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Tableau - Dimension Vs Measure & Discrete Vs. Continuous Fields

Updated: May 17, 2021

VIDEO - Anytime you connect to a new data source, Tableau assigns each field in the data to either the dimension area or measure area of the data pane depending with the type of data the field contains.

Each field is automatically assigned a data type (such as string, integer, date, etc) and a data role which could one of the following;

  • Discrete dimension or continuous measure (most common)

  • Continuous dimension and discrete measure (less common)

Dimension fields contain qualitative values (e.g. names, dates etc), you can use dimension fields to segment, categorize and reveal the details in your data.

Measure fields on the other hand contain quantitative values that you can measure. By default, when you drag a measure field to your view, Tableau applies an aggregation to that measure.

Discrete and continuous are mathematical terms; discrete fields mean individually separate – usually blue in color and add headers when dragged to the view.

Continuous fields on the other hand mean forming without interruption – usually green in color and add axes when dragged to the view.

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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.

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