Tableau Table Calculations 101: Functions and Examples (2023)

Table calculations are an incredibly powerful feature of Tableau Desktop, but they often confuse new and experienced Tableau users alike. To help you understand why Tableau table computations are important, let's define key concepts such as addressing and partitioning, and show how they are used with Tableau's superstore dataset.

Table of contents

Tableau Table calculations are a subset of calculated fields in Tableau Desktop that perform transformations on values ​​in a visualization. Tabular calculations usually include running sums, moving averages, and percentages of totals. Table calculations in Tableau are performed on local data (post-filtered data).

Tableau Table Calculation concepts are covered, as well as how to create and edit a calculated field. You will also learn how to use a calculated field in a view.

This is a good place to start if you're new to table calculations in Tableau or creating calculated fields in Tableau.

Table of contents

  • Requirements
  • Introduction to Tableau
    • Key features of Tableau
  • What exactly are Tableau table calculations?
    • Distribution
    • Addressing
  • Set up visualization for Tableau Table Calculation
  • Steps to create a table of calculations
    • Tableau Table Calculation Step 1: Create a visualization
    • Table calculation Step 2: add the table calculation
  • Edit table calculations in Tableau
  • Remove table calculations in Tableau
  • Tableau Tabelberekeningsfuncties
  • Conclusion


  • Tableau desktop.
  • Basic data and visualization insight.

Introduction to Tableau

Tableau Table Calculations 101: Functions and Examples (1)

Tableau is a data visualization and business intelligence platform founded in 2003 by Christian Chabot, Pat Hanrahan, and Chris Stolte. It grew in popularity as every organization wanted to collect valuable insights from multiple data sources while also collaborating with their employees. Visualization is an excellent method for analyzing large amounts of data, and Tableau excels at it.

(Video) Across or Down? Solving the Tableau Table Calculations Puzzle

Tableauhas helped leading organizations across industries reduce processing time and become more data-driven, while ensuring flexibility, security and reliability in all their processes.

Key features of Tableau

Tableau has more features than other BI tools, making it a better choice. Here are a few examples:

  • It has a large number of integrations for you to choose from.
  • Unique drag and drop functionality.
  • It turns your questions or queries into visual representations.
  • Tableau can be accessed on any platform, includingMobile, web and desktop.
  • It allows you to create a diverse set of visualizations to help you explore your data.
  • Tableau has over 200 connectors that allow users to securely connect to external data sources such as RDBMS, Cloud, spreadsheets, and so on.

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What exactly are Tableau table calculations?

Tableau Table Calculations 101: Functions and Examples (2)

A Tableau Table Calculation is a transformation performed on the values ​​in a visualization. Tableau computations are a subset of computed fields that compute the local data in Tableau.

Table calculations can be used for a variety of things, including:

  • Convert values ​​into rankings
  • Change values ​​to display running totals
  • Change values ​​to show the percentage of the total

A virtual table is defined by the dimensions in the view for each Tableau visualization. This table is different from the tables in your data source. Usually, the dimensions within the level of detail determine the virtual table. This means that how visualization is built, what dimensions are added, and what data is filtered out all play a critical role in ensuring that table calculations work as intended.

It has also provided simple solutions such as fast table calculations in Tableau. They make an educated guess about how you want math, such as running sum or percentage of total, to work on your visualization. They are created by right-clicking on a measure and 'Fast table calculation

Tableau Table calculations are visually represented in the Tableau interface by a triangle within thepilof the measure.

Tableau offers many ways to test out calculated presets, and we'll focus on the last setting -Specific dimensions– master the underlying concepts.

Each dimension in your view must fall into one of two categories within specific dimensions:DistributionofAddressing.Tableau visualizes partitioning (unchecked) or addressing using a list of checkboxes (checked).

(Video) Tableau Tutorial - Quarter over Quarter change (Table Calculation, Lookup)

1) Partitionering

Partitioning is the process of determining where table calculations begin and end. Partitioning is indicated in Tableau by unchecked checkboxes in the Edit Table Calculation window. Calculations such as percent-of-total require determining the range or partition of the math (i.e., which rows should add up to 100 percent).

2) Addressing

The direction of the calculation is determined by the address. Addressing is more difficult to understand because it specifies which dimensions are referenced ('calculate from what?') and also the order in which they will be used (order matters!). "Compute using" is synonymous with setting the "addressee" fields in the Tableau user interface.

When using ' specific dimensions, the ORDER of the 'checked' checkboxes IMPORTANT. Let's include the shipping mode and address by region, followed by the shipping mode.

Then consider the same example, but change the addressing (aka direction) of the running sum to Ship Mode and then Region.

Set up visualization for Tableau Table Calculation

Here are some steps to apply quick visualization for table calculations in Tableau:

  • Connect to the Sample-Superstore data source in Tableau Desktop.
  • Go to a new worksheet.
  • Drag the Order Date field from the Dimensions shelf of the Data pane to the Columns shelf.
  • Drag the State field to the row shelf from the Dimensions data pane.
  • Drag the Sales field to Text on the Marks card from the Data panel, under Measures.
  • Drag the Gain to Color field on the Marks map from the Data panel, under Measures.
  • Select Square from the Brand Type drop-down menu on the Brands card.

This is how the visualization update:

Tableau Table Calculations 101: Functions and Examples (3)

Steps to create a table of calculations

Here are the 2 easy steps to get started:

  • Tableau Table Calculation Step 1: Create a visualization
  • Table calculation Step 2: add the table calculation

Tableau Table Calculation Step 1: Create a visualization

  • Connect to the Sample-Superstore data source in Tableau.
  • Go to another worksheet.
  • Drag the Order Date field from the Dimensions shelf of the Data panel to the Rows shelf. YEAR is now the dimension (Order Date).
  • Right-click the YEAR (Order Date) field on the Rows shelf and select the Quarter field.
  • Click the + icon in the QUARTER field on the Rows (Order Date) shelf. The MONTH (Order Date) field is added to the shelf.
  • Drag the Order Date field from the Dimensions shelf of the Data pane to the Columns shelf. The YEAR (Order Date) field of the dimension is updated again.
  • Drag the Sales field to Text on the Brands card from the Data panel, under Measures.
Tableau Table Calculations 101: Functions and Examples (4)

Table calculation Step 2: add the table calculation

Right-click on the fieldAS(Sell) on the Marks card and chooseAdd table calculation.
In the Table Calculation dialog box, do the following:

(Video) Basic Calculations In Tableau (Calculated Fields) - #TableauTutorial

  • Choose Difference from as the Calculation type.
  • Select Table for Compute Usage (over).

When you're done, click theXin the upper right corner of the Table Calculation dialog box to close it.

Edit table calculations in Tableau

  • Right-click the measure in the view that has the Table Calculation applied and chooseEdit table calculation.
  • Make your changes in the Table Calculation dialog box.
  • When you're done, click theXin the upper right corner of the Table Calculation dialog box to close it.

Remove table calculations in Tableau

Select the Clear Table Calculation option from the context menu when you right-click the measure in the view that has the Table Calculations applied in Tableau. The table calculation of the measure is removed and the visualization is updated with the original values.

Tableau Tabelberekeningsfuncties

Table calculations in Tableau functions let you calculate values ​​in a table. For example, you can calculate the percentage of total sales that an individual sale represents over a year or several years.

Following are the basic table calculations in Tableau functions:

  • LOOKUP(expression, [offset]):It returns the value of the expression in a target row specified as a relative offset from the current row.
  • ZN ():If the expression is not null, it is returned; otherwise it returns zero.
  • TOTAL ():It returns the total in a table calculation partition for the given expression.
  • RANK(expression, 'asc' | 'desc'):It returns the default league ranking for the partition's current row. Identical values ​​are assigned the same rank. SpecifyAscendingofdescendingg order, use the optional 'if‘| ‘descr'argument. Ascending is the default setting.
  • WINDOW AVG(expression, [start, end]):It calculates the average of the expressions in the window. Offsets from the current row are used to define the window.
  • ABDOMEN ():It returns the absolute value of the specified number.
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS ():It returns the index of the current row in the partition, without sorting by value. The index on the first row is 1.
  • FIRST ():It returns the number of rows between the current row and the first row of the partition.
  • LAST():It returns the number of rows from the current row to the last row of the partition.
  • CONTAINS (expression, expression to search for):If the given string contains the specified substring, it returns true.


