Tableau Desktop Professional Edition review

Can Tableau's business intelligence program justify its high price? Karl Wright takes a closer look at the figures to find out.

Once you've finished your charts, you can create a "dashboard" for them, effectively a summary sheet which displays whichever charts you want from your workbook. To share the workbook, you can package it with its source data and send it to other Tableau users, or publish it online via the Tableau Public servers. Or, you can simply export the whole document as a PDF or use the program's "copy image" function to do a screengrab of individual graphs and charts.

There were a couple of irritations. Geodata specifically for the UK had to be imported, which was a rather fiddly process. Only once we'd done this, could we use the mapping function with UK counties and postcodes. We also found that, even though we had a "live connection" to our source documents, we had to close Tableau and then reopen it before it would recognise changes to our data.

But these are fairly minor reservations. In almost every way, Tableau is fantastic. Once you get used to how it works, it greatly speeds up data analysis, revealing relationships and trends in your data that you might otherwise have missed. Of course, at this price it should be good; it's not cheap.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

Tableau Desktop Professional isn’t cheap, but it will make your life easier and help you squeeze every last drop of value from your data.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7/Server 2003/Server 2008 inc 64-bit versions Hard disk space: 55MB free

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