Power BI vs Tableau: Top 8 Differences

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04th Jan, 2023
Power BI vs Tableau: Top 8 Differences

Analytics and visualization have emerged as the winning strategies in businesses where data is viewed as the new oil. Companies need to comprehend the condition of the current market by analyzing massive datasets in real-time if they want to survive and expand in today's cutthroat economy. Business intelligence enables one to take appropriate action and monitor the efficacy of numerous teams engaged in various initiatives.  

As more and more BI (Business Intelligence) tools are released onto the market, competition is getting fiercer. To remain competitive, one tool must be created that combines various features, including pricing, usability, and brand awareness. Do you want to know which tools perfectly satisfy these standards? Let's start a discussion between Power BI and Tableau. 

Power BI vs Tableau: Comparison Table

PropertiesTableauPower BI
CostTableau is more costly; the pro edition costs over $35 per month for each user.Compared to Tableau, Power BI is less expensive.
Tableau offers a wide range of tools for data visualization and is appropriate for fast handling large amounts of data.Utilizing Power BI is simple. While the data volume is small, it operates more quickly and effectively but becomes sluggish when processing mass data.
User Interface
Tableau has an intelligent interface and allows you to create and edit dashboards according to your requirements.Power BI has a user-friendly user interface and is compatible with other Microsoft applications.
Data Sources
Tableau Software can access many data sources and servers.The thing about Power BI is that it supports different data sources.
The ease of Using
Tableau provides some crucial advantages for detailed data exploration and visualization.Power BI has the advantage of ease of use because it is based on a user interface rooted in Microsoft Office 365.
Programming Support
Compared to Power BI, Tableau integrates much better with R.Power BI supports Data Analysis Expression and the M language for data manipulation and modeling.
Data Visualization
Tableau allows its users to customize dashboards specifically for devices.Power BI provides easy-to-use drag-and-drop functionality.
Machine Learning
Tableau supports Python machine learning features.Power BI takes advantage of Microsoft's business analytics.

The business intelligence market has multiplied in recent years and is anticipated to do so going forward. You should be data-driven if you want to pursue your career in Business Intelligence, Analytics, or Data Science. KnowledgeHut offers Business Intelligence and Visualization classes that will help you hone your skills in Business Intelligence. 

Tableau vs Power BI: Key Differences

What is Tableau?

Tableau is a visual analytics platform changing how we use data to solve problems – empowering people and organizations to get the most out of their data. It is an excellent data visualization and business intelligence tool for reporting and analyzing vast volumes of data. It helps users create charts, graphs, maps, dashboards, and stories to visualize and analyze data to help them make business decisions. 

10 important properties of Tableau:

Informative Dashboards
combine images, visual objects, text, and other components to present a comprehensive view of your data.
Supports numerous data sources
It connects to and fetches data from a variety of data sources using Tableau and supports a wide range of data sources, including local files, spreadsheets, relational and non-relational databases, data warehouses, big data, and on-cloud data.
Connectivity with Live and In-Memory Data
Allows the user to freely combine data from several types of data sources.
Provides Great Security
Data connections and user access feature a fail-safe security system based on authentication and authorization mechanisms.
Easy Collaboration & Sharing
Easy ways for users to communicate with one another and exchange data in real-time in the form of visualizations, sheets, dashboards, and so on
Provides a Mobile Version
It offers a mobile version of the app and Dashboards and reports may be created in a mobile-friendly format.
Advanced Visualization Capabilities
It allows you to create visualizations as simple as a bar chart or a pie chart, as well as more complex ones like a histogram, Gantt chart, Bullet chart, Motion chart, Treemap, Boxplot, and many others.
Availability of Maps
It comes with a lot of pre-installed map data, including cities, postal codes, administrative borders, and so on.
The Ask Data Tool
It simplifies data manipulation by allowing us to conduct basic Google searches.
Trend Lines & Predictive Analysis
The use of time series and forecasting by Tableau is another really useful feature. Creating trend lines and forecasts is straightforward with Tableau’s powerful backend and dynamic front end.

what is tableau
Tableau Interface

What is a Power BI?

Power BI is business analytics software offered by Microsoft, which enables users to share insights and display their data. It is a cloud-based suite of business intelligence and data visualization tools that started as an Excel add-in. Its mission is to "create a data-driven culture with business intelligence for all." Power BI uses Microsoft systems like Excel, Azure, and SQL, so it's easy to pick up for those already using Microsoft products. The platform has more than 100 connectors and has drag-and-drop functionality, making it easy to use.

Power BI Dashboard
Power BI dashboard

Power BI vs Tableau: Detailed Comparision

History of Power BI and Tableau

Ron George created power BI in the summer of 2010, and the first release was made accessible for public download on July 11, 2011. Power BI Desktop, Power Bi Service, Power BI Mobile Apps, Power BI Gateway, and Power BI Report Server are its essential elements. Because of the features of the Power BI platform, a software review organization named Gartner.com named Microsoft as the Leader in its "2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platform" in February 2019. 

Tableau Desktop 1.0 was made available in 2004. Tableau Software was established in Mountain View, California, in 2003. Salesforce purchased Tableau on August 1, 2019. 

Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server, Tableau Online, Tableau Vizable, Tableau Public, and Tableau Reader are all included in Tableau products. 

The Software and Information Industry Association awarded Tableau "Best Business Intelligence Solution" in 2008. 

Differences between Power BI and Tableau in various aspects are shown below across 10 components: 

Cost of Power BI and Tableau

Power BI is less expensive compared to Tableau when compared to annual membership costs. Let’s have a look at Power BI and Tableau cost comparison. 

Compared to Tableau, Power BI is less expensive. Less than $10 is paid per user per month for the Power BI professional edition. The annual membership costs around $100. Power BI Premium costs $4,995 per month and is licensed by trustworthy cloud computing and storage resources. 

Tableau is more costly; the pro edition costs over $35 per month for each user. The yearly membership fee is about $1000. The monthly cost of Tableau Creator is about $70, whereas the monthly cost of Tableau Viewer is $12. If you run a small firm or startup, you may choose Power BI and upgrade to Tableau. 

Features of Power BI vs Tableau

Power BI Features 

1. Customizable dashboards: A dashboard typically comprises several widgets and visualizations in Power BI. A widget is a single chart or other graphic produced through data analysis. Combining one or more widgets, you can generate Power BI reports. 

2. Power BI Service: It enables users to share reports or dashboards on the cloud and local servers with other users. With Power BI, we can add more connectors, create workspaces where our partners can work with us on reports and dashboards, and enable AI features like Power Query for a seamless data flow, making it easier for users to work on Power. BI projects. 

3. Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) functions: Data analysis expressions in Power BI are a set of predefined codes used to perform operations on data. There are currently more than 200 DAX functions in the Power BI function library that can be used to streamline business data analysis. 

4. Natural language question box: Power Q&A enables users to search data, transform it and create visuals by asking questions in natural language. Users need to double-click the dashboard and type in the variable they want to add, selecting the desired chart or chart name, and Power Q&A will create the visual. 

Tableau Features 

1. Tableau dashboards: Tableau dashboards may show the data as stories and include several filters, layouts, and styles. They allow users to copy them or their pieces from one report to another and apply a custom filter. 

2. Data sources in Tableau: Tableau has several data sourcing methods for obtaining data from various sources, including relational and non-relational databases, data warehouses, on-premises, and on-cloud data, big data, and more. We may construct a secure link with data sources to generate visually interactive reports and obtain a combined data view. 

3. Data connectors: Numerous data connections are supported by Tableau, including those for Dropbox, SQL Server, Salesforce, Google Sheets, Presto, Hadoop, Amazon Athena, and Cloudera. 

4. Advanced visualizations: Users can customize reports by adding different Tableau graphics based on their needs. Tableau offers a wide variety of visualizations, from simple pie or bar charts to more complex treemaps, boxplots, histograms, motion charts, Gantt charts, bullet charts, donut charts, etc. 

User Interface of Power BI and Tableau

Power BI has a user-friendly user interface and is compatible with other Microsoft applications. The Power BI interface is easy to use and learn. It's easy to use and increases your productivity. Report View, Data View, and Model View are the three views offered by Power BI Desktop that you can choose from on the left side of the canvas. 

Tableau has an intelligent interface that allows you to create and edit dashboards according to your requirements. It has a nice desktop that encourages you to experiment with data and get brilliant results. The workspace area has various tabs and shelves, a toolbar, a sidebar, a data source page, a status bar, and sheet tabs. 

Data Sources in Power BI and Tableau

The thing about Power BI is that it supports different data sources. Still, compared to Tableau, it has limited access to other databases and servers. Some examples are Microsoft Excel, Text/CSV, folders, MS SQL Server, Access DB, Oracle Database, IBM DB2, MySQL database, PostgreSQL database and etc. 

Tableau Software can access many data sources and servers such as Excel, text files, PDF, JSON, statistics files, Amazon Redshift, Cloudera Hadoop, Google Analytics, dropbox, google sheets, google drive, and more. 

Ease of Using Power BI and Tableau

Power BI has the advantage of ease of use because it is based on a user interface rooted in Microsoft Office 365 that most end users are already familiar with. 