Tableau includes a number of pre-programmed calculations that you can use with the numbers in a view, such as running total, difference, percent difference, percent of total, moving average, and more. These predefined calculations are called table calculations because the results are calculated using a virtual table that contains only the numbers in the display.

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Share your experience with Tableau Table Calculation in the comment section below!


What is an example of a table calculation in Tableau? ›

Common examples of table calculations include running sum, moving average, and percent of total. Calculations are computed over local data (post-filtered data) within Tableau. The important concepts to keep in mind are: Table calculation math will be based only on dimensions (granularity) within the view.

What are the three main types of calculations in Tableau? ›

Overview of the three main types of calculations
  • Row Level calculations: These calculations are performed for every row of underlying data. ...
  • Aggregate Level calculations: These calculations are performed at an aggregate level.

How do you master a calculation in Tableau? ›

  1. Add a Tableau Data Story to a Dashboard.
  2. Choose the Right Story Type for Your Tableau Data Story.
  3. Configure Settings for a Tableau Data Story. ...
  4. Customize Your Tableau Data Story. ...
  5. Add More Data to Your Tableau Data Story.
  6. Add a Pop-Up Tableau Data Story to Your Dashboard.

What is the difference between calculated field and table calculations in Tableau? ›

Table Calculations (including the Quick Table Calculations) live in our Tableau View. They are created in the view and stay there, locally in our worksheet. Calculated Fields are created on a data level and appear as a separate column in the data source.

How many types of calculations are there in Tableau? ›

There are three main types of calculations you can use to create calculated fields in Tableau: Basic expressions. Level of Detail (LOD) expressions. Table calculations.

What is basic calculations in Tableau? ›

Basic calculations: These calculations are written as part of the query created by Tableau and therefore are done in the underlying data source. They can be performed either at the granularity of the data source (a row-level calculation) or at the level of detail of the visualisation (an aggregate calculation).

How do you perform calculations in a table? ›

Insert a formula in a table cell
  1. Select the table cell where you want your result. If the cell is not empty, delete its contents.
  2. On the Table Tools, Layout tab, in the Data group, click Formula.
  3. Use the Formula dialog box to create your formula.
Aug 29, 2015

What are the quick table calculations in Tableau? ›

Quick table calculations are table calculations that you can apply quickly to your visualization in Tableau. They are applied to the visualization with the most typical settings for the calculation type you choose so that you can continue on with your analysis.

What are the 7 data types in Tableau? ›

These seven data types are:
  • String values.
  • Number/Integer values.
  • Date values.
  • Date & Time values.
  • Boolean values.
  • Geographic values.
  • Cluster or mixed values.
Mar 28, 2022

What are the 6 data types in Tableau? ›

In this article, we discussed different data types in tableau: string, numerical, date, date & time, Boolean, geographical, and mixed data type.

What is the most important function in Tableau? ›

Type Conversion. It is the most used function in Tableau, and I use it to convert strings to date, Integers to strings, strings to floats, and date parsing. Here is the list of type conversion functions: DATE(expression)

What are 4 tips for mastering Tableau? ›

If you want to master Tableau, just follow these four steps: Train, Practice, Engage, Teach.

What should we avoid when creating calculation Tableau? ›

General Rule: Avoid using a calculated field multiple times in another calculation. Referencing the same calculated field multiple times within another calculation will result in performance issues.

Is Tableau hard to master? ›

Tableau is considered a relatively easy-to-learn data analysis and visualization tool and can be mastered by anyone with enough time and practice. On average, it takes most people between two and six months to learn this software. This process can take even longer if you're looking to master all of Tableau's functions.

What does Zn mean in Tableau? ›

ZN. ZN(expression) Returns the expression if it is not null, otherwise returns zero. Use this function to use zero values instead of null values.

What two types of fields do table calculations rely on? ›

Table calculations rely on two types of fields: addressing and partitioning fields. The key to understanding table calcs is to know how these fields work.

