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Tableau Prep Vs. Alteryx – Hands-On Comparision

Tableau Prep vs. Alteryx with Examples

Objective: In this article to do a comparison between Tableau Prep and Alteryx, I am going to mention the features of both Tableau Prep and Alteryx in the following ways:

1.)A feature that is present only Tableau Prep but not in Alteryx

2.)Features that are common in both

3.)A feature that is available in Alteryx but not in Tableau Prep

A feature that is present only Tableau Prep but not in Alteryx

Join and Union: As we all know, Tableau Desktop provides the ability to the user to join or union multiple data sources directly. When we do join or union in Tableau, the result is shown in the bottom Data Source tab

But, often it happens that the user wants to see that based on the join conditions what data is joined or what didn’t. In tableau prep, a user gets “Summary of Join Results” option that shows unmatched values. This can be very useful feature for evaluating join conditions and validating data.

Blending data is a feature in both Tableau Prep and

Features that are common to both “Tableau Prep” and “Alteryx”

Data preview: In Tableau Prep, after performing the data transformation step, the user can use the “Preview in Tableau Desktop” option to look at the data in tableau desktop. This feature provides the easy way to validate the data after the transformation step

Data preview in Tableau Prep is part of the transforming step.

Alteryx, also provides the option to preview and validate the data after performing any type of transformation. In Alteryx, “Browse” tool is used to preview the data.

Alyterx has a good data preview similar to Tableau Prep

 Aggregate Data:

Tableau prep provides an option to do a quick aggregation of data to store in the data source or tableau data extract (tde). A user can add a step to aggregate the data and simply drag and drop the required field for aggregation.

In the example below Discount, Profit, Quantity, and Sales is grouped by Year of Sales, Region and City.

Alteryx, also provides a direct tool named as “Summarize”, which performs all types of aggregation. Using this tool, users can select the required fields and measures for which they would like to do aggregation.

In the example below, Sales and Profit is grouped by Year and Country

You can summarize data in Altyrex

Pivot for database tables: There can be different used cases where the user needs to pivot the data. For example, if the different years’ data is present in different columns, in that case, using pivot option, a user can transform the data and put the years in the rows instead of in columns.Tableau prep also provides a direct option to “pivot” the data with the required fields

Transpose data in Tableau Prep

In Alteryx, a user can use a “Transpose” tool to pivot the data in the required format.

A feature that is present only Alteryx but not in Tableau Prep

Time Series Analysis: The major disadvantage of using tableau desktop or tableau prep is that it doesn’t provide any feature to perform time series analysis. But, on the other side, Alteryx provides a lot of different tools to perform time series analysis. These tools are available in the tool bar under “Time Series” There are various types of tool available like “ARIMA”, “TS