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Tableau Desktop Vs Tableau Public

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

In this video, we explain the difference between the Tableau desktop and Tableau public. In your journey to learning Tableau, you’ll either use Tableau desktop or Tableau public depending with your needs as a user.

Understanding the capability of your tool will inform you on the extend with which you can subject the tool into practice.

One of the obvious difference between the two is; For Tableau desktop one MUST purchase to use unless its (Tableau desktop for student) while Tableau public is a free tool.

But what difference exist in features?

This question can be answered substantially by reviewing some of the features missing in Tableau public (free tool) but are available in Tableau desktop.

Limitation of Tableau public

  1. Connectivity: Unlike Tableau desktop, Tableau public limits you to only locally available data sources e.g. Excel, Text file, TDE (Tableau data extract), Access.

  2. Distribution: Tableau public only saves workbooks in the Tableau public server; you can’t save workbooks locally in your computer.

  3. Automation: Not available; you can’t schedule Tableau public reports on the server.

  4. Security: None – Workbooks published on the Tableau public server are accessible by anyone on the internet. No user level security in the Tableau public server.

  5. Data Limit: Tableau public has a limit of 10 million rows of data that is allowed in any single connection.

  6. Account Space: Each of account holder will be able to save up to 10 gigabytes (GB) of content to Tableau Public


To put it right, the best tool will depend with your needs as a user. For learning purposes Tableau public will give you a quick start at zero cost. However, when you need to tap the full power of Tableau for your consultancy works or highly sensitive data, Tableau desktop is the right way to go.

Thank you for reading.

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About Me

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Bernard K

Analytics Consultant | 3X Tableau Certified

Bernard is a data analytics consultant helping businesses reveal the true power of their data and bring clarity to their reporting dashboards. He loves building things and sharing knowledge on how to build dashboards that drive better outcomes.

Let’s discuss your data challenges! Let’s work together!

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