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Tableau Cheat Sheet

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Tableau is one of the hottest tools for data visualizations and data interpretation. Having a handy reference, containing all the basics of Tableau Desktop will only make your work easier, faster and spare you some time while working with Tableau.
Keeping that in mind, we, at Intellipaat have come up with this tableau desktop Cheat Sheet for you to make your experience with Tableau even better.

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This cheat sheet has been designed, assuming that you have a basic idea about what is Tableau and why is it used. This cheat sheet will provide you with all the basics of the Tableau desktop that you need to know to get started with Tableau

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Tableau Desktop basics

Data Sources:

Tableau connects to all popular types of data sources, you can perform management tasks on the data sources:

File Systems CSV, Excel, etc.
Relational Systems Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, etc.
Cloud Systems Windows Azure, Google BigQuery, etc.
Other Sources ODBC

Data Extract:

Extracts of tableau data are compressed snapshots of the data. You can use these extracts to employ a tableau functionality that is not available or supported in the original data.

  • Extraction of data is done by following:
Menu → Data → Extract Data.
  • Applying Extract Filters to create a subset of data.
Data →Extract Data →Filter →select from the list
  • To add more data for an already created extract:
Data → Extract → Append Data from File
  • Extract History:
Menu - Data → Extract History

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Data Joining:

Sometimes you will need to join data from different sources or tables in order to perform data analysis tasks. Tableau also provides the following data joining functionalities:

  • Creating a Join


  • Editing a Join Type


  • Editing Join Fields

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Data Blending:

Tableau also provides data blending functionality. You can use this feature if you find that there is related data in different data sources and you want to analyze all that related data together in a single view

  • Preparing Data for Blending


  • Adding Secondary Data Source


  • Blending the Data


Tableau has a few operators as well. Operators are used to performing logical or mathematical manipulations. In the tableau, these operators help to create calculated fields and formulae.

  • General Operators
  • Arithmetic Operators
  • Relational Operators
  • Logical Operators

LOD Expressions:

Tableau introduced a level of detail expressions or LOD expressions. LOD gives even more control over data on the data source level

    • Fixed LOD
    • Include LOD 
    • Exclude LOD


You can also perform sorting on your data in Tableau using the following two ways of sorting:

  • Computed Sorting: Directly applied on an axis using the sort dialog button.
  • Manual Sorting: Rearrange the order of dimension fields by dragging them next to each other.


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As discussed above, you can use filters in your extracted data, mainly to restrict the number of records you want to work on. There are multiple filters available in Tableau based on the type of purpose of these filters

Types Work
  • Filter Dimensions
  • Filter Measures
  • Filter Dates
  • Single Value (List)
  • Single Value (Dropdown)
  • Multiple Values (List)
  • Multiple Values (Dropdown)
  • Multiple Values (Custom List)
  • Single Value (Slider)
  • Wildcard Match
  • Applied on the dimension fields.
  • Applied on the measure fields.
  • Applied on the date fields.
  • Select one value at a time in a list.
  • Select a single value in a drop-down list.
  • Select one or more values in a list.
  • Select one or more values in a drop-down list.
  • Search and select one or more values.
  • Drag a horizontal slider to select a single value.
  • Select values containing the specified characters.

Learn about various types of filters in Tableau that help to present actionable and insightful data to clients or stakeholders.

Tableau Charts:

In Tableau, you can create different interactive visuals for data interpretation. Following is the list of Tableau charts along with their description:

Type Description
Text Table (Crosstab) To see your data in rows and columns.
Heat Map Just like Crosstab, but it uses size and color as visual cues to describe the data.
Highlight Table Just like Excel table, but the cells here are colored.
Symbol Map Visualize and highlight geographical data.
Filled Map Color filled geographical data visualization.
Pie Chart Represents data as slices of a circle with different sizes and colors.
Horizontal Bar Chart Represents data in horizontal bars, visually digestible.
Stacked Bar Chart Visualize data of a category having sub-categories.
Side-by-Side Bar Chart Side by side comparison of data, vertical representation.
Treemap Similar to a heat map, but the boxes are grouped by items that are close in hierarchy.
Circle View Shows the different values that are within the categories.
Side-by-Side Circle View fields) Combination of Circle view and Side-by-Side Bar Chart
Line Chart (Continuous) Several number of lines in the view to show continuous flow of data, must have a date.
Line Chart (Discrete) This allows slicing and dicing of the graph, graph not continuous.
Dual Line Chart Comparing two measures over a period.
Scatter Plot Scatter plot shows many points scattered in the Cartesian plane
Histogram A histogram represents the frequencies of values of a variable bucketed into ranges
Gantt Chart It illustrates a project schedule.
Bullet Graph Two bars drawn upon one another to indicate their individual values at the same position in the graph
Waterfall Chart It shows where a value starts, ends and how it gets there incrementally

Download a Printable PDF of this Cheat Sheet

That would be all for this tableau Desktop cheat sheet. If you are interested in data analysis and business intelligence then learning Tableau is a smart choice for you. Check out the Tableau training and certification provided by Intellipaat where you will get to learn data visualizations and building tableau dashboards and prepare yourself for the industry by going through this top Tableau Interview Questions and Answers! In this Tableau certification training, you will also learn Tableau desktop and public integration with R & Big data. You can reach out to us in case you have any queries and we will be there to help you with that, at no extra cost!

Also, check out our Tableau Desktop Shortcuts Handbook.

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