Tableau and Google Sheets: Step-by-Step Guide To A Quick and Easy Dashboard

Ever wanted to build a quick visualization based on data you have in Google Sheets? Well, you’re not alone.

Connecting Tableau and Google Sheets used to be FRUSTRATING before Tableau Desktop 10
Connecting Tableau and Google Sheets used to be FRUSTRATING before Tableau Desktop 10

Yes, there are some charts and graphs built in, but they are pretty limited.

Here’s the thing…

Starting with Tableau 10, you can now connect directly to any Google sheet with a few clicks and start visualizing you data within a few minutes.

Save time by connecting Tableau directly to Google Sheets data
Save time by connecting Tableau directly to Google Sheets data … disclaimer, this chart was built with Google Charts 🙂

In this step by step guide, you will learn

  1. How to upload your data into Google Sheets
  2. Connecting to Google Sheets from Tableau
  3. Create a quick dashboard with Tableau and Google Sheets

Before you get started, you’ll need two things….

Thing 1: A Google account and some data you want to visualize. (you can use my sample data set here if you want to follow my examples)

Thing 2: Tableau 10 or greater (sign up for the beta if you don’t have Tableau Desktop 10 yet)

Okay, let’s get started…

Bonus Materials

Want to save some time? Download the PDF checklist to impress your coworkers with your next Tableau Dashboard using Google Sheets 🙂

Step 1: Upload your Data into Google Sheets

Note: if your data is already in Google Sheets, you can move on to Step 2 below.  

  1. Sign into your Google Account (or sign up)
  2. Go to docs.google.com
  3. Create a new spreadsheet 

    Sign into your Google Account and Create a new Blank Spreadsheet
    Sign into your Google Account and Create a new Blank Spreadsheet
  4. From the File menu of the new spreadsheet, click Import and find your Excel or CSV data file 

    Import your data into Google Sheets
    Import your data into Google Sheets
  5. Click Upload on the next screen
  6. Locate your data file on your computer (desktop, My Documents, etc.)
  7. Drag your data file into the Google spreadsheet Upload area

    Import your data file into Google Sheets
    Import your data file into Google Sheets
  8. Select Replace Spreadsheet to finish the data file upload process

    Finish the data file upload process
    Finish the data file upload process
  9. Your data file will automatically be converted into a Google Spreadsheet
  10. Give your new Spreadsheet a name and confirm that your data looks good

    Give your Google Sheet a name and make sure your data looks okay.
    Give your Google Sheet a name and make sure your data looks okay.

Step 2: Import your Google Sheet Data into Tableau

  1. Open Tableau (reminder: you must have version 10 or higher)
  2. In the Connect section of the screen, click More Servers…
  3. Once the Server section of the screen opens, click Google Sheets

    Open Tableau (version 10 or higher) and click
    Open Tableau (version 10 or higher) and click “More Servers” to find the Google Sheets option.
  4. You’ll need to sign into your Google account and allow Tableau to access your Google Sheet. 

    Allow Tableau Desktop to view your Google Sheets data
    Allow Tableau Desktop to view your Google Sheets data
  5. Select your imported Google Sheet and click Connect to view your data file in Tableau

    Select your imported data file and click
    Select your imported data file and click “Connect”
  6. Now that your data is imported into Tableau Desktop, confirm that everything looks okay and click Sheet 1 to visualize your data

    Confirm that your data looks okay, then click Sheet 1 to build your data visualization.
    Confirm that your data looks okay, then click Sheet 1 to build your data visualization.

Step 3. Create a Tableau Dashboard using Google Sheets Data

  1. Format Response Rate measure so it’s easier to read
    1. In the Measures section, right click the Response Rate measure, hover over the Default Properties menu, and select Number Format…

      Set up the default format for Response Rate since percentages will be easier to read then regular numbers.
      Set up the default format for Response Rate since percentages will be easier to read then regular numbers.
    2. Choose Percentage and 1 Decimal Place in the pop-up box.
    3. Now the Response Rate format is set to percentage instead of a regular number.
  2. Build the visualizations with your Google Sheets data set
    1. Start by changing the visualization type from Automatic to Bar
    2. After that, drag the Age Group and Age Range to the rows shelf
    3. Next, drag Response Rate from the Measures section to the Text icon on the Marks card to set the label
    4. Then, drag Response Rate from the Measures section to the Size icon on the Marks card to set the bar size
    5. Next, drag Savings Amount to Color to create a stacked bar chart
    6. Adjust the legend colors and add a title as needed.
    7. Lastly, reorder the Age Groups and Savings Amounts to make it easier to follow the chart 

      Tableau data visualization using Google Sheets
      Tableau data visualization using Google Sheets
    8. Repeat these steps as many times as needed. (note: watch how I created the final dashboard in 5 minutes)

That should do it!

Now you know exactly how to create a Tableau Dashboard with Google Sheets data! Congrats!

Quick recap on what you’ve learned.

  1. How to import data from your computer into Google Sheets
  2. How to connect that data from Google Sheets into Tableau
  3. How to create a quick dashboard using Google Sheets data and Tableau

Can you do me a favor?

If you found this guide helpful, please share it! Also, send me links to what you’ve created (twitter @new_prediction)

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Bonus Materials

Want to save some time? Download the PDF checklist to impress your coworkers with your next Tableau Dashboard using Google Sheets 🙂

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