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10 Ways Excel Is Holding You Back From Visualizing More In Tableau


Academic year: 2021

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Holding You Back

From Visualizing

More In Tableau



Up to 80% of all time spent on analytics is consumed by preparing data.

Data is never perfect and most of the time you need to clean, enrich and

join multiple data sets to gain meaningful insight. Many analysts turn to

Excel to perform these data preparation functions which can take hours

or even days. Datawatch Monarch, the industry standard self-service

data preparation solution allows Tableau users to manipulate, filter,

enrich, blend and combine disparate data sets in a matter of minutes.

When you’re done, you can bring it back into Excel or export it directly

into the native Tableau format.


Excel makes it difficult to understand your data and to determine what data needs attention before being loaded in Tableau.

1. Understand Your Data

With Excel

n Previewing a data table is

a very manual process.

n You must have multiple

spreadsheets open to see which table has the right data.

n You also need to create

complex macros to hide multiple datasheets.

With Monarch

n You quickly understand

your data and see data tables before loading.

n You can determine the

quality of your data and what needs to be cleaned.


With Excel

n The manual process of

copying charts and data from within PDFs into Excel can take hours.

n Data brought over into one

cell has to be manually parsed into different columns.

n Each table in the PDF needs

to be manually copied and reformatted.

With Monarch

n In one click, you can

automatically parse the document into rows and columns.

n All of your tables are

brought into a standard table format for further data preparation.

n Even multi-line reports are

intelligently captured into neat rows and columns.

2. Extract Data in Reports and PDFs

Excel is extremely limited in its ability to acquire and prepare data trapped within different report and file types, including PDFs. As a result, this data is often excluded from Tableau.


3. Use Data from Websites

Excel is unable to automatically remove the “noise” carried over with data from websites.

With Excel

n When trying to copy data

from a website, the layout of the data does not transfer cleanly resulting in messy hyperlinks and missing information.

n Hours of formatting is

needed to fix the charts in order to merge them with other data sets.

With Monarch

n You can parse the website

data, stripping out all the “noise”—like ads and graphics—and simply bring the selected data into rows and columns.


With Excel

n VLOOKUPs and manual

copy/pasting is required to join multiple spreadsheets.

n You need to select entire

columns and rows in multiple data sets.

With Monarch

n You can easily join entire

data sets or certain columns with the click of a button.

n You can choose from a wide

variety of different joins.

n Monarch’s intelligent design

explains the 4 different types of joins you can select from.

4. Combine Data Sets


With Excel

n You search for nulls and

then replace them with one value.

n You have to manually

change values of each row and column in the entire data set.

With Monarch

n You are helped in

identifying missing data

n You can simply select the

ditto function to fill down the blanks in the entire data set.

5. Fix Missing Data

Excel makes finding and fixing missing data a manual and arduous task.

nYou can replace or

remove data or nulls with the click of a button.


With Excel

n You have to create complex

macros in order to hide sensitive data.

n The data is never actually

removed from the spreadsheet, it’s just hidden which is an IT security issue.

With Monarch

n You can securely mask

sensitive data like social security numbers or account IDs.

n The data can be fully

redacted or you can create consistent aliases so you can still aggregate information like customer transactions or patient information.

n Different roles can see

only the data they are authorized to see.

6. Mask Sensitive Data

Excel has no easy way of removing or masking sensitive data. Therefore sensitive data, which is often informative, never makes it into Tableau visualizations.


With Excel

n When you have multiple

data sets with similar data and need to combine the rows together there is a lot of manual copy and pasting.

With Monarch

n You simply combine

the similar data sets by selecting the two tables and hitting append.

n Similar data sets will

be recognized and automatically combined when new data is present.

7. Consolidating Data Tables


With Excel

n When sharing files, you

can’t see the steps taken to clean the data.

n To make any changes, you

must change or update all prior work.

With Monarch

n You can see every step

taken with the data.

n You can go back and make

edits without redoing the entire process.

n Users can collaborate

within the file by seeing each other’s work.

8. History of Your Work


With Excel

n Significant changes are

difficult to see in large data filled reports.

n You have to set up rules to

color thresholds and keep updating these rule as the data changes.

With Monarch

n You will have a full summary

of the reports that shows what has changed in the data.

n Reports are automatically

updated as new data is added.

9. Reconciliation of Reports


With Excel

n When the data is new, you

have to manually redo all of the data preparation steps.

n You have to create complex

macros in order for reports to change on the fly.

With Monarch

n Every step of the data

preparation process is automatically captured so it can be reused and automated.

n You can run this on a

predetermined schedule or you can have it

automatically run when new data becomes available.

datawatch.com 978.275.8222 twitter.com/datawatch 271 Mill Rd., Quorum Office Park, Chelmsford, MA 01824 ©2015 Datawatch Corporation. All rights reserved. Datawatch and Datawatch Monarch are trademarks of Datawatch Corporation. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are properties of their respective owners. Part ID: 1507Sep_US

The Datawatch Managed Analytics Platform is an enterprise solution that bridges the gap between the ease-of-use and agility that business users demand, together with

the scalability, automation and governance needed by IT.

Datawatch data preparation capabilities are available as a stand-alone offering for use

with any third party analytic front-end, to load into a data warehouse/data mart, as well as tightly coupled with our visual authoring tool for quickly building visualization applications.

About Datawatch

10. Automate Your Data Prep


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