Start Trial Now” and wait for the registration process to complete.

10- Once it is completed, open the Tableau screen as shown below.

Tableau screen

Introduction to Tableau Desktop Software Workspace and Navigation

1- To open the Tableau Workspace, go to File in the Start window and click on “New.” The Tableau Workspace looks like the following screenshot.

Introduction to Tableau Desktop Software Workspace and Navigation

Description of the Tableau Workspace

Now, let us understand the individual sections of the Tableau Workspace:

  • Menu Bar: It is the topmost bar; it contains File, Data, Worksheet, Dashboard, Story, Analysis, Map, Format, Server, Window, and Help. These options include features such as data exporting, file saving, etc.
  • Toolbar: The tab present just below the Menu Bar is the Toolbar. It is basically used for editing the workbook and consists of various options such as view, undo, redo, slideshow, text edit, etc.
  • Dimension Shelf: The dimensions involved in the data sources can be viewed in the dimension shelf.
  • Marks Card: The options in the marks card are used to design the visualizations in the Tableau workspace.
  • Measures Shelf: All measures that are present in the data source can be viewed in the Measures Shelf.
  • Sets and Parameters Shelf: All user-defined sets and parameters can be viewed on this shelf. The existing sets and parameters can also be edited with the help of the options.
  • Tableau Repository: Tableau Repository is usually located in the file path C:\Users\User\Documents\My Tableau Repository. The repository is used to store all Tableau files; the repository is segregated into various folders such as Bookmarks, Connectors, Logs, Data Sources, etc.

Tableau Navigation

The following image shows what Tableau navigation looks like:


Now, let us look at the individual sections of Tableau navigation:

  • Data Source: It is typically used for either the addition of a new data source or the modification of an existing source.
  • Current Sheet: In the image, what you see as “Sheet 1” refers to the current sheet. All sheets and dashboards in the current workbook can be viewed here.
  • New Sheet: The first squared box with a “+” sign refers to this option. It is used for creating new worksheets in Tableau Desktop.
  • New Dashboard: The second squared box with a “+” sign refers to this option. This icon is used to create a new dashboard in Tableau Workbook.
  • New Story: The third squared box with a “+” sign refers to this option. This icon is also used to create a new storyboard in the Tableau workbook.

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Where to Find the Product Key to Install Tableau Public and Tableau Desktop?

Firstly, the product key is not always required. For example, no product key is required if you have Tableau Online. However, if you are using Tableau Desktop without Tableau Online, you need to have a product key.

We will discuss about finding the product key in two different situations:

a)- Finding the Product Key to Install Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public as a First-time User

b)- Finding the Product Key to Install Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public as an Existing User

Finding Product Key to Install Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public as a First-time User

1)- Open the Customer Portal page on the Tableau website and sign in using your email address and password; these credentials are shared with you when you purchase the product.

2)- Once the “Welcome to the Customer Portal” page opens, click on “Licenses.”

3)- A table will open listing the product key assigned to you, if any. Refer to the “Key Name” column to copy the product key. Keep this key ready for future use.

Finding the Product Key to Install Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public as an Existing User

1)- Open the existing version of Tableau Desktop or Tableau Prep Builder.

2)- From the menu displayed at the top, click on Help > Manage Product Keys.

3)- A table will open. Copy your product key from the “Product Key” column. Save and secure this key for future use.

Installing the Product

The steps to download and install both Tableau Public and Tableau Desktop have already been discussed in this tutorial.

Activating and Registering your Product

1- After the installation process is complete, open the product. This will launch the “Tableau Registration” for registering and activating the product.

2- Fill in the details asked in the registration form and finally click on “Activate Tableau.”

3- Select either of the following options:

  • Activate with a product key
  • Activate by signing into a server

4- If you are using a product key, paste the product key (copied earlier) and click on “Activate.”

5- If you are using login-based license management, enter the URL for your server and click on “Connect.”

Activate your Product Offline

1- For activating the product offline, open the Activate Tableau dialog. Click on “Activate with a product key.”

2- Enter the product key and click on “Activate.”

3- A pop-up will appear saying that the file will be available for offline use. Click on “Save.”

4- Save the file at the desired location.

5- Click on “Exit.”

6- Go to the Activation page via your web browser.

7- Follow the instructions for completing the offline activation.

Changing Default Settings

Like any other software, when installed, Tableau too makes some default settings such as display language and repository location. These default settings can be changed after installation and setup. You can refer to Change installation settings after installation to make the desired changes in the default settings.

Change your My Tableau Repository Location (Optional)

As already mentioned above, the default settings in the Tableau Repository Location can be changed. During the installation, a default location is chosen by Tableau as the repository location. To move this repository location to your desired location, follow these steps:

1- Open Tableau

Open Tableau

2- Go to the top menu and select “File”

select File

3- Select the “Repository Location” and then open “Select repository folder”

Repository Location

4- Choose the desired location or folder

desired location or folder

5- Finally, restart Tableau to use the new repository


As discussed in this tutorial, downloading and installing Tableau Desktop is pretty easy to work with. Once you’ve got Tableau Desktop installed on your system, you can start the process of working with huge amounts of data. But, thanks to Tableau, this task will be made much simpler for you.

You can visualize huge amounts of data in graphs and charts. This makes Data Analytics simpler, and the process less time-consuming.

You took the first of installing Tableau. Now, it’s time to take another step in learning Tableau properly. Enroll now in Tableau Training.

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