Tableau vs Excel: Different Approaches to Data and Information
Data analysis, statistical operations, and business intelligence are fundamental for all businesses. And to properly manage and work with raw data, a specific data visualization tool is essential.
These specific data analytics programs will help you take the best of all the information related to the company you work for, giving useful insights into the problems your organizations face, the best future steps, or some critical decisions. Two of the best programs you can use for that are the giant and well-known Microsoft Excel and the recent prodigy data visualization program, Tableau.
But, for those who have already heard of both, the question may arise: Which is the best for me and my company? Thinking about that, RoyalCDKeys prepared a complete guide with a head-to-head comparison, showing you the big differences between two preferred data analysis programs.
Besides some features with the same functionalities, both programs have considerable key differences. That’s why we must understand what exactly each spreadsheet software is, hence this in-depth comparison.
What is Tableau Software
To begin the detailed comparison, the first thing we must clarify is that Tableau is a Business Intelligence tool and data visualization software. As such, most of its features focus on making it the best data visualization tool you could ask for. It will be great for identifying patterns, organizing geographical data, organizing information from different data sources, and many other things but don’t do much more than the most basic calculations. It is perfect for non-technical users.
For the majority of all companies, this business intelligence software may become what differentiates a great business analyst from the average in the market. Tableau grows to become one of the world's most popular business intelligence tools.
What is Tableau's Big Deal?
The best thing about Tableau is that it gives independence to data scientists, facilitating the work with information. Complex studies demanded IT personnel to work with data analysts to filter big raw data into structured data from which they can take all the information they need. All of that changed with Tableau.
What is Microsoft Excel
Now we get to the giant of data analysis, Excel. It is a Microsoft licensed software that is a part of the Microsoft Office suite and is sold alongside many other well-known programs, such as Word, PowerPoint, and many others.
Excel is the most famous data analysis and, as a consequence, data visualization software available in the market. It is an essential part of practically all PCs, no matter if they are used for personal or business purposes.
Note that great performance with Excel is not that easy to reach. To properly get original data and turn it into the well-known charts we are used to, you will need programming abilities and basic visual knowledge. Excel isn’t like other visualization tools.
Today, Excel performs the same function that Tableau does, even though it is not fully automated, unlike the analyzed competitor. This doesn’t mean Excel spreadsheets have no importance or use and that their technical knowledge is no longer necessary.
Why Will Excel Be Always at The Top?
Visualization and pattern identifications are not the only things data science is about. There are many other things data scientists need to know to take the best advantage of their data sources. Things like data manipulation, multi-layered calculations, the application of custom formulas, and the realization of other multiple operations are also fundamental. And this is where Excel shines.
Tableau and Excel Features
Now, since we have already established the main difference between Excel and Tableau, it is time to start looking into some of the features that make data analysts love both Excel and Tableau. No matter which you choose, you will soon see that the software offers interesting possibilities to end the most common big data problems.
But, another important thing you may end up discovering is that there is no need to face both Tableau and Excel as competitors. You can use Excel to work and develop your data and then upload it to Tableau to better visualize them. That way, Tableau enhances Excel data. After all, nothing’s better than a visualization program to improve a data analytics spreadsheet tool.
First, we’ll show you some of the features Tableau offers that make it a great program before making business decisions. You will see how most of them will be directly related to data visualization tools and user-friendliness.
It is impossible to begin with something else than Data Visualization possibilities. Tableau goes far beyond spreadsheets in tabular format with cells. It presents multiple visualizations, data blending features, and several descriptive statistics.
Some of the best projects made on it show several things, such as Napoleon’s march through Russia with geographical location and many other things. Other projects show USA demographic information, government investments by area, and even Disney Movie Dialogs. All of that is through different types of graphics and data visualization.
A feature that is easily related to visualization as well as all the chart possibilities. Tableau goes far beyond the column chart, giving the option to create several types of charts, such as pizza charts and others. This is perfect for analyzing information from multiple data sources.
Many of the data you may end up analyzing come from different external sources and, as such, these resources can be displayed in several types of charts. This feature makes it far easier for us to mix information from many sources.
Tableau users probably know how time-consuming working with Excel and other programs for data analysis can be. But the problem is solved as Tableau saves a lot of time because, from the very beginning of the upload process, it starts to show patterns and trending possibilities that you must keep an eye on with the interactive dashboards.
If the software takes all the tabular format information and does the online analytical processing, your data analysts will end-up saving a lot of time. This feature becomes even better regarding big data representation.
Besides all the visualization features, Tableau also distinguishes itself by having an extremely user-friendly interface. Tableau Desktop software is intuitive and ensures a good learning curve with its interactive dashboards.
Differently from what happens in Tableau, Excel features are not related to visualization but data transformations. The Excel spreadsheet tool is perfect for data science. With it, any user with good knowledge of the software can do several things, such as:
- ad hoc data management,
- perform multi-layered calculations,
- create custom formulas,
- organize complex scripting,
- build pivot tables in large volumes, taking your data points from any data source for the most descriptive analysis.
Formulas and Macros
Far beyond visual reports other third-party tools such as Tableau can make, major factors still make Excel a great tool. The first is the possibility of creating macros and using formulas of any format and size. This extremely important feature is the key to the entire process of gathering new data and transforming it into complete reports.
It’s so important that the feature has only been improved in the subsequent versions of Excel making it crucial data science software, even though it can be considered a static tool, where you must load, work on, and then prepare a large volume of presentations.
Other Tools That Make Excel Perfect for Report Creation
Excel will never be as easy as Tableau. It demands certain knowledge and even some coding skills. Besides the formulas and macros already mentioned, the spreadsheet application has several other features that other software lacks, making the industry experts even more into Excel. Some of these functions and advantages of Excel are:
- Grouping Cells: It allows you to group rows and columns with parent and child records.
- Pivot Tables: Give us the ability to summarize data following pre-established parameters to improve a presentation and highlight specific information from raw data.
- Filtering: Excel gives the ability to filter specific data for any need.
- Conditional Formatting: Excel allows us to format specific data based on our established criteria.
- Spelling Check: The program has correct spelling features to help us avoid mistakes.
- Safety: Excel provides us with Workbook, Worksheet, and VBA protection.
Not That Easy to Use But Easy to Learn
You can see how flexible Excel can be in terms of reporting creation and data structuring. But another big difference we can state in the Tableau vs Excel comparison is how easy it is for you to find good content teaching you how to use the two tools.
As Excel’s been at the top of the market for decades, you can easily find tutorial videos or a free course teaching you how to work with Excel files. That way, you will reach your full potential, understanding the MS tool usage in all aspects until it gets extremely intuitive.
Tableau vs Excel: Price Comparison
Both Excel and Tableau services can be used for free for a small period of free trial time. But, after that, the only way to keep using and exploring the program's functions and resources will be by purchasing the paid version. That way, the user will need to buy access to a specific plan.
When you search for the available plans on the Tableau official site, you will be prompted to contact the sales team. Still, you can find the price of each plan when you explore the internet, even though we can’t assure the numbers will match when you contact the Tableau team.
That said, you can find six different plan levels on its fully hosted or on-premise/public cloud version. Each of these six has different prices and differences in usage. The plans and pricing are:
- Tableau Viewer (On-Premise or Public Cloud) at $12.00 per user per month.
- Tableau Viewer (Fully Hosted) at $15.00 per user per month.
- Tableau Explorer (On-Premise or Public Cloud) at $35.00 per user per month.
- Tableau Explorer (Fully Hosted) at $42.00 per user per month.
- Tableau Creator (For Individuals) at $70.00 per user per month.
- Tableau Creator (Fully Hosted) at $70.00 per user per month.
Excel price is related to the Office suite directly, even though you can get it alone. Microsoft has several different plans, depending on the level or reason you want to buy it. But, basically, they can be divided into:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic (For Business) at $5.00 per user per month.
- Microsoft 365 Personal (For Home) at $5.83 per month.
- Microsoft 365 Apps for business at $8.25 per user per month.
- Microsoft 365 Family (For Home) at $8.33 per month.
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard (For Business) at $12.50 per user per month.
- Office Home & Student 2021 (For Home) at $149.99.
With a Microsoft plan, you receive far more than just a data analysis program in the form of Excel. You will get access to several other very useful programs that will be important for the growth of your business. Word, PowerPoint, OneDrive, and Outlook are some examples of the applications you will have at your disposal. This means that, in terms of value over price, practically no other products stand a chance against Microsoft.
You already know how important tools like Excel can be for your business development but also how expensive the plans can become when bought through Microsoft or a traditional retail store. If you are worried about how much Excel will cost, you should know that you can get Office Keys, including Excel and all of the traditional Office applications, for a fraction of the official prices with RoyalCDKeys.
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What is the Best Solution for Your Business?
As you can see, we didn’t bother to bring direct comparisons of similar features of Excel and Tableau. That’s because the programs' best usage models differ completely, even though they have considerable similarities to the point they can be considered competitors.
We prefer to say they are complementary and work best when used together. That way, recommend you not to choose one but go for both. Use Excel and all of its features to develop your so-wanted reports, transfer them to Tableau, and enjoy its possibilities to study the results of your work with Excel. By doing that, you will have the best both platforms have to offer.
You already know the key differences between Tableau and Excel. Besides that, we hope we helped you understand the best way to use each program and how they can work together to boost the results of your company with the analysis of the most descriptive statistics.
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