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Post By Admin Last Updated At 2021-08-21
Understanding different Tableau Data Types

Data is the most important element for every business entity. Today we can see there is an abundance of data everywhere with the growing business sector. Data also plays a crucial role in business expansion and providing meaningful insights into various operations. Tableau is one of the popular BI tools that helps in data analysis. It is important to know about the different Tableau Data Types and their underlying features and uses. Also, it is useful to know that how these data types are useful in real-life, about data management, filtering, extraction, etc. within Tableau. 

In this blog, we are going to learn all the different Tableau data types and their uses in detail. 


Data types in Tableau

There are different Tableau data types available, where data types classify the type of data into its definite type. Here, some data may be only containing text or characters, some may be integers, and some data may be floating type. In this way, every data falls under a certain category of data. Similarly, Tableau has also different data types that characterize data value present in it as a field value. This data may come from either a live data source or extracted from other data courses. 

The following are the different Tableau data types that are in use.

  • String data type
  • Numeric data
  • Date and Time
  • Boolean data type
  • Geographic Data
  • Cluster/Mixed data type

Tableau offers automatic detection of data types of different fields. This happens as soon as new data uploads from source to Tableau and assigns the same to the fields. You can also change these data types as the data uploaded into Tableau by the following options:

  • String values
  • Integer values
  • Date values
  • Date and Time values
  • Boolean values
  • Geographic values
  • Cluster or mixed values

Within Tableau’s data pane, each data type has been assigned an icon, to denote easily. We can easily locate the different fields of data types within the Tableau tool.  Moreover, we can also alter them as per our needs. In the coming section, we will understand the process of data changing and the different Tableau data types. 

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String Data Type

The String data type within the Tableau Data types includes zero or more characters, as it's text data. Here, the value of the characters is taken as a String, where the characters include a single or double quote(“). For example, we can take the string data value as “Onlineitguru” or “Onlineitguru Hyderabad”. Also, we can use double inverted commas in between the characters. 

Further, we can see the division of String Tableau data types into two parts: Char and Varchar.

Char String Type

These Tableau data types have a fixed-length value, where the corresponding memory for them is allocated to the Char string data type values within Tableau. Typically, this string data type stores the values which are alphanumeric. But if you enter the string value which is more than the fixed length, then the system will show an error. 

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Var char String Type

This string type refers to Variable Character Length, where the length of the characters entered within a string is not predefined. This means there is no fixed length for these characters in this string type. Also, there is no memory allocation restriction, so you can enter as many values as you can. Here, also the string values can be of alphanumeric type. 

Numeric Data type

In this data type within the Tableau Data Types, the values of data can be an integer or floating type. Most of the fields with the numeric data type include the integers only. Because users may find it difficult while using float values regarding the issue with decimal point accumulation after a certain limit. Hence, the float values can also be easily useful in calculations by rounding off the value into a perfect integer. A function called “Round” is useful to round off the floating values.

Date and time

In the Tableau data types, the data and time values can be of different formats. They can be dd-mm-yy, mm-dd-yyyy, etc. format type. Here, some fields may include the data value only, or it may be along with the time value, such as “timestamps”. Further, we can define the time data values in terms of years, decades, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, etc. Also, there is an option to add date value in the string character format, which requires putting hash (#) sign before the date value. 

In Tableau, we can register the date and time values in two formats. Such as Date data type and Date and Time data type. These values are get registered automatically while the user enters any data in that format.

Boolean Data type

These data values within Tableau data types are the outcomes of relational calculations. Hence, there are two values True and False, which are considered logical values. Many times the result of these calculations is unknown and uncertain, where we use the Null values.

Geographic Data Type

These data type values are used in the map, as the name suggests. Values that include country name, state name, city, region, pin or zip codes, etc. are the geographical type data. Also, these data types are denoted by a globe icon within the data field. Hence, geographical data may look different from the other data types. 

Cluster or Mixed Data Type

Sometimes the field may not have a single data type and rather it might include a mixed data type. Therefore, these values are given the name cluster group or mixed data values. In such cases, users can manually handle such value fields by separating the values of different data types into the column. Otherwise, we can also let Tableau handle it well.

Thus, this is all about the different Tableau data types and further, we will also know about the changing data type.

Changing Tableau data types

Preferably, the BI tool Tableau locates and assigns respective data types to the existing fields within a data set. This happens when there is a fresh data upload in Tableau. However, a user has the option to make changes in the data types at different stages while working in Tableau. The following are the different stages where we can change or modify data types.

Modifying data type in Data Source page

To modify or alter the data type of any field from the Data Source page, then you need to click on that icon of that field. There will be a drop-down list to appear on that page.  Where you can select the latest data type and allot it to the values of the field you want to.

Modifying data type from Data pane

After you upload the data within the Tableau data field, those data fields appear in the Data pane of a Tableau worksheet. Hence, we can also change the field data type from here. For this, we need to click on the data type icon of a field. Then we need to choose a new data type for the values of the said field from the list that appears.

Modifying data type within View

This is another way to change the default field data type from the View pane. Here, you can select Change Data Type from the drop-down menu by right-clicking the field list. Further, this opens a list of different data types from where the user can choose the data type of his choice.

In this way, you can change or modify the Tableau data types using different stages. 

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Advantages of using Tableau

There are various benefits of using Tableau and its various data types.

It is comfortable to implement and use.

Easy to build different and interactive visuals.

Handles large amounts of data easily and with quick access.

Easy to use and mobile-friendly.

Usage costs are minimal than other tools.

Moreover, customers have extensive resources and can use them widely for different purposes.


Here, I am going to conclude this blog on different Tableau data types and their uses. I hope this learning has brought you to think over the Tableau BI tool and its various data types. Data types are useful to present data in different formats, along with modifying data. Also, users will have good interaction with these data types, and they can use them for data analysis. Good data provides the business a good strength, at the same time, it has to be secured from external harmful sources. So, you can also secure your business data and its value in different ways.

These are the best-known facts about Tableau data types, and to know more in this regard, attend the demo on Tableau Online Training with ITGuru experts.