Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application used for calculations, statistical operations, data analysis, and reporting. Tableau is a business intelligence and data visualization tool to get insights from data, find hidden trends, and make business decisions. 

Tableau and Excel are two highly effective tools for the creation, development, storage, and analysis of your data. Companies use them both, but they have distinct features and functionalities. In this Excel vs. Tableau article, we will discuss some key differences between them.

What is Excel?

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application that stores data in the form of rows and columns. We usually store the information in cells. You can add tables, charts, graphics, and various visualizations to make it more presentable, as per your requirement.

Advantages of Excel

  • Microsoft Excel can analyze large amounts of data to discover trends and patterns that will help in decision making.
  • Excel can perform most of the mathematical and logical functions with ease.

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Disadvantages of Excel

  • Excel is difficult to troubleshoot.
  • Excel is not fit for agile business practices.
  • It is not easy to share worksheets online.

What Is Tableau?

Tableau is a Business Intelligence software that allows anyone to connect, visualize, and create interactive and shareable dashboards with just a few clicks. Tableau visualizes data right from the start, so that you can see the significance almost immediately. It differentiates correlations using color, size, labels, and shapes, giving you context as you drill down and explore on a granular level.

Advantages of Tableau

  • Tableau Dashboard comprises an outstanding reporting feature that enables you to customize the dashboard. This is applicable specifically for a mobile phone or laptop device.
  • Tableau users can include Python or R scripts for complex table calculations.
  • Tableau can handle a large volume of data with ease.

Disadvantages of Tableau

  • Tableau is useful for visualization, but it cannot query data.
  • Tableau does not have the feature of automatic refreshing of the reports with the help of scheduling.
  • The users do not appreciate Tableau’s conditional formatting option and limited 16 column table displays. 

Excel vs. Tableau





It is a spreadsheet application used to organize and format the data.

It is a visualization tool used for detailed analysis.


Suitable for storing data and statistical analysis.

Perfect for the quick and easy representation of data.


The inbuilt security features are weak as compared to the tableau.

Several options to secure the data without scripting.

User Interface

To unleash the full potential of Excel, knowledge of VBA and basic scripting is required.

We can use tableau with no prior knowledge of coding.

Business Purpose

Quick on-off reports.

Best while working with big data.


Excel integrates with around 60 applications.

Tableau integrates with around 250 applications.

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What Does My Business Need?

Deciding which analytics tool is best suited for your organization depends on the three major factors:

  1. The type of reports you are creating.
  2. The type of data you are working with.
  3. How frequently you are creating the reports.
  4. Your budget.

Excel works well when you have to create quick, one-off reports. Tableau is helpful when you want a more detailed analysis of your business reports.

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Now that you have an in-depth comparison between Excel vs. Tableau, you can decide which tool will best serve your purpose.

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This Business Analytics certification course teaches you the basic concepts of data analysis and statistics to help data-driven decision making. This training introduces you to Power BI and explores the statistical concepts that will help you devise insights from available data to present your findings using executive-level dashboards.

Do you have any questions for us? Feel free to mention them in Excel vs. Tableau article’s comments section, and our experts will answer them for you at the earliest! 

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