3 Replies Latest reply on Dec 29, 2016 9:36 AM by Shawn Wallwork

# Difference between Dimension and Discrete

Hi, I have been reading on the difference between discrete and continuous which makes some sort of sense. But can someone explain the difference between Dimension and Discrete because I feel the same way about them in my head (i.e Group by, Category, Headers) Some advice on how to separate these two in my head would be greatly appreciated!

• ###### 1. Re: Difference between Dimension and Discrete

Hi Rachel! Dimensions vs measures and discrete vs continuous are two separate matters. Dimensions can be both discrete and continuous. The difference between dimensions and measures is (mainly) that dimensions are fields that are used to slice and describe data records (e.g. names, dates, IDs, geographical info), while measures are the value fields of those records that will be aggregated (summed, averaged, etc) to arrive at some final result.

One thing that you'll need to understand is that whether a field is a dimension or measure can be determined by your input, especially for numeric fields. For instance, notice that you can convert most numeric fields from measures to dimensions and vice versa. This is especially noticeable if you have any numeric ID fields, which Tableau tends to treat as measures by default, even though they should doubtlessly be treated as dimensions. Once you tell Tableau that a numeric field is a dimension, it treats it that way; it could just as easily treat it as a measure.

That being said, string and date fields can't be measures unless they're aggregated calculated fields.

• ###### 2. Re: Difference between Dimension and Discrete

Thank you for the explanation - however can you advise on the difference between dimension and discrete?

• ###### 3. Re: Difference between Dimension and Discrete

Maybe this will help:

--Shawn

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