When there are five Tableau products in the market, what is so unique about Tableau Public? Essentially, it is the free to use and open-source version among all the Tableau products that offer to publish reports publicly. The silver lining is, it comes included with almost all the functionalities of the much preferred, Desktop commercial version.
So, how is the public product different?
Quite naturally, the Tableau software needs to connect to a data source from which the visualizations or the “vizzes” can be created. When it comes to the Public product, you can connect to the CSV files, Microsoft Excel Files, statistical files, and Text documents.
While the Desktop product enables the user to connect to the databases, the Public edition can connect to limited resources.
Table of Contents
What is Tableau?
Let’s click the rewind button, to understand what Tableau software is. For starters, Tableau is mainly a business intelligence and data visualization tool that helps the data scientists, statisticians, managers, and any person who deals with data to create effective visualizations.
Furthermore, it is one of the most extensively used software to perform Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA), the fundamental step in data science.
This tool has proved to be of enormous use to those who envision creating convincing stories and insights from live data.
It is an ideal tool for generating reports, making presentations, creating dashboards/stories.
What kind of software is used to create Tableau Viz?
So, when to go for Tableau Public download?
The Desktop is a commercial version that is free for the first 14 days as a trial. However, post the two – week’s duration, the Desktop version prompts for the subscription. This is when the user needs to decide if they intend to go for a subscription or the free version.
Tableau offers the Public version which is a free product ideal for personal level use. We can discuss the various limitations of this versions further in the blog.
Another factor that makes the Public edition or any Tableau product so appealing is that no programming is required to produce the vizzes.
Now, are there no other means to create the visualizations? Of course, there are. You can create the data visualizations using Python, R; however, it requires no coding knowledge, not to mention the inclusion of respective packages.
Don’t forget to check out the Tableau Public gallery below.
Who is Tableau Public for?
There is a wide range of people who can use the Public edition despite its limitations. Let’s see who can benefit from it.
The tableau Public is necessary for everyone who likes to play with data, create vizzes, and wish to share them with others. It is for personal use, and there are no two ways about it.
From professionals to students and everyone in between, the journalist, retail store owners, economists, statisticians, data enthusiasts, everyone can make use of the Public product.
The visualization thus created can be shared with your friends, organizations, peers in the industry, and so on. This means you can share your vizzes with anyone and everyone whatsoever.
So, what about data privacy?
The visualizations hosted by an individual or as a part of an organization are open for all members of the Tableau community or anyone across the globe.
Therefore, the utmost care has to be taken if the data visualization you create for your organization is sensitive. First and foremost, you have to ensure if the data can be shared with your competitors or with anyone who might have undue interest in your company’s private information.
In any situation, if your organization feels that the data they are trying to survey is not suitable for public view or if it is classified data, they can explore the other Tableau products. The Tableau Desktop professional edition, Server, and Online are the alternatives they can consider.
What are the limitations of Tableau Public?
Just with any free versions, the Public product also has certain limitations. It is excellent for performing EDA, extra-curricular applications, however, confines to personal and beginner-level utilization of the software. Listed below are the major drawbacks of the Tableau Public.
- While the Desktop version can create vizzes for any number of rows in the data, the free edition can handle only a few rows. Recently, the Tableau Public limit for handling rows has been extended to one million rows.
- It can connect to restricted types of data sources, such as Excel files, various formats of text files, statistical files, Google sheets, Web data connectors, and CSV. Actual database connection, i.e., to SQL servers, etc. is not feasible.
- Data security can project to be a significant point of concern as the general public can view the data visualizations. You can save the Tableau Public files only on the server.
- Problems related to embedding the visualizations in certain websites can pose to be a problem.
- It does not allow sharing the vizzes to a particular group or network; instead, the visualizations are open to the general view.
- It enables personal level usage alone. While Tableau Desktop is for anyone who aspires to build a career in BI and data analytics. The Tableau public version is for bloggers, writers, and journalists who can exploit the free version for simple data visualizations.
Is Tableau private or public?
The Tableau offers five products in all:
Tableau Desktop – No one can access your reports except those to whom you grant the permissions.
Tableau Public – The reports once published are open to the public. Read a tip below at the end of this section to keep your viz from being visible to the public.
Tableau Reader – Again, no one can see the reports unless provided with the access.
Tableau Online – In this edition, the reports are published directly to the cloud. And the reports thus stored are expected to be completely safe and secure.
Tableau Server – Working on the Server is a different ballgame altogether. It publishes the reports to private servers ensuring the maximum safety of your data.
Here’s a quick tip for Tableau Public users who hope to keep their vizzes hidden.
The user has an option to set the viz to a hidden mode. This basically means, when any visitor who accesses your profile will not be able to see the hidden viz as a thumbnail. But, here’s a heads up. This is not a permanent solution for ensuring data privacy with Tableau Public by any means.
