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Difference between Tableau and Power BI

Updated Jul 03, 2019

For people looking for the best data visualization or Business Intelligence (BI) tools, the search results point towards two popular front-runners - Power BI and Tableau. As these products depict close similarity and have quite a few features in common, it becomes important to ascertain which product would best work to their advantage. Here, we intend to explain what is Power BI, what is Tableau, the differences between Power BI and Tableau, the main features of Tableau and Power BI, etc. to help users chalk their way forward with the most useful product. We begin with a comparative chart of Power BI vs. Tableau.

Tableau vs Power BI

Comparison Table

Basis of Difference


Power BI

Overview of features

Tableau is equipped with robust and scalable BI tools that help data visualization of various organizations and business users. It presents simple drag-and-drop tools and features. With Tableau, users can analyze key data, create innovative visualizations/reports, share critical insights, etc.

Tableau can embed dashboards to link up with existing business applications like SharePoint to enable quick analytics.

Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence platform that is cloud-based. It gives a comprehensive overview of the primary, critical data of any organization. This platform simplifies the sharing of data and its evaluation by connecting to different data sources.  

Power BI provides scalable dashboards which enables easier selection of different various visualizations in the form of blueprints. They also allow for ‘drag and drop’ of data elements from the navigation channel into visualizations.



Tableau allows for the creation of 24 types of basic visualizations. These incorporate line charts, heat maps, scatter plots, etc. This program has a user-friendly interface that does not need coding knowledge for developing complex and sophisticated visualizations.

Power BI makes uploading of data sets very easy for users. They can select from various visualizations like blueprints, insert data from sidebars into visualizations, etc. Users can also create visualizations through queries in natural languages. The Cortana personal assistant can do this via Power BI Online.

Data sources

Tableau provides support for numerous data connectors that include online analytical processing (OLAP), big data aids like NoSQL and Hadoop, and different cloud options.

As and when data is added from multiple sources, the resultant relationships can be automatically determined by Tableau. This platform allows users to alter data links, create them as per company’s preferences, etc.

Power BI connects to the external sources of users; these sources include SAP HANA, MySQL, JSON, etc.  When data is added through multiple sources by users, the relationships are capable of being assessed by Power BI via automatic channels.

Users can link with third-party databases, Microsoft Azure databases, as well as online services of the likes of Salesforce and Google Analytics very easily.

Customer Support

Direct support is capable of being attained via email and phone and also by checking into the official customer portal for the sake of submitting support tickets.

Tableau provides users with a comprehensive knowledge base. This base can be divisible into three subscription categories: Server, Desktop and Online. They can also access support resources that serve as customized versions of the software. Support is also offered through the Tableau community forums, events and training sessions online.  

Customer support functionality in this program is limited for users when they have the free account. Support tickets can be submitted by all users with the paid accounts receiving faster support.

Power BI provides robust support resources /documentation that includes guided learning, samples of partners using the platform, user community forums, etc.

What is Power BI?

Power BI refers to a useful collection of apps, connectors and software services that operate in unison to transform unrelated data sources into visually immersive, coherent, interactive insights.

  • Power BI allows for easy connectivity with data sources. It visualizes and discovers all that is important and allows users to share the same with other parties as and when needed.
  • Power BI is simple and fast. It creates quick insights from Excel spreadsheets and local databases with ease.
  • Power BI is robust, enterprise-grade and equipped to handle extensive modeling along with real-time analytics and custom development.
  • Along with playing the role of a personal report/visualization tool, this program also serves as the decision and analytics engine for handling group projects, entire corporations or divisions.

What is Tableau?

Tableau allows quick and reliable analysis of data. It creates visualizations in the form of dashboards and worksheets. The dashboards offer actionable insights to drive business interests forward.

  • Tableau products are known to operate in well-conceived virtualized environments. In such environments, they are configured with the aid of proper underlying OS and hardware.
  • Users can transform data into reliable, actionable insights with the help of Tableau; overall, it is useful for exploring limitless visual analytics.
  • One of the most important tasks conducted by Tableau relates to connecting and extract data stored in different places and platforms. It can also extract the data saved in a variety of databases such as Excel, pdf, Amazon web services, Oracle, etc.

Key difference between Power BI and Tableau

The key Differences between Power BI and Tableau are as given below:

1. For users looking for a low budget option, Power BI is the go-to solution. Power BI is an essential data visualization tool. On the other hand, for users looking for robust BI tools for incorporating data visualization tools for organizations/businesses, Tableau is the way to go.

2. While both platforms provide extensive digital resources that help users self-serve, more comprehensive and user-friendly customer support in terms of one-to-one contact is provided by Tableau. Power BI users having a free account gain limited support, whereas those with Pro/Premium accounts acquire faster support.

3. Tableau provides better support for the purpose of linking distinct data warehouses. On the other hand, Power BI is integrated heavily with Microsoft’s portfolio, Azure cloud platform, etc.


In conclusion, we can say that both Tableau and Power BI showcase their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to comparing BI tools. Go for Tableau if you wish to integrate infinite datapoints in your analysis and receive comprehensive support options. Opt for Power BI if you are looking for more affordable intelligence solutions for your business. In case you have any further queries with regards to the differences between Power BI and Tableau then do write to us, we will get back to you at the earliest .