In Data Visualization Last updated:
Share on:
Jira Software is the #1 project management tool used by agile teams to plan, track, release, and support great software.

Tableau and Power BI are two popular data visualization tools enabling companies to collect, analyze and represent important business information.

Tableau and Power BI combine various capabilities to effectively ease the collection, storage, analysis, and visualization of different data types from multiple sources.

Despite enabling organizations to gain insights from their data, the tools have some differences and similarities. Each has strong capabilities and limitations, as seen in the Tableau vs. Power BI comparison.

Before we look at the differences, let us briefly overview each, including its capabilities and key features.

Overview of Tableau and its key features

Tableau is a popular self-service analytics and reporting tool that enables users to create powerful visualizations. The powerful, feature-rich business intelligence solution can collect and combines various data types from several sources.

It then turns the data into easy-to-understand visual representations that users can access using a shared dashboard or other means. Generally, Tableau equips users, across the organization, with the ability to get more from the data, share insights and make informed business decisions

Main features of Tableau

Tableau equips businesses with the right tools to discover, analyze and visualize data while providing detailed and shareable insights. With a drag-and-drop feature, companies do not require highly skilled employees to master and use Tableau. Besides these, below are some of the key features of Tableau.

Intuitive dashboard and advanced visualizations

Tableau allows users to create dashboards, graphs, tables, charts, maps, and stories that make it easier to analyze and visualize data hence improving the decision-making processes. Usually, the tool presents its results in easy-to-understand formats suitable for business, technical and non-technical users.

Its dashboards easily represent data in various formats, including text, visualization, and more. Additionally, users can have various views, layouts, formats, filters, and other customization options.


Connects to many data types and sources 

The flexible and scalable tool can connect to many data types from various sources. It can connect to data sources such as databases in different servers such as Microsoft SQL Server, Tableau server, etc. Additionally, it connects to a wide range of file types, including but not limited to text, excel, pdf, JSON, and more. 

Data sharing and collaboration

Tableaus allow users to instantly and securely share data from different sources in appealing visualizations, dashboards, charts, sheets, and other formats.

For example, businesses can easily and quickly share and collaborate using visualizations or dashboards based on data from several data sources – in on-premise, cloud, and hybrid environments. Consequently, this supports quick feedback, reviews, and making data-driven decisions.

High user and data security

Tableaus have strong authentication and role-based permissions structure that ensure the system’s security, users, and data. Additionally, you can integrate with other security protocols such as Kerberos, Active directory, etc. 

Querying data in natural language 

The Ask Data feature allows users to query for data using a natural or common language. The tool automatically provides the most relevant answers using easy-to-understand text or visuals.

Predictive analysis

Tableau has a dynamic front end and powerful backend that allows users to create forecasts or trend lines easily. All a user needs to do is use the drag-and-drop feature to set specific scenarios or options. The tool will then provide the data predictions based on the selected parameters.

Microsoft Power BI and its key features

Power BI is a Microsoft product comprising multiple data virtualization capabilities in one solution. The tool enables businesses to create data-driven reports and insights, opening up various opportunities to improve decision-making, performance, and revenues.

It collects and collates data from multiple sources in the cloud, on-premise, emails, social networks, and other channels. It then analyses that data and then creates appealing visualization that is easy to understand.

Additionally, depending on your objective, you can visualize the data as little or as much as necessary. The intelligent business tool lets you securely share insights with internal and external users. 

Key features of Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI allows users to quickly connect to a wide range of data sources, prepare, visualize, and provide new insights. Some of its key features are highlighted below.

Attractive visualizations

Power BI has a wide range of visualization to provide detailed and visually appealing data representations. The users can create various simple to complex visualizations to create dashboards and reports representing the data under analysis. 

Customizable and shareable dashboards

Power BI has customizable dashboards that allow the user to create desired visualizations that provide insights or information based on their goals. The tool has a variety of detailed and appealing visualization, including but not limited to bar carts, column charts, area charts, combo charts, etc. Users can also share and print the dashboards, making collaboration easier.

High informative and shareable reports

Power BI provides reports that combine various dashboards. Each of the dashboards may have a different visualization based on the customization and objective of the analysis. The accounts provide a summary of the data that it can present in different ways while offering insights. Additionally, users can share the reports among themselves.

Get Data feature

The Power BI Get Data feature allows the users to collect data from various sources, whether on-premise, cloud, or hybrid infrastructure. It also allows them to obtain relevant information from either structured or unstructured sources.

Datasets filtering

Power BI users can filter the datasets from single or multiple data sources before visualization. The filtration ensures that the tool works with smaller subsets containing more relevant data with the objective. Ideally, Power BI has several in-built data connectors, including but not limited to SQL database, MailChimp, Azure, Oracle, Salesforce, Facebook, and more. 

Natural Language Question and Answer 

Power BI comes with a Natural Language Q & A box that enables users to ask questions in natural language. 

Tableau vs. Power BI differences

Below are some of the major differences between Tableau and Power BI.

Ease of learning

It is much easier to learn and use Power Bi compared to Tableau. Conversely, Tableau does not have a very intuitive interface; hence a bit difficult to understand and use by users with limited data analysis skills. 

Data capacity

Power PI has a lower data capacity of up to 10GB that it can handle from local databases. However, businesses can put their data in the Azure cloud if they need to work on more significant amounts beyond this limit. Power Bi does not import the data for local databases but pulls it from the database. 

