Tableau desktop vs Tableau online: What’s the difference?

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Ashutosh

Last Updated

May 25, 2023

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As we discussed in our previous articles, Tableau is a powerful data visualization and analysis software that enables users to create interactive visualizations, reports, and dashboards from various data sources. It is used widely in industries such as finance, healthcare, marketing, and more. Tableau is available in two different versions: Tableau Desktop and Tableau Online. In this blog post, we'll know the differences between these two versions and will compare Tableau Desktop and Tableau Online, including their respective features, pricing, etc which one is better suited for your needs.

What is a Tableau desktop?

Tableau Desktop is a desktop-based version of the software that is installed locally on your computer. It provides a user-friendly interface that allows users to create interactive visualizations, reports, and dashboards by dragging and dropping data onto the canvas. Tableau Desktop supports a wide range of data sources, including spreadsheets, databases, and cloud-based services. It also provides advanced features such as calculated fields, table calculations, and data blending. Users can save their work locally or publish it to Tableau Server or Tableau Online.

What is Tableau online?

Tableau Online is a cloud-based version of the software that allows users to access and share their Tableau visualizations, reports, and dashboards from anywhere with an internet connection. It provides the same features and functionality as Tableau Desktop, with the added benefit of being able to collaborate with other users in real time. Users can connect to various data sources and perform advanced data analysis using features like calculated fields and table calculations. Tableau Online also provides a range of sharing options, including embedding dashboards in websites and sharing them via email.

Tableau Desktop and Tableau Online are two versions of Tableau software that enable users to create interactive visualizations, reports, and dashboards from various data sources. While they share many features and functionality, there are some key differences between them. In this section, we will compare Tableau Desktop and Tableau Online in detail.

Here is a detailed comparison of Tableau Desktop and Tableau Online across various aspects:

 

Aspect Tableau Desktop Tableau Online
Cost One-time license fees range from a few hundred to thousands The monthly or annual subscription fee ranges from $12 to $70 per user
Data Security Data is stored locally, the user has full control over the security Data is stored in the cloud, and may not be suitable for sensitive data
Accessibility Desktop-based, accessible only on the installed computer Cloud-based, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection
Collaboration Limited collaboration, not real-time Real-time collaboration, easy to share and work with others
Customization Full customization options are available Limited customization options are available
Performance Faster processing on desktop computers Slower processing on web-based servers, depending on internet speed
Maintenance The user is responsible for maintenance and upgrades Maintenance and upgrades are handled by Tableau Online
Integrations Supports many data sources and integrations Supports many data sources and integrations, some limitations apply
Flexibility More flexible and customizable Less flexible and customizable, more suitable for simpler use cases
Scalability Limited scalability, suitable for smaller teams or projects Highly scalable, suitable for larger teams and complex projects
Features A full range of Tableau features is available Limited features compared to Tableau Desktop, some advanced features missing
Training More training materials and resources are available Less training materials and resources available, some limitations apply

Both are powerful data visualization tools that offer different strengths and weaknesses. The choice between the two depends on your specific needs, such as cost, data security, customization, and scalability. Tableau Desktop is more suitable for users who need full customization and advanced features, while Tableau Online is more suitable for users who need real-time collaboration and scalability.

So, which one to choose for data science? It depends on your specific needs. If you prefer working locally and require complete control over your data, then Tableau Desktop is the better option for you. However, if you work with a team or need to share your data visualizations with others on a regular basis, then Tableau Online is the way to go.

Both have their own unique advantages, and the choice between them depends on your specific data analysis needs. Whichever one you choose, it's important to remember that Tableau is a powerful tool that can help you unlock the insights hidden in your data and take your data science game to the next level.

FAQs: Frequently asked questions

What is the main difference between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Online?

Tableau Desktop is a desktop-based version installed locally on your computer, while Tableau Online is a cloud-based version accessed through an internet connection. The main difference lies in accessibility, collaboration, and maintenance.

Can Tableau Online handle large-scale data analysis and complex projects?

Yes, Tableau Online is highly scalable and suitable for larger teams and complex projects. It provides the ability to collaborate in real-time and offers flexibility in terms of data analysis and visualization.

How does the cost differ between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Online?

Tableau Desktop requires a one-time license fee ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. In contrast, Tableau Online offers a monthly or annual subscription .

Which version of Tableau is more suitable for sensitive data and data security?

Tableau Desktop provides local data storage, giving users full control over data security. However, Tableau Online stores data in the cloud, which may not be suitable for highly sensitive data

Does Tableau Online support real-time collaboration and sharing of visualizations?

Yes, Tableau Online supports real-time collaboration, making it easy to share and work with others. It offers sharing options such as embedding dashboards in websites and sharing via email.

Which version of Tableau offers more customization options?

Tableau Desktop offers full customization options, allowing users to tailor their visualizations and reports extensively. Tableau Online, on the other hand, has limited customization options compared to Tableau Desktop.

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