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Excel Vs Tableau

4 Mins read
excel vs tableau

Most of the Excel users still have one particular doubt. They regularly keep on enquiring why one needs to move to software like Tableau as they are fully comfortable in working with Excel. They are able to do all the things which Tableau offers with the help of Excel. For all these uses, I can definitely say that they are not well acquainted with Tableau as a software nor they know the key differences between Excel and Tableau. In today’s blog we find out some differences between Excel vs Tableau Before finding the exact difference, just check What is Tableau? 

Difference Between Spreadsheet Tool and Data Visualization Tool

Excel is a Spreadsheet tool whereas Tableau is a Data Visualization tool. Let us discuss it in detail below:

Spreadsheet Tool

In a spreadsheet tool like Excel, the data is represented in the rows and columns and the data is fed into the cells. Manipulation with the data can be performed by formulas or manipulating techniques to change the data in the desired form. The data manipulated then can be converted into graphs or charts with the help of this tool.


Data Visualization Tool

These tools are able to represent the data in Pictorial form to give you the patterns, differences, relations about the data. These tools connect to third-party tools to receive data. It graphically represents the data and helps the user with simple drag and drop feature to explore the data freely.

Must Check: Key Features & Benefits of Tableau

Comparison between Excel Vs Tableau


  • Excel: Excel is a software that is mainly used to organize and represent data in a tabular format. It is mainly a data representation tool.
  • Tableau: Tableau is a data visualization tool used by business intelligence people to perform analytics. It simplifies raw data and represents it in graphical form to draw business insights from the data.


  • Excel: Excel is a spreadsheet tool. Data is represented in tabular format.
  • Tableau: It is a Data Visualization tool. Data is pulled from the third party and simplified to represent in graphical format.


  • Excel: Macros is performed to automate the task up to some Extent. A coding language background is required for writing VBA codes.
  • Tableau: Macros are not of use in Tableau as it is already automated software.

Easy to Use

  • Excel: The knowledge of scripting language (VBA) is required to use the Excel at its best version.
  • Tableau: It is a very user-friendly software and uses features like simple drag and drop to develop visualizations and gives ease of use.

Formula Level

  • Excel: Excel has a decent set of formulas to perform manipulations on the data for its simplification and draw insights from it.
  • Tableau: Tableau has complex level of formulas. It has acquired its formulas from Excel and other software. They look like Excel but can do much more than the Excel formulas.


  • Excel: When it comes to performance, Excel is slower with a large number of data. It supports only 1000 K rows.
  • Tableau: Tableau is best in performance. It has no limitations for data and works with full efficiency even with million rows of data.


  • Excel: Excel has limited storage value. It cannot perform well with a large sum of data. It can store only up to 1000 K rows of data.
  • Tableau: Tableau possesses unlimited storage. It can handle a million rows of data and still can perform with maximum efficiency.



  • Excel: Excel charts are very limited and simple in nature. If you want to create a proper dashboard in Excel it is very difficult with the limited number of charts.
  • Tableau: Tableau has a wide range of built-in custom charts. As it is a data visualization tool it is ought to be the best visualization wise.

Must Check: Top 10 Reason Why Tableau is Necessary for Business


  • Excel: Excel cannot connect to languages such as R and Python. Many data manipulation functions can be performed by connecting to them.
  • Tableau: Tableau can readily connect to languages such as R, Python, and MATLAB. Thus, very complex functions can be performed by Tableau.


  • Excel: Excel connects to a lot of additions to help the user to work with ease. The common addons are Power Query, Power Pivot, Data re-shaper, etc.
  • Tableau: Tableau does not support any addons.


  • Excel: The data can be manipulated by knowing all the steps of manipulation. It is also used descriptive statistics. The data can be arranged and kept in a specific format of your own.
  • Tableau: Tableau is the best user-friendly, interactive tool. It simplifies the raw data to derive insights from it directly.


  • Excel: If the organization is a mediocre level and does not have to deal with a lot of data then Excel is a great choice. It is useful for on-off reports.
  • Tableau: If the organization is dealing with big data analytics and always the data keep on updating, Tableau is a perfect choice.


  • Excel: Excel is mainly used by developers and data analysts.
  • Tableau: Tableau is used by Data Analysts and Data Scientists.



  • Excel: There is nothing like publish in Excel. If you want to share your workbook you will have to share it via email or by distributing offline.
  • Tableau: Once published in Tableau your worksheet can be shared with the people you provide access to. More than one person can view your worksheet at the same time once you publish your worksheet.

Table for Excel Vs Tableau

COMPARISON Excel Tableau
Definition Data representation tool Data representation tool
Usage For a small organization with less amount of data dealing For a small organization with less amount of data dealing
Benefits Data can be kept in a specific format Data can be kept in a specific format
Real-Time Usage It is used in real-time. But it requires manual updating from time to time. It is interactive and you can modify the information.
Business purpose Quick on-off reports Self-service functions that might pull the insights of the info
Ease of use Knowledge on scripting (VB) and macros to use it full-fledged. No coding writing skills needed.
Applications Data analysts, Developers Data analysts, data scientists, knowledge scientists
Field In several domains that traumatize the info transformations Business evaluations, key performance metrics
Stands out Manipulations and descriptive statistics Visualizations and conjointly tableau store an outsized volume of information
Solution It is best applicable and fitted to small-scale & structured knowledge Insights from the massive data issues are being painted.

Must Check: Alteryx vs Tableau – Which is Best

Thus, we discussed the difference between the usage of Excel and Tableau. We even discussed all the aspects regarding Excel vs Tableau It turns out that for small organizations that are dealing with small amounts of data, Excel can be used. While the organization dealing with big data analysis need to use Tableau for the ease of operations.

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