What is the difference between row level and aggregate calculation in Tableau? ›

There are two general types of calculated fields: Row-Level – Calculation is calculated for each row in the data. Row-level results are then aggregated just like normal fields. Aggregate – Measures are first aggregated, and the calculation is then run on the aggregated result.

What is the difference between sum and max in Tableau? ›

Then the difference between max and sum will generated different result in your calculation expressions. As above, the max always return either 1 or 0, if a customer has sub-categor as "Phones", then it will return 1, else 0. However, sum will sum up any record meets the condition.

What is top and bottom calculation in Tableau? ›

Top N or Bottom N chart refers to the first ones and last ones, where N is a value selected by the user that can be static or controlled by a parameter. For example, we can compute the first or last 5 customers depending on the values of their orders.

What is Zn in Tableau table calculation? ›

The ZN function when used in a calculation returns the default values if it is not nulls, otherwise it returns zeros. In summary, we can say that we use the ZN function to replace null values with zeros within our computations.

What are the basic calculations? ›

Basic calculation is the addition or subtraction of numbers with sums less than 20 (e.g. 8 + 7, 15 – 7).

What are table calculation filters in Tableau? ›

Filters based on table calculations do not filter out underlying data in the data set, because table calculation filters are applied last in the order of operations. This means Tableau evaluates any table calculations in the view first, and then applies table calculation filters on the results in the current view.

How do you manually calculate data table? ›

To manually recalculate your data table, select its resulting cells, i.e. the cells with TABLE() formulas, and press F9. This is how you create and use a data table in Excel.

What are calculated fields in Tableau? ›

Tableau Calculated fields can be used to create new dimensions such as segments, or new measures such as ratios or sums. They can be used with any data type, various functions and aggregations, logical operators, making the calculated results virtually limitless.

What are the ways of calculating? ›

  • Method 1: Basic Formula.
  • Method 2: Ratio and Proportion.
  • Method 3: Fractional Equation.
Feb 11, 2017

What does ABC mean in Tableau? ›

In this context, Abc means data type of the column, Abc means String, # means Number... If you see measure or dimension which starts with =, it is created with in the Tableau; custom field or calculated field. By default, Tableau will create a calculated field Number of Records.

How many tables can be used in Tableau? ›

How many maximum tables can you join in Tableau? The maximum number of 32 tables can be joined in Tableau. A table size must also be limited to 255 columns (fields).

Is running sum a table calculation in Tableau? ›

One of the most common table calculations in Tableau is the running total. It is employed to determine the cumulative sum of a measure across a table structure or dimension. It can be done by adding up values, averaging values, or computing using minimum or maximum values, among other methods.

What are the 4 main data types? ›

4 Types of Data: Nominal, Ordinal, Discrete, Continuous.

What are the 5 main types of data? ›

5 data classification types
  • Public data. Public data is important information, though often available material that's freely accessible for people to read, research, review and store. ...
  • Private data. ...
  • Internal data. ...
  • Confidential data. ...
  • Restricted data.
Mar 10, 2023

What are the 5 simple data types? ›

Most modern computer languages recognize five basic categories of data types: Integral, Floating Point, Character, Character String, and composite types, with various specific subtypes defined within each broad category.

What are the 11 data types? ›

Contact MySQL |
  • Numeric Data Type Syntax.
  • Fixed-Point Types (Exact Value) - DECIMAL, NUMERIC.
  • Floating-Point Types (Approximate Value) - FLOAT, DOUBLE.
  • Bit-Value Type - BIT.
  • Numeric Type Attributes.
  • Out-of-Range and Overflow Handling.

What are the three main types of data sets? ›

Finally, coming on the types of Data Sets, we define them into three categories namely, Record Data, Graph-based Data, and Ordered Data.

What are 3 different data visualizations options in Tableau? ›

Types of Charts and Graphs
  • Bar Chart. Bar charts are one of the most common data visualizations. ...
  • Line Chart. The line chart, or line graph, connects several distinct data points, presenting them as one continuous evolution. ...
  • Pie Chart. ...
  • Maps. ...
  • Density Maps. ...
  • Scatter Plot. ...
  • Gantt Chart. ...
  • Bubble Chart.

