Smart analytics

Organisations are looking for technologies that help more people do sophisticated analysis. At Tableau, we’re investing in analytical capabilities that help anyone – from data scientists to business users – get to answers faster and uncover unanticipated insights. Through machine learning, statistics, natural language and smart data prep, we are making analytics more approachable to users of all skill levels.

Tableau advances the era of smart analytics

In this report from technology research and advisory firm Constellation Research, Vice President and Principal Analyst Doug Henschen looks at Tableau’s intelligent data prep, automated data discovery, recommendations and natural language investments.

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Smart analytics webinar: From data to decisions

View our webinar with Doug Henschen of Constellation Research and members of our natural language, data prep and artificial intelligence engineering teams. Learn more about emerging smart technologies in analytics and how Tableau is helping to drive these features forward.

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Insight to action – even faster

Doug Henschen (Constellation Research) and Francois Ajenstat (Tableau) discuss smart analytics trends in this interview. Building upon the analytical richness of the Tableau platform, our built-in smart capabilities are designed to both lower the barrier to entry to analytical processes and help advanced users ask more sophisticated questions.

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Natural language interaction

Interacting with data using natural language lowers the barrier of entry to insights, helping people answer their questions more quickly without deep, technical data expertise.

Natural language processing

Tableau introduced Ask Data for Tableau Server and Online in Tableau's 2019.1 release. With Ask Data, you can use natural language to ask questions and instantly get a response right in Tableau. Answers come in the form of rich data visualisations with no need to understand the structure of your data, so you can get to your answers faster. Fully integrated in the Tableau platform, Ask Data works with existing data sources with no additional setup needed. Check out an interactive Ask Data demo.

Natural language generation

Bring natural language generation capabilities to your dashboards through our NLG partners including Narrative Science and Automated Insights. Leveraging Tableau's APIs, these technologies automatically generate text-based descriptions of visualisations to help customers extract more meaning from their data.

More resources

  • Webinar: BI trend #3: Natural language processing (NLP)
  • Blog: Bringing the power of natural language to Tableau
  • Blog: 2018 retail trends in focus: Natural language generation augments visual analytics

  • Webinar: Achieving deep insight: Written analytics + visual analytics
  • Webinar: Role-based NLG makes everyone a data expert
  • Webinar: The rise of NLG in financial services

Smart data prep

With powerful machine learning, we’ve made self-service data prep more automatic in Tableau. By reducing the amount of manual work needed to combine, shape and clean data, everyone can get the most from their data faster.

Data Interpreter

Data Interpreter helps everyone get to analysis faster by automatically detecting sub-tables, removing unique formatting, and allowing users to quickly and easily pivot and split data from spreadsheets, PDFs and more.

Fuzzy matching

Fuzzy matching indexes and groups related words by pronunciation or common characters in one click. Powerful algorithms work behind the scenes to help users prep data faster, minimising manual cleanup.

Smart recommendations

Start your analysis faster with the right data. Tableau uses machine learning to recommend database tables and joins based on your organisation's data source usage metrics.

More resources
  • Webinar: Dirty data is costing you
  • Blog: Tableau Prep (Project Maestro) is here: Redefining your data prep experience
  • Blog: New to Tableau Prep? Start with these five fundamentals
  • White paper: Best practices for tidy data using Tableau Prep
  • Product: Tableau Prep, a new data-prep solution
  • Blog: Introducing recommended tables and smart joins in Tableau 10.3

Automated data discovery

We’re packaging up powerful algorithms and statistical models in an approachable way, giving our customers new superpowers and reducing the burden when analysing complex datasets.


Automatic clustering is a drag-and-drop function in Tableau, allowing anyone to use a built-in k-means clustering model to find statistically significant groupings in data that might not have otherwise been seen.

More resources

  • Blog: Uncover patterns in your data with Tableau 10's clustering feature
  • Blog: What is clustering, and why use it?

Predictive analytics

By packaging powerful predictive models into an easy-to-use experience, we’re bringing predictive capabilities to more people, helping them anticipate changes in their business.


Predict where your business is going. Simply drag and drop to generate a forecast. Tableau automatically selects the forecasting model based on the data, and accounts for seasonality with exponential smoothing.

Statistical model integration

Tableau not only connects to file outputs from MATLAB, R, SAS, and SPSS as data sources, but also supports direct integration with R and Python. Run code directly inside Tableau as well as visualising and manipulating model results from predictive services such as Rserve and TabPy. With statistical model integration, it’s easy for anyone to leverage models built by your data science team.

More resources

  • Blog: Put your MATLAB models and algorithms to work in Tableau
  • Blog: Building advanced analytics applications with TabPy
  • Blog: How to use Tableau with SQL Server on R and Python

On-demand webinars

AI and machine learning trends

Explore how AI and machine learning are rapidly becoming a valuable supplement for the analyst—including where it falls short.

The promise of natural language

Investigate the potential and future of BI software to intuitively understand human language as it's written and spoken.

Accelerate your advanced analytics

Dive into segmentation and cohort analysis, what-if scenario analysis, predictive analytics, integrations, and more.


AI startup Empirical Systems joins Tableau

Learn how our acquisition will help people leverage powerful statistical analysis—without deep, technical expertise

Welcome to Tableau, ClearGraph team!

Learn how our acquisition will help bridge the gap between humans and computers through natural language.

Leverage Google BigQuery's machine learning

Create machine learning models with Google BigQuery ML, then manipulate and share your models’ results with Tableau.