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Getting Your Data Ready with Tableau Prep

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

Getting started with Tableau prep

Tableau prep comprises of two products; Tableau builder and Tableau conductor. Tableau prep builder helps you quickly combine, shape and clean data for analysis (building flows) while Tableau prep conductor helps you schedule, monitor and manage flow across your organization.

With Tableau prep, data preparation becomes much simpler and visual. Meaning you can easily track and evaluate the impact of the actions undertaken while preparing data. While being able to reuse the same flows for future data prep tasks.

This brief article explores some of data prep tasks you can perform in Tableau prep.

Out of the box data prep tasks you can perform in Tableau prep

Join data

Data joining is the method of combining tables related by a common field. This example shows how to combine two tables (A & B ) using the common field ‘Id’.

Joining data in Tableau prep

Union data

Data union is simply appending values (rows) to tables. And results to a virtue table with same columns but extends vertically due to the added data. To union data, subject tables MUST be of the same structure (same columns).

This example demonstrates how you can union data in Tableau prep.

Union data in Tableau prep

Pivot data

Pivoting data is the process of transposing data from a cross-tab format into a columnar format for quick analysis.

Pivot data in Tableau prep

Split fields into multiple fields

Sometimes data can contain multiple information in the same column. To perform analysis based on one of the single item of the multiple information, you can split such fields using the right separator.

This example shows how to split the field ‘Customer Name’ into ‘First name’ and ‘Last name’ respectively for a case where your analysis is based on customer’s first name only.

Split data fields in Tableau prep

Change data types

All fields in a data source have a data type. Data type reflects the kind of information stored in that field. And each data type is represented by a unique icon. In Tableau prep, you can change the data type as shown below.

Changing data types in tableau prep

Data interpreter

After connecting to data, if Tableau prep detects sub-tables in your data, you’ll be presented with the option to turn on data interpreter. The data interpreter will draw out sub-tables and exclude any extraneous information.

This example shows how to use data interpreter in Tableau prep.

Using tableau data interpreter in tableau prep

Group data

Grouping is helpful when you need to combine related data in a field. It can also be used for data correction (e.g. Combining Africa, Afrika & Afric into one data point).

In this example, grouping is used to combine ‘Africa’, ‘Afrika’ and ‘afric’ into a single data point named ‘Africa’.

Grouping data in tableau prep

Clean data (trimming spaces, removing punctuations, numbers & letters)

Simple data cleaning tasks such as trimming spaces and removing punctuations and numbers can be executed as shown below;

Trimming spaces in tableau prep

Rename fields

Renaming fields in Tableau prep.

Renaming fields in tableau prep

Aggregate data

Data is analyzed at many different levels of granularity. Sometimes, your data prep tasks demand that you aggregate data before combining it with another data at a certain level.

This example shows how to aggregate data by SUM(Sales) at State level.

aggregate data in tableau prep

These are some of tasks you can perform in Tableau prep. More features such as filtering data, creating calculated fields, running scripts and various options for exporting data (Tableau data extract or CSV) are available for you.

If this was helpful to you and you would like to receive more of these Tableau prep tips and tricks. Kindly subscribe to our emailing list.

Thank you for reading.


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About Me

More About the Author

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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