What is the most difficult part in Tableau? ›

It can be difficult for those who do not have a background working with data to understand how data works. If you are new to handling raw data, you may consider exploring online tutorials or videos that explain data basics. Many Tableau users consider data preparation the most challenging part of using Tableau.

What is the basic function of Tableau? ›

Any data analysis involves a lot of calculations. In Tableau, the calculation editor is used to apply calculations to the fields being analyzed. Tableau has a number of inbuilt functions which help in creating expressions for complex calculations.

Which chart is best in Tableau? ›

Bar charts—the most popular chart type in Tableau—make it easy to compare information at a glance. It's best to use a bar chart when comparing data across categories like sales per country. Below are a few examples of when a bar chart works better than other chart types.

What is the weakness of Tableau? ›

However, Tableau still has several limitations: Tableau focuses primarily on visualization and cannot work with uncleaned data. In order to efficiently use Tableau, you need to do proper data cleaning in the underlying database first. Lacks data modeling and data dictionary capabilities for Data Analysts.

What are the 4 pillars of data visualization in Tableau? ›

4 pillars of data visualization: distribution, relationship, composition, comparison.

What is five second rule in Tableau? ›

Glance at your BI dashboard for 5 seconds, then look away. If you remember the specifics of what was important, you're good. If not, it's time for a dashboard rethink.

What is the difference between parameter and filter in Tableau? ›

Parameters can be used in calculated fields where as filters cannot be embedded inside expressions. Filters in form can have multi-select values while parameters are single select base on a list or require user input. Actions are available for parameters but not for filters.

What are two main groups that all fields are broken up to in Tableau? ›

When you connect to a new data source, Tableau assigns each field in the data source as dimension or measure in the Data pane, depending on the type of data the field contains.

What problems can Tableau solve? ›

Solving real-world problems in retail with data visualization
  • Revenue management.
  • Working with massive datasets.
  • Forecasting & planning.
  • Predictive analytics.
  • Optimizing pricing and profitability.
  • Site optimization and A/B testing.

Is Tableau easier than Excel? ›

While Tableau offers ways to create meaningful and intuitive visualizations, Excel is best suited for work on data cleaning and multi-layered calculations. Of course, Excel can also create some visualizations of its own, but it is not as skilled as its competitor.

Is Tableau still in demand? ›

Yes, Tableau is in high demand. The market for data visualization software is projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.5% between 2017 and 2025, and Tableau is one of the most popular options on the market.

Can Tableau be self taught? ›

Self-Paced eLearning

Build your analytics skills from anywhere, anytime. Choose self-paced eLearning for maximum flexibility as you master Tableau.

Which of the following is not a table calculation in Tableau? ›

SUM is an aggregate function, not a table calculation!

What is the difference between calculate and calculate filter? ›

FILTER takes a table expression as its first argument and iterates through all the rows of that table checking the condition provided in the second argument. It returns a table. CALCULATE calculates a scalar expression (first argument) in the filter context determined by the remaining arguments.

What are the functions in Tableau? ›

Functions in Tableau
  • Number Functions.
  • String Functions.
  • Date Functions.
  • Type Conversion.
  • Logical Functions.
  • Aggregate Functions.
  • Pass-Through Functions (RAWSQL)
  • User Functions.

What is the difference between total using automatic and sum in Tableau? ›

What is the difference between sum and total in tableau ? The short answer is Total is a Table Calc (an aggregation of an aggregation). Sum is just first level aggregation of all rows in database. Table calcs also give you the option of how to aggregate as in the attached workbook.

What is the difference between total and sum in Tableau? ›

What is the difference between SUM and TOTAL functions in Tableau? SUM – is an aggregate function used to sum all the values in an expression. Note, SUM can be used with numeric fields ONLY. TOTAL – is a table calculation function that returns the total of a given expression.

What is the difference between running sum and window sum? ›

A Running Sum is a total of everything in a row from the first value to the current value. When using a Window Sum, you define the starting and ending point.


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