Tableau provides some crucial advantages for detailed data exploration and visualization. Tableau also incorporates natural language capabilities into its software. This helps in finding solutions to complex problems by better understanding the data. 

The business intelligence market has multiplied in recent years and is anticipated to do so going forward. You should be data-driven if you want to pursue your career in Business Intelligence, Analytics, or Data Science. KnowledgeHut Business Intelligence and Visualization classes will help you hone your skills in Business Intelligence. 

How is Tableau different from Power BI?

Power BI leverages existing Microsoft systems like Azure, SQL, and Excel to create data visualizations that don't break the bank. This is an excellent option for those already working with Microsoft products such as Azure and Excel. It's also a perfect low-cost option for small-medium businesses and startups that need data visualization but don't have a lot of extra capital. 

Tableau specializes in creating beautiful visualizations, but its advertising is aimed at corporate environments with data engineers and bigger budgets. There is a public (free) version of the tool, but with limited options. The more you pay, the more you can access Tableau, including benchmarking data from third parties. The software also has a non-profit utility and an academic version. 

Programming Support for Power BI and Tableau

Power BI supports Data Analysis Expression and the M language for data manipulation and modeling. It can also connect to the R programming language using Microsoft's Revolution Analysis but is only available to enterprise-level users. 

Compared to Power BI, Tableau integrates much better with R. The Tableau Software Development Kit can be implemented using four programming languages – C, C++, Java, and Python. Connecting to these programming languages can create even more powerful visualizations. 

Data Visualization in Power BI and Tableau 

Power BI provides easy-to-use drag-and-drop functionality. It provides features that make data visually appealing. Power BI offers a wide range of detailed and attractive visualizations to create reports and dashboards. In Power BI, you can query your data to get meaningful information. 

Tableau allows its users to customize dashboards specifically for devices. It provides interactive visuals that support ongoing insights. It can turn queries into visualizations and let you ask questions, spot trends, and identify opportunities. You don't need prior knowledge to work with Tableau as it provides built-in spreadsheet calculations for creating reports and dashboards 

Machine Learning in Power BI and Tableau

Power BI takes advantage of Microsoft's business analytics, which includes platforms such as Azure Machine Learning, SQL Server-based Analysis Services, real-time data streaming, and many Azure offerings. It helps to understand the data and analyze the trends and patterns in the data.

Tableau supports Python machine learning features. This allows us to perform machine learning operations on datasets and forecast data.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Power BI  and Tableau

Here is a list of the benefits of these Business Intelligence tools before concluding this Tableau vs. Power BI debate: 

Advantages of Power BI

  1. Price: Power BI provides all features and services for $10 per user per month. With Power BI Pro, the user can access the full range of Power BI components and Microsoft services such as Cortana to trigger voice queries. 
  2. MSFT Integration: Power BI can be easily integrated with Azure/O365 and anything else created by Microsoft, which is a huge advantage for users as all operations run smoothly on Microsoft. 
  3. Ease of use: For beginners, Power BI provides an intuitive learning curve, and the interface resembles that of MS Excel, making it easy to navigate. In Power BI, we can take advantage of the DAX query language and run queries on datasets in natural language. 
  4. ETL/Discovery suite: Compared to Tableau, Power BI has a robust set of tools for implementing ETL functions. Data preparation accounts for more than 90% of all reporting requirements, and Power BI can directly create these data marts for reporting without the use of third-party software. 

Advantages of Tableau

  1. High performance: Tableau provides the user with high data visualization and transformation. It also works faster on large data sets with greater efficiency. This powerful feature gives Tableau an edge over other Data Analytics toolkits. 
  2. Connect to multiple data sources: Tableau can connect to various data sources such as Hadoop, DB Technologies, SAP, and Google BigQuery. This improves the quality of data analysis and allows the user to create informative reports. Reports with such a connection provide accurate information about the situation and help the user make better decisions. Tableau uses languages like Python and R for complex spreadsheet calculations and avoids performance degradation. 
  3. Thriving Community and Forum: Through collaboration and sharing, Tableau fans provide valuable insights and community resources to help newcomers increase their data analysis and reporting knowledge. By sharing their experiences with the software, forum visitors help each user solve their problems. 
  4. Mobile-friendly: With mobile apps, Tableau allows users to have all the statistics at their fingertips. Tableau apps are available for Android and iOS devices and support all Tableau Desktop features. 

Disadvantages of Power BI and Tableau

We have discussed the best parts of using these tools; now, let's focus a little on the cons or disadvantages of these tools. 

