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Tableau vs Power Bi

Last updated on August 23rd, 2023

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

Power BI and Tableau are both powerful business intelligence tools that enable data visualization and analysis. While they have some similarities, there are some differences between the two. In this article the differences in Tableau vs Power Bi are explained in detail such as cost difference, User Interface difference etc.

What is Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence and data visualization platform developed by Microsoft. It allows users to connect to various data sources, transform and model data, and create interactive visualizations, reports, and dashboards. Power BI provides a comprehensive set of tools and features that enable users to analyze data and gain insights to make informed business decisions.

For more details kindly read article on Microsoft Power BI Introduction. Following is the link – https://fullstacktutorialshub.com/power-bi/microsoft-power-bi-introduction/

What is Tableau?

Tableau is a powerful and widely used data visualization and business intelligence tool. It allows users to create interactive and dynamic visualizations, reports, and dashboards from various data sources. Tableau helps organizations analyze, interpret, and present data in a visually appealing and easily understandable format. It helps users create different charts, graphs, maps, dashboards, and stories for visualizing and analyzing data, to help in making business decisions.

Top 10 Differences Tableau vs Power Bi

Microsoft Power BI and Tableau are both powerful business intelligence (BI) tools which used for data visualization and analytics, but they have some key differences. Here are some of the main distinctions between Microsoft Power BI and Tableau :

1. Cost Difference of Power BI and Tableau:

In general, Power BI tends to have a lower cost compared to Tableau. The cost difference between Power BI and Tableau can vary depending on several factors, including the specific licensing options, deployment models, and additional features required. Here’s a general overview of the cost considerations for both tools:

Cost difference between power bi and Tableau

Power BI:

  1. Power BI Desktop: Power BI Desktop is available for free and you can downloaded and used without any licensing costs.
  2. Power BI Pro: Power BI Pro is a user-based subscription plan priced at $9.99 per user per month. It includes additional features like collaboration, content sharing, and the ability to publish reports to the Power BI service.
  3. Power BI Premium: Power BI Premium is an enterprise-level offering with flexible pricing based on capacity, allowing organizations to allocate resources as needed. The cost varies depending on factors like the number of users, data storage, and the level of processing required. Power BI Premium licensed is dedicated cloud compute and storage resources and is priced at $4,995/month.


  1. Tableau Desktop: Tableau Desktop is the authoring tool for creating visualizations and reports. It requires a license and it charge priced per user. As of my knowledge cutoff, the cost of Tableau Desktop Professional was around $70 per user per month, and Tableau Desktop Personal was approximately $35 per user per month. The yearly subscription costs around $1000.
  2. Tableau Server: Tableau Server is a self-hosted deployment option that allows sharing and collaboration within an organization. The prices for Tableau Server is user-based and can vary based on the number of users and the edition (e.g., Tableau Server or Tableau Server Core).
  3. Tableau Online: Tableau Online is the cloud-based offering of Tableau, and its pricing is typically based on a subscription model. The cost can vary depending on the number of users and the level of storage required.
  4. Tableau Creator: Tableau Creator is a bundle that includes Tableau Desktop, Tableau Prep, and a choice between Tableau Server or Tableau Online. The pricing for Tableau Creator is usually higher than the individual components purchased separately.

Remember that these prices are approximate and may have changed. To get the most accurate and up-to-date pricing information, It’s recommend visiting the official websites of Power BI and Tableau that are as follows :

2. User Interface Difference of Power BI and Tableau:

Power BI is more user-friendly for users familiar with other Microsoft Office applications due to its ribbon interface and integration with other Microsoft tools, making it easier to learn for those already using Microsoft products. Tableau, on the other hand, offers greater flexibility in terms of customization and advanced analytics, but may have a steeper learning curve for beginners. Ultimately, the ease of use will depend on the user’s background, specific requirements, and personal preferences. Here are some key differences in their user interfaces:

