Mastering Tableau SQL: A Comprehensive Guide

Published: May 1, 2024 - 3 min read

Julian Alvarado

Are you ready to take your Tableau skills to the next level? Learning how to leverage the power of SQL within Tableau can revolutionize your data analysis and visualization capabilities.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of writing and executing custom SQL queries in Tableau, giving you the tools to unlock deeper insights and create truly compelling dashboards.

Getting Started with SQL in Tableau

Teams often rely on updated spreadsheets or databases to power their Tableau dashboards. However, writing custom SQL queries to extract and transform this data can be a time-consuming and complex task.

Coefficient simplifies this process by allowing you to write custom SQL queries directly within your spreadsheet, making it easy to get the data you need into Tableau.

Coefficient simplifies this process by allowing you to write custom SQL queries directly within your spreadsheet

Now, let’s dive into how you can view custom SQL queries in Tableau. 

Getting Started with Custom SQL Queries in Tableau

Step 1: Connect to Your Database

The first step is to connect Tableau to the database or server that houses the data you want to query.

Choose a server you want to connect to from the list.

Coefficient simplifies this process by allowing you to write custom SQL queries directly within your spreadsheet

Step 2: Select the Appropriate Project and Dataset

Once connected, navigate to the project and dataset that includes the table you plan to query.

Choose the project and dataset that houses the table you want to query using SQL in Tableau.

Step 3: Bring the Table into Tableau’s Workspace

To start working with your desired table, simply drag and drop it into Tableau’s workspace area or double-click the table name. In this example, we will be using the ‘Sales’ table.

Add the table to Tableau's workspace by dragging and dropping or double-clicking it.

Step 4: Convert the Table to a Custom SQL View

Right-click on the table you want to query and select the option to convert it into a custom SQL view.

Transform the table into a custom SQL view by right-clicking and choosing the appropriate option.

Step 5: Select the Data for Your Custom SQL Query

In the custom SQL editor view, choose the columns or data elements you want to include in your query.

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Pick the columns or data you want to include in your custom SQL query within the editor.

Step 6: Write Your Custom SQL Query

Now it’s time to craft your custom SQL query. Click the ‘New Custom SQL’ in the sidebar to open the editor.

Craft your custom SQL query in the editor, incorporating filters, conditions, and calculations as needed.

In the editor, input the complete query, including any necessary filters, conditions, or calculations to obtain the desired data view.

Step 7: Preview the Query Results

Before finalizing your custom query, preview the results to ensure that the returned data meets your expectations. This preview step allows you to identify and correct any potential errors.

Review the results of your custom SQL query to verify that it returns the expected data.

Step 8: Generate a Custom SQL Table

If the query results look satisfactory, click “OK” to create a new table in Tableau based on your custom SQL query.

Create a new table in Tableau based on your custom SQL query by clicking "OK".

Optimizing Your Tableau SQL Workflow

  • Use Tableau’s auto-complete feature to write SQL queries faster.
  • Improve query readability with indentation and comments, especially for complex queries.
  • Refresh data sources regularly to ensure your custom SQL queries run on the most current data.
  • Save frequently used custom SQL queries as views or table calculations to save time.

Elevate Your Tableau Dashboards with Custom SQL Queries

By mastering custom SQL queries in Tableau, you’ll gain full control over your data analysis. Create meaningful and impactful visualizations that drive business decisions. Don’t let Tableau’s limitations hold you back – start harnessing the power of custom SQL queries today.

Coefficient streamlines the process by enabling you to write custom SQL queries directly within your spreadsheet. Say goodbye to data roadblocks and hello to seamless data integration in your Tableau workflow.

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Julian Alvarado Content Marketing
Julian is a dynamic B2B marketer with 8+ years of experience creating full-funnel marketing journeys, leveraging an analytical background in biological sciences to examine customer needs.
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