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Research Data Management at UF: Tableau - Basics

This is a guide on resources available at the University of Florida and beyond on research data management. It includes information about tools for data management planning, data and file sharing, metadata and data standards, and data storage.

Tableau Overview

Tableau is a software suite  that lets you build visualizations using a drag and drop interface. It lets you import many kinds of numeric or categorical data and produce a range of interactive graphics. It also allows users to  combine multiple data sources or sets into one visualization (dashboards) 

Access to Tableau

Basic Workflow




Prepare/Clean your data | Video

For best results it helps to have your data formatted correctly before bringing it into Tableau. The links above provide a short guide and video that explain a few basic steps you can take to get ready to import or 'connect' to your data



Connect to data | Video

Choose the type of data you have from this pop-up menu. It can be a file on your computer, or a file/database on a server.




Create a simple view | Video

Your data points will be grouped into dimensions and measures.

Dimensions are categories of things; measures are counts of things in those categories. You drag and drop them onto columns or rows as need to build the view you want. The Show Me menu at the top right lets you change chart type, and recommends types based on your data.



Formatting | Video
While Tableau's default displays usually work well, it is worth your time to further format your visualization. Time spent adjusting screen elements to focus the user's attention, or to avoid overwhelming the user, is usually time well spent. Options to adjust include fonts, shading, alignment, borders, and graph lines. Color and size are particularly important to get right. You can format elements using the Marks card or the Formatting  menu. 








CubeHelix, Open source - color formatting tool designed to work with Tableau

Training Resources

Tableau Training 

The easiest way to learn Tableau is to sign up for a free trial and play around with a variety of  datasets. The company's short video tutorials are excellent ways to learn on your own, step-by-step. 


Free authoring client for students | instructors

Tableau Starter Kits (videos)

Training: in-person | live online | self-paced online

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