User Interface Difference Power BI and Tableau

Power BI:

  1. Ribbon Interface: Power BI has a ribbon interface similar to other Microsoft Office applications, making it familiar to users of Excel and other Microsoft tools.
  2. Drag-and-Drop Functionality: Power BI emphasizes a drag-and-drop approach for creating visuals, enabling users to easily build reports and dashboards by dragging fields onto a canvas.
  3. Visualization Panes: Power BI provides interactive visualization panes where users can modify visual properties, such as colors, fonts, and formatting.
  4. Data Modeling: Power BI incorporates Power Query and Power Pivot for data modeling, allowing users to transform and shape data within the tool itself.


  1. Canvas-based Design: Tableau utilizes a canvas-based design, where users can drag and drop fields onto the canvas to create visualizations and build interactive dashboards.
  2. Shelves and Cards: Tableau employs shelves and cards to define the dimensions and measures used in visualizations. Users can drop fields onto shelves and configure their properties.
  3. Worksheet and Dashboard Layouts: Tableau offers more flexibility in terms of worksheet and dashboard layouts, allowing users to position visual elements precisely and create complex layouts.
  4. Data Exploration: Tableau focuses on data exploration with its intuitive data connectors and data blending capabilities, enabling users to interactively explore and analyze data

Both Power BI and Tableau regularly introduce updates and new features, so the user interfaces may evolve over time.

3. Data Visualization Difference of Power BI and Tableau:

Power BI focus on intuitive data exploration and interactive visuals and it is more tightly integrated with Microsoft products, like Excel and SQL Server, whereas Tableau emphasizes advanced analytics and highly customizable visualizations. Tableau can connect to a wider range of data sources, including cloud-based databases and web services. Following are some difference in their approache:

Power BI:

  1. Intuitive Visualizations: Power BI offers a wide range of pre-built, interactive visualizations that are easy to create and customize through its drag-and-drop interface.
  2. Integration with Microsoft Stack: Power BI integrates well with other Microsoft tools, allowing users to leverage familiar functionalities and collaborate seamlessly within the Microsoft ecosystem.
  3. Storytelling Features: Power BI provides storytelling capabilities, enabling users to create narrative-driven reports by combining visuals, text, and images.


  1. Advanced Analytics: Tableau offers advanced analytics features, such as predictive modeling, statistical analysis, and forecasting, allowing users to perform complex calculations and gain deeper insights.
  2. Highly Customizable Visualizations: Tableau provides extensive customization options for visuals, including precise control over colors, formatting, and interactivity, enabling users to create highly tailored and unique visualizations.
  3. Advanced Mapping Capabilities: Tableau has robust mapping capabilities, allowing users to create geospatial visualizations, map layers, and perform spatial analysis.

4. Data Source Difference of Power BI and Tableau:

Power BI tends to drag slowly while handling bulk data whereas Tableau can handle large volumes of data quickly. Power BI supports a wide range of data sources, including various databases, cloud services, and on-premises files, while Tableau also supports multiple data sources but may require additional configuration for certain sources. However, there are some differences in their data source capabilities:

Power BI:

  1. Native Integration with Microsoft Products: Power BI seamlessly integrates with various Microsoft products, such as Excel, SQL Server, SharePoint, and Azure services, making it easy to connect and work with data from these sources.
  2. Power Query: Power BI incorporates Power Query, a data transformation and shaping tool, allowing users to connect to and preprocess data from diverse sources.
  3. Direct Query and Live Connection: Power BI supports Direct Query and live connections to certain databases, enabling real-time or near-real-time data access and analysis.


  1. Extensive Connectivity Options: Tableau offers a broad range of connectors and connectors available through partners, providing connectivity to various data sources, including databases, cloud services, web services, and more.
  2. Data Blending and Joining: Tableau has robust data blending and joining capabilities, allowing users to combine and analyze data from multiple sources seamlessly.
  3. Web Data Connector: Tableau provides a Web Data Connector feature, which allows users to connect to web-based data sources or create custom connectors to access data from non-standard sources.

5. Data Handling Difference Power BI and Tableau:

Power BI offers comprehensive data transformation capabilities through Power Query, enabling users to shape and preprocess data within the tool, while Tableau focuses on data blending and joining features to seamlessly integrate and analyze data from multiple sources.

Power BI tends to lag when encountering heavy data. It lags in performance when there is a huge data repository.

Tableau handles large data more efficiently than Power BI. Tableau works best when data is huge. That’s why Tableau is preferred when the use case has a huge data repository.

6. Functionality Differences Between Power BI and Tableau:

Power BI and Tableau are both powerful business intelligence and data visualization tools, but they have some differences in terms of functionality. Both Power BI and Tableau continuously add new features and improve their functionality.

Power BI:

It is often considered more user-friendly and integrates well with other Microsoft products. Power BI has robust data preparation features, a wide range of built-in visuals, and strong collaboration options. Power BI emphasizes AI capabilities


It offers more advanced data modeling and visualization capabilities. Tableau has a steeper learning curve, a larger library of interactive visualizations, and better support for complex data blending. Tableau supports advanced analytics through integration with tools like R and Python.

7. Data Preparation and Modeling Difference Between Power BI and Tableau:

While both Power BI and Tableau offer data preparation and modeling capabilities, Power BI excels in its user-friendly data transformation tool (Power Query Editor), while Tableau offers more advanced data blending and modeling options for complex analysis. When it comes to data preparation and modeling, Power BI and Tableau have some differences in their capabilities:

Power BI:

  1. Data preparation: Power BI provides a powerful data transformation tool called Power Query Editor. It allows users to connect to various data sources, clean and shape the data, and apply transformations such as filtering, merging, and pivoting. Power Query Editor supports a wide range of data manipulation functions and provides a user-friendly interface for data preparation tasks.
  2. Data modeling: Power BI provides a robust data modeling environment where users can define relationships between tables, create calculated columns and measures, and build hierarchies. Power BI’s data modeling capabilities are highly intuitive and user-friendly, with a drag-and-drop interface. It also supports the creation of calculated tables using DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) formulas.


  1. Data preparation: Tableau also offers data preparation features but they are not as advanced as Power BI’s. Users can perform basic data cleaning operations like joining, filtering, and aggregating data, but the capabilities are more limited compared to Power BI.
  2. Data modeling: Tableau, on the other hand, offers more advanced data modeling capabilities. It allows users to perform complex data blending from multiple data sources, perform data joins, create calculated fields using Tableau’s calculation language, and build hierarchies. Tableau’s data modeling features are more flexible and suitable for complex data analysis scenarios.

8. Deployment Difference Power BI and Tableau:

Power BI offers cloud-based Power BI Service and on-premises Power BI Report Server, while Tableau provides Tableau Server for on-premises or cloud deployment and Tableau Online as a cloud-based option. Here are the deployment differences between Power BI and Tableau:

Deployment Difference Power BI and Tableau

Power BI Deployment Options:

  1. Power BI Service: Power BI offers a cloud-based service called Power BI Service (previously known as Power BI Online or Power BI Pro). Users can publish their reports and dashboards to the Power BI Service, where they can be accessed by authorized users through web browsers. The Power BI Service provides collaboration features, such as sharing, commenting, and real-time collaboration on dashboards.
  2. Power BI Report Server: Power BI Report Server is an on-premises solution that allows organizations to host their Power BI reports and dashboards within their own network infrastructure. It provides a similar experience to the Power BI Service but allows organizations to maintain control over their data and infrastructure.

Tableau Deployment Options:

  1. Tableau Server: Tableau Server is an enterprise-level platform that allows users to publish, share, and manage Tableau visualizations and dashboards within their organization. Tableau Server can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. It provides centralized control over permissions, data sources, and access to visualizations. Users can access Tableau Server through web browsers or Tableau Desktop.
  2. Tableau Online: Tableau Online is a cloud-based platform provided by Tableau. It offers similar functionality to Tableau Server but is hosted in the cloud. Tableau Online provides easy sharing and collaboration on visualizations, without the need for on-premises infrastructure.
  3. Tableau Public: Tableau Public is a free cloud-based platform for creating and sharing public visualizations. It is designed for open data and public-facing dashboards. With Tableau Public, users can publish their visualizations to the Tableau Public website, where they can be accessed by anyone

9. Collaboration and Sharing of Power BI and Tableau:

Both Power BI and Tableau offer collaboration and sharing capabilities, with Power BI integrating well with the Microsoft ecosystem and Tableau providing its own collaboration platform. Power BI emphasizes seamless collaboration within the Microsoft environment, while Tableau offers flexible sharing options through Tableau Server or Tableau Online. Here are the differences between Power BI and Tableau in terms of collaboration and sharing capabilities:

Power BI:

  1. Collaboration: Power BI integrates well with other Microsoft tools such as SharePoint and Teams, making collaboration seamless within the Microsoft ecosystem. Users can collaborate on reports and dashboards, co-author content, and provide comments and annotations. Power BI also offers real-time collaboration features, enabling multiple users to work on the same report simultaneously. It supports content collaboration through shared workspaces and allows users to create and join groups for collaboration. Additionally, Power BI offers data governance features to control access, permissions, and security within the organization.
  1. Sharing: Power BI offers various sharing options, including sharing reports and dashboards through the Power BI service. Users can share content with others by providing direct access or by creating and distributing links. Power BI also supports embedding reports and dashboards into other applications or websites for wider accessibility. Sharing can be done with individuals both inside and outside the organization, with the ability to control permissions and access levels.


  1. Collaboration: Tableau provides similar sharing options by allowing users to publish and share dashboards and workbooks. Users can share content by providing direct access or generating shareable links. Tableau also supports embedding visualizations into external applications or websites. With Tableau Server or Tableau Online, users can publish dashboards and allow others to access and interact with the shared content.
  2. Sharing: Tableau also provides collaboration features, allowing users to share workbooks, dashboards, and data sources with others. Collaboration in Tableau can be facilitated through Tableau Server or Tableau Online, which enable users to publish and share interactive dashboards with designated individuals or groups. Tableau Server allows for centralized control and administration of content, while Tableau Online offers cloud-based collaboration.

10. Job Availability & Salary Range of Power BI and Tableau:

Both Power BI and Tableau have been in high demand in the job market due to their popularity in the field of data visualization and business intelligence. Both tools have a strong presence in the industry and are widely used by organizations of various sizes across different sectors. It’s important to note that the job availability for Power BI and Tableau can vary depending on factors such as geographic location, industry trends, and the specific needs of organizations.

Job Availability & Salary Range of Power BI and Tableau

The salary ranges for Power BI and Tableau professionals can vary based on several factors, including geographic location, years of experience, job role, industry, and the specific skills and certifications possessed. It’s important to note that salary ranges are subject to change and can fluctuate over time due to market conditions and demand.

Generally, both Power BI and Tableau professionals can earn competitive salaries due to the high demand for their skills. However, the specific salary range can differ based on the factors mentioned above. In some cases, Tableau professionals may command slightly higher salaries due to Tableau’s longer presence in the market and its reputation as a leading data visualization tool. As per Glassdoor data average salary range of Power Bi Developers is 3 lac – 12 lac p.a. & average salary range of Tableau Developer is 4 lac – 15 lac p.a. in India. For salary range options in real-time you can check Glassdoor official website- https://www.glassdoor.co.in

Ultimately, the choice between Tableau and Power BI depends on your specific requirements, budget, existing technology stack, and personal preferences.

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