Feature-wise Comparison of Tableau with Python, Power BI, and Excel

Tableau is a data visualization and analysis tool which is popular among the data science community.

For better understanding, differences between Tableau and other similar tools are provided below.



Mainly for visualizations & creating dashboards

Spreadsheet tool mainly for calculations

Can handle Big data

Small data

Can connect to Python & R




Data visualization tool

Programming language for Data Analytics and visualization

For basic use, programming is not needed

Simple programming language


Microsoft Power BI

Can handle Big data

Small data

Slightly difficult


Features of Tableau

  • It helps to develop visualizations

  • It allow user to work with large volume of data

  • It is widely used in business where making data driven decisions are more common

  • It helps to create dashboards

  • It can extract data from various sources including cloud

    Some of the Tableau products

    Tableau Desktop

    Largely used for business intelligence

    • Visualizing large data

    • For creating Worksheets,dashboard and stories on files/server which can be shared

    Tableau Prep

    Tool designed to prepare data - for data cleaning before performing analysis

    Tableau Server

    Used to publish works prepared using Tableau desktop

    Tableau online

    Analytics platform fully hosted on cloud

    • Dashboards can be published and shared with anyone

    • Dashboards are accessible on browser and mobile app

    File types in Tableau

    Tableau workbook(.twb)

    • Stores visualization but not source data

    Tableau data source(.tds)

    • Stores all information required to access a datasource in server

    Tableau bookmark(.tbm)

    • Tableau workbook is connected to worksheet in another tableau workbook

    Tableau extract(.tde)

    • On a large dataset, if aggregate calculation is done for a filtered subset then this file type stores data as filtered and aggregated extract

    Tableau packaged workbook(.twbx)

    • Keeps both extracted data and visualisations

    • Hence, this file type is used when it is necessary to share both data and visualisations

    • Visualizations can be viewed in Tableau reader/Tableau online