Disadvantages of Power BI

  1. Relationships between tables: Power BI is prone to problems when processing data that has complex relationships with tables. In many cases, you must carefully create data models with unique fields just to join tables. 
  2. User Interface: Power BI has a cluttered interface with many icon options that prevent reports and dashboards from being displayed. In addition, the label in Power BI has limited functionality. 
  3. iOS Compatibility: Power BI does not have a compatible option for Mac desktop users. Power BI cannot be installed directly on iOS; a virtual machine must be installed to run Power BI Desktop. 
  4. Limited Excel integration: Excel integration is a significant benefit of Power BI, but only data up to 150,000 rows can be downloaded, which can be very limiting sometimes. 

Power BI is an excellent tool for analyzing and visualizing data; the pros far outweigh the cons. 

Disadvantages of Tableau

  1. High cost: Tableau is not too expensive compared to BI giants like IBM and Oracle. However, the license is more costly when placed in the same bucket with other competitors such as Power BI. This won't be a problem for large organizations, but it will be a significant disadvantage for small and medium-sized companies where money is central to all decisions. 
  2. Steep Learning Curve: In light of the learning curve, Tableau is quite steep as the user needs proper data analysis training and decent R and Python programming skills. Also, data extraction, transformation, data modeling, and visualization are entirely manual, which means we can face data incompetence when connecting our data sources to Tableau. On the other hand, if we know the interface well in Power BI, we just write our queries in our language using Power Query or drag and drop our data columns into the visuals. 
  3. Time and resource-intensive staff training: Tableau does not require technical knowledge to perform basic operations. However, like Power BI maintains user-friendliness for complex processes, Tableau does not. Tableau users must undergo comprehensive staff training to perform such functions. 
  4. Complex integration with Microsoft BI solutions: Microsoft has many BI solutions and cloud services that multiple organizations use. While Power BI can easily integrate with them and provides better efficiency with features like Power Q&A and Power BI Service, on Tableau, integration with products like Dynamics 365, Microsoft Flow, and Office 365 is a bit exhausting because of the only one-per process.

Power BI vs Tableau: Which is Better?

So which is better, Power BI or Tableau? Your choice depends on how you need to use these tools in your business. Power BI is the winner of Tableau versus Power BI due to its ease of use, similarity to Excel, and affordable pricing making it an excellent choice for many businesses. 

Tableau still has unique benefits that many companies and analysts will appreciate. It's better for larger volumes of data and offers beautiful data visualizations and more excellent customization options than Power BI. 


From the Microsoft Power BI vs. Tableau discussion above, you can see which tool will serve you better, keeping in mind our requirements. A non-data analyst user will prefer Power BI over Tableau because it is not as intuitive and requires more learning effort. So Power BI wins in terms of ease of use and simplicity. However, when it comes to speed and capacity to process complex data, Tableau is the go-to. There is a guarantee of the quality of the visualizations that users can generate with Tableau, especially for medium to large enterprises with no spending constraints. 

Here we have brought you only the pros and cons of Power BI vs. Tableau. There are other options to choose from, such as Business Intelligence tools for your business. But now you've gained enough knowledge to select either Power BI or Tableau based on your needs. 

Suppose you want to pursue a career in Business Intelligence, Analytics, or Data Science. KnowledgeHut Business Intelligence and Visualization classes will help you hone your skills in Business Intelligence. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is Power BI or Tableau easier to learn?

For new users and non-data analysts, Power BI is simpler to use. Tableau is recognized to have a more demanding learning curve; it is more prevalent among seasoned data analysts. 

2. What are the advantages of Power BI over Tableau?

Power BI's advantages over Tableau are: 

  1. Its familiar Office 365 interface is quicker and easier to grasp, but Tableau's Visual Query Language is more user-friendly than Power BI's DAX. 
  2. Small teams can afford Power BI more easily. For bigger enterprises, Tableau might be a better choice. 
  3. Due to its close connection with other Microsoft platforms like Azure Machine Learning, Power BI has more sophisticated machine learning capabilities. 

3. What pays more, Tableau or Power BI?

Depending on your experience and skill level, salaries for Tableau developer positions might range from 4L to 9L or more. Depending on your experience and qualifications, the pay for Power BI developer employment might vary from 3L to 10L or even more. Tableau vs. Power BI salary comparison shows that the salary of Power BI and Tableau falls in the same range and varies per experience and skill. 


Amit Kishore


Experienced R&D Data Scientist with a demonstrated history of working experience in predictive analytics, deep learning, and Business Intelligence. Hands-on experience leveraging machine learning, data modeling, cloud computing, business intelligence, deep learning, and statistical modeling to solve challenging business problems with value addition.Strong engineering professional with a master's and bachelor's in Industrial and Industrial Engineering and Management from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.

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