6 Replies Latest reply on Jun 13, 2018 9:41 PM by Manaswi Nalwad

    Tableau Desktop

    Manaswi Nalwad

      How tableau is distributing data into dimension and measures?

      How tableau knows what's discrete data and whats contentious data ?

        • 1. Re: Tableau Desktop

          Hello Manaswi,


          I'm curious about this too


          According to Dimensions and Measures, Blue and Green


          When you connect to a new data source, Tableau assigns each field in the data source to either the Dimensions area or the Measures area of the Data pane, depending on the type of data the field contains.


          Not found in any official articles, but just a guess from my experience, some rules might look like,


          • Data type is detected from the majority of the data rows
          • Data type string is always auto-assigned as Dimension-Discrete-string
          • Data type date/date-time is always assigned as Dimension-Discrete-date/date-time
          • Field names contribute to the detection, for example
            • field names with "xx ID" are auto-assigned as Dimension-Discrete-number
            • field names with "city" are auto-assigned as Dimension-Discrete-string with Geo role


          Has anyone else got any other rules?





          • 2. Re: Tableau Desktop
            Ritesh Bisht

            Hi Lei,


            Your observation is quite good.


            Let me just try to add few points here  (hope I am OK )


            Measures are numerical values that mathematical functions work on. For example, a sales revenue column is a measure because you can find out a total or average the data. Dimensions are qualitative and do not total a sum. For example, sales region, employee, location, or date are dimensions.





            With respect to TABLEAU


            1) Any non numeric data type will come under Dimension & everything under Dimension should be Discrete by default (All numeric data-set will come under Measure with the exception of ID )

            • With one exception as  Lei mentioned about
            • field names with "xx ID" are auto-assigned as Dimension-Discrete-number
            • In fact I logged a case to confirm the same and Tableau team confirmed that since nature of ID say Order ID , Employee ID (Anything related to identity should come under Dimension which will be Discrete in nature  so this is the only exception )


            2) You can change dimensions to measures or vice versa only where applicable.


            Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.59.51 AM.png





            Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.59.38 AM.png






            Dimension makes more sense when you make selection ( select city,    select type , select  name )


            Measure makes more sense with aggregation  ( sum , avg , max , min etc )




            When should I think of converting Measure to Dimension ?


            Classic example is of again ID and the reason of exception is that it will not make any sense if you add Order ID , Employee ID or any numeric fact

            having nature of Identity so Tableau will internally convert that to Dimension but if your column name which is of type ID is not displayed as ID then you can also convert like above.


            You can check my video on that DISCRETE VS CONTINUOUS -The difference Demo..Tableau - YouTube


            Hope it helps !




            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Tableau Desktop

              Thank you Retish


              The combinations of the groups are the essence of Tableau Desktop Show Me Magic.


              Data Type (string, number, date)

              Data Role (dimension, measure)

              Data Interpretation (discrete, continuous)





              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Tableau Desktop
                Ritesh Bisht

                Nice collaboration here Lei , Thanks

                • 5. Re: Tableau Desktop
                  Ritesh Bisht

                  Hi Manaswi,


                  Please feel free to mark any answer as CORRECT and kindly close the thread.




                  • 6. Re: Tableau Desktop
                    Manaswi Nalwad

                    Hello ,


                    Apology for late reply .


                    Thank you Ritesh and LEI  .


                    This is very helpful .