What exactly is Tableau Prep, and where does it fit in the Tableau pipeline and the analytic cycle? Matt explains the concept behind Tableau Prep, how it approaches prepping, cleaning, and transforming data. If you have used Tableau Desktop before, this will be very familiar to you
- [Narrator] Tableau Prep is a visual data preparation tool. It allows you to analyze your data faster by preparing the data. This is the analytic cycle. We're going to start with a question, and for that, we need some data. We're going to do our analysis on that data, but what happens if that data is just not easy to work with? It might be dirty. It might need additional data sets. And this is where Tableau Prep comes in. Prep fits between the data and the analysis. Using Prep, we can prepare the data for better analysis.
This might involve connecting two multiple data sets. The data could be a local file on your machine, it could be a database, it could be on a remote machine on a server somewhere, or even on the web. Prep allows us to clean the data. We can remove incorrect fields, we can modify the fields, we can tidy up all of those little things that we can't change in the actual data source itself. This is particularly useful in databases where we don't have direct access to the underlying data. Tableau works with data in a particular shape, depending on the question that you want to answer.
And Prep makes it really easy to reshape data. We can go from Y table to tool tables. By pivoting that data, it allows us to ask questions in a slightly different way. If we don't have access to the underlying data, sometimes it's hard to change individual values. Prep allows us to modify rows of data. This is great, because it allows us to change the data prior to analysis. All of the data that we're going to use isn't necessarily going to be in a single data file. Typically, you might have a database on your organization, but you also have Excel spreadsheets that have additional information.
Combining those can sometimes be hard. But with Tableau Prep, it's easy as dragging one on top of the other. There are a number of ways that we can combine data, including joins and unions. This allows us to pull in data sets from anywhere, in order to provide a much richer data set to do our analysis. Anytime we've created a new data set in Prep, we can preview that data. We have two methods to do that. We can do it in Tableau Prep itself, or, we can preview it quickly in Tableau Desktop.
Finally, when we've finished our preparations, we can output that data. We can either output it to a Hyper Extract, for use in Tableau Desktop, or as a CSV, to use in some other application. Using Prep, we can prepare our data for analysis, to make that faster and easier in Tableau Desktop.
- The data prep cycle
- Connecting to data
- Examining data in the preview pane
- Cleaning data
- Combining data using joins and unions
- Reshaping and pivoting data
- Previewing and sharing data
- Data sampling to improve performance