Anyone who accidentally gets hold of the link to the hidden viz can easily gain access to it.
This also means that the users can share the link to the visualization’s homepage to whoever they choose. What’s more, you can share it via all social media channels including, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. You can also share the link to the hidden vizzes as well.
How to delete a viz from Tableau Public?
Deleting the viz from the public view is as simple as publishing on the server. All you have to do is, visit your Public profile, you will be able to see all your vizzes as thumbnails. Hover over the thumbnail of the viz, and select the trash icon to permanently delete it.
As we all know that data is crucial for any organization, Tableau makes the ultimate effort to ensure that maximum security of the data, application, and the user by all means.
What is the difference between Tableau Desktop and Public?
As already mentioned in the earlier sections, Tableau offers five products. Out of them, the Desktop is the preferred commercial product. However, for a personal level usage, the Public edition is unparalleled.
The Desktop edition of Tableau is the paid product that is free for a 14-day trial. Nevertheless, Tableau prompts for the subscription, subsequently. Based on the users’ requirement, they can either subscribe for
- The Tableau Desktop Personal – $ 35 (with an annual maintenance cost of $999)
- Tableau Desktop Professional – $70 (with an annual maintenance cost of $1,999)
- The Tableau Public – Completely free of cost.
Tableau Reader is also available free of cost, however, this product doesn’t allow the users to publish the reports nor does it allow to make any changes in the vizzes. The visualizations can only be viewed as static. This product is ideal for CEOs or CFOs in the organization who are more interested in reviewing the insights provided.
Tableau Server, on the other hand, is enterprise-level software.
Let’s see the major differences between Tableau Public and Tableau desktop in detail in the next section.
Tableau Public Vs Desktop:
Look below to find the detailed analysis between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Public:
|Tableau Desktop||Tableau Public|
|Offers two editions: Tableau Desktop personal – $ 35 per month (with an annual maintenance cost $999) Tableau Desktop Commercial – $ 70 per month ( with an annual maintenance cost $1,999)||Free of cost|
|Can establish a connection to any database, web applications, and many more||Enables data source connection to CSV, Excel Files, text files, Google sheet.|
|The user can save the reports locally, and on the server, or in the cloud.||It can be published only on the server.|
|Data and vizzes are in a secure environment.||Data and the visualizations are not secure as they are published for public view.|
|Professional and enterprise use||Personal level usage|
|Data extracts can be formed on databases||Due to the restricted connection to the database, the extract doesn’t make sense.|
|Works on Windows and Mac OS||Works on Windows and Mac OS|
|Tableau Desktop is ideal for Data Scientists, BI professionals, statisticians, etc.||Tableau Public is more for bloggers, beginners, data analysts, BI enthusiasts, journalists, writers, etc.|
Can I get Tableau for free?
The Tableau offers both paid and free products.
1. Tableau Desktop – The paid editions are personal, professional versions.
2. Tableau Public – free of cost.
3. Tableau Server – paid enterprise-level edition.
4. Tableau Reader – Free of cost, but offers reading/viewing options
5. Tableau Online – Paid edition for publishing reports in a secured cloud environment.
So, here we are. Tableau offers two products that are free of cost. However, the Public is the only edition that is free with publishing rights.
How to use Tableau Public to play with graphs?
The Public edition offers almost all the functionalities as the other Tableau editions, except for a few limitations. However, the Public version makes an ideal tool for personal use.
The Tableau Public tutorials can help you play with different kinds of charts and graphs, such as bar graphs, pie charts, line graphs, histograms, and many more.
So, how to create graphs in the Public product of Tableau?
First, establish a data source connection. That said, Public Edition can only allow connections to CSV, Excel files, Google Sheets, text files, etc.
Once the data is uploaded, you can drag and drop the various fields from dimensions and measures to the row and column shelves.
The Public version, by default, creates a bar chart for the data.
You can switch to other modes of representations such as pie chart, line graph, cross tabs, etc by selecting the options from the “Show Me” option on the right side of the Tableau Workbook.
Create various representations on the different sheets of the Workbook. Name the sheets.
Save the Workbook and the visualizations will be saved on the server for public view.
Is Tableau Public available for Linux OS?
We have discussed the advantages and limitations of the open-source and free Public edition thus far. We know that this product is available for Windows and Mac users.
Then what about the other operating systems?
Tableau Server is the only product yet that lets you combine Tableau’s analytical capabilities with the empowering Linux OS.
Coming to the Desktop edition, it is not available on Linux just yet. However, the user can make the visualizations on Windows/Mac and can publish them on Tableau Linux Server.
Now when the Public edition is concerned, the free version is only available for making vizzes, generating reports, and publishing them on Windows and Mac alone.