Tableau can handle higher capacity without degrading performance. It has a columnar-based structure that only stores unique values from each column. The feature allows it to efficiently fetch billions of rows, hence providing analysis of large amounts of data from multiple sources.

Power Bi vs. Tableau cost

Tableau is costlier than Power BI. The Tableau Pro version costs over $35 per month per user. However, Microsoft Power BI is cheaper since its professional version is $27.50 per month per user.

Customer support

Tableau has better support due to its larger customer base and community forum. Besides the forums, Tableau offers support via email, phone, or customer portal. On the other hand, Microsoft Power BI has limited customer support. However, users can still submit support tickets to Microsoft.

Supported data sources

Tableau can access a wide range of servers and databases compared to Power BI. Additionally, it can connect to numerous data sources and types. For example, it can access data from text files, excel, pdf, JSON, and more. The list of servers and databases is much bigger compared to Power BI.

Power BI has a limited number of data sources it can access. These servers and databases include SQL Server Database, SQL Server Analysis Services database, IBM DB2 database, Oracle Database, Redshift, Google Big Query, snowflake, SAP Business Warehouse Application Server, etc.

Tableau vs. Microsoft Power BI performance

Tableau provides faster and better performance, including when handling bulk data. 

On the other hand, Power BI provides fast and good performance but only when working with low volumes of data. But, it performs slower when handling bulk data.

Below is a comparison of the major differences between Tableau and Power BI.

Feature/OptionTableauPower BI
Type of toolBusiness intelligence and data analysis tool that provides great visualization and reports  Business data analytic tool that provides valuable insights.  
Cost  Costlier – Over $35 per month per user  Cheaper at $27.50 per month per user  
Speed  Tableau is faster and scalable, with the capacity to quickly handle large volumes of data.Power BI is fast, but only when handling small amounts of data.
Customer support  Better supportLimited support
Language support  Supports R language and Python  Supports R language-based visualizations
Embed options  Difficult to embed reports in different environments  Easy embedding reports  
Data sources  It supports more data sources and typesA smaller number of data sources  
Ideal target usersExperienced usersInexperienced and experienced users

PerformanceFaster and good performance at all timesFast and good performance, but only when handling smaller amounts of data
Ease of LearningDifficultEasy

Each of the above visualization tools has great features, benefits, and limitations depending on the business needs. Each has features that make it more suitable for specific business applications. For instance, Tableau is good for its speed and capabilities, while Power BI is affordable and easy to learn and use.

What makes Tableau better than Power BI

  • Powerful data discovery and exploration features -: The tool enables a user to analyze data quickly and thus get better insights and answers to various business-related questions. 
  • Connects to many different data sources and types: – ability to connect to a larger number of different data sources and types compared to other tools. 
  • Highly scalable and able to handle large volumes of data: – Besides connecting to a wide range of data types and sources, Tableau can handle large amounts of data compared to Power BI.
  • High speed and performance: Tableau offers data analysis and visualization faster, with high performance and reliability -features vital when dealing with massive amounts of data. 

What makes Power BI score higher than Tableau

  • User-friendly interface: – Power BI is easy to learn and use and does not require high technical skills. 
  • Better customization of the data visualization: – It is much easier to create custom visual representations using Power BI than in Tableau.
  • Lower costs. The Microsoft Power BI costs less than Tableau.
  • Local and cloud deployment options: – Power BI allows the use of either the desktop version, cloud service, or a combination of both, depending on the requirements. The local installation makes it easier to connect to business data, analyze it and create reports. Users can then use the Power BI cloud service to share reports online and collaborate with others. 


Power BI provides business intelligence to the general audience while helping companies improve their data analysis. Due to its lower cost, ease of learning, and use, Power BI is suitable for businesses with limited budgets and data science skills. It is ideal for individuals, midsize companies, and large enterprises who want to analyze limited amounts of data.

On the other hand, Tableau has more features and capabilities that provide more in-depth insights. Generally, it targets advanced users with data analysis skills. It is more suited for handling complex data at scale hence ideal for medium and large businesses with adequate budgets and skilled users. 

Share on:
  • Amos Kingatua
    Amos Kingatua is an ICT consultant and technical writer who assists businesses to set up, secure, and efficiently run a wide range of in-house and virtual data centers, IT systems and networks.

Thanks to our Sponsors

More great readings on Data Visualization

How to Create Histograms in Tableau
[Explained] How to Create Histograms in Tableau

Are you working with a huge dataset in Tableau, and bar charts aren’t enough to visualize the data efficiently or make out actionable insights from the chart visuals? You can go a step ahead and use histograms to visualize the insight you’ve been looking for.

Power Your Business

Some of the tools and services to help your business grow.
  • The text-to-speech tool that uses AI to generate realistic human-like voices.

    Try Murf AI
  • Web scraping, residential proxy, proxy manager, web unlocker, search engine crawler, and all you need to collect web data.

    Try Brightdata
  • is an all-in-one work OS to help you manage projects, tasks, work, sales, CRM, operations, workflows, and more.

    Try Monday
  • Intruder is an online vulnerability scanner that finds cyber security weaknesses in your infrastructure, to avoid costly data breaches.

    Try Intruder