DSAU22 completed Power BI training recently after spending the majority of our training learning Tableau. There are dozens of differences, from the UI, all the way through to chart and dashboard (or report in Power BI) creation. The training was enjoyable, yet challenging due to these differences. In this blog, I will be taking you through the top 3 differences between the 2 data visualization giants.


1: Power BI is more intuitive at creating charts

Power BI has a fantastic feature where you can drag in the type of chart you wish to create and input the data from there. For example, if you want to build a line chart, you simply drag the line chart into the canvas and input the data into the chart. In contrast, when using Tableau, you first input the data you want to work with and build the chart from there. In my opinion, Power BI is much more intuitive when it comes to chart building because of this feature. But in saying this, it also limits your ability to just explore the data before you begin building charts, which leads me to my second difference. 


2: Tableau is better for exploring data

In Tableau, because you have to drag in the data before you begin building out charts, it allows you to explore the data in a much easier way. You can easily start to notice patterns in the data by changing fields. In Power BI, you are limited by having to select your type of chart before inputting the data. This may lead to trying to explore the data by eye in its raw form, which isn’t best practice when it comes to data exploration. It seems like you have to have a better understanding of exactly what you want to create before creating a Power BI dashboard, whereas in Tableau you can often start by building out charts and deciding on what you want to do along the way.

3: Tableau has more customization features

Tableau is far superior and intuitive when it comes to customizing your charts/dashboards. From the tooltip, the colours within your charts, through to the fonts and, the legends, Tableau clears Power BI. Now I’m not saying Power BI can’t do these things, but Tableau does it way better.  Tableau offers more granular control over dashboard layout, formatting, and design. Users can fine-tune the appearance of their visualizations and dashboards, making it easier to create unique and highly customized dashboards.


At the end of the day, both Tableau and Power BI are great visualization tools, and it comes down to personal preference as to which one you use. In my experience, Tableau takes the cake as the superior visualization tool. What’s your opinion?

The Data School
Author: The Data School