Connecting to Excel data in Tableau

Find out how to get data from Excel into Tableau and how to connect to Microsoft Excel data sources

How to connect to data in an Excel file in Tableau

If you’re new to Tableau one of your first questions might be ‘how do I enter my data in Tableau?’. It’s a fair question, if you’re used to using Excel or other spreadsheet programs you’ll know that you just enter, paste or type your data into a sheet and then you can start making graphs and pivot tables to analyse your data.

With Tableau it’s a little different as you don’t actually enter your data into Tableau, instead you connect to existing data from almost any source and use Tableau to analyse and visualise your data.

In this beginner’s mini tutorial we show you how to get your data from Excel into Tableau in minutes!

The video below shows how to connect to an Excel file in Tableau:

And here are the step by step instructions:

  1. Open a new Tableau workbook.
  2. You’re immediately taken to the Tableau start page with a blue pane on the left to select a data source to connect to.
  3. Click Microsoft Excel in the To a file section.
  4. Navigate to the file you want to connect to, highlight it and click open.
  5. Tableau then automatically takes you to the data source page, if your file only has one sheet then this is automatically brought onto the data pane for you. If you have multiple sheets simply drag and drop the one(s) with the data you want to use.
  6. Your data is then previewed in the data pane.
  7. If you’re happy with the data click the orange Sheet 1 tab at the bottom left.
  8. Tableau creates your first sheet and your data is now available in the data pane to start visualising and analysing!

Note: We cover how to join and relate multiple data sources and sheets in a later tutorial.

What next?

Check out the following tutorials and courses on connecting to data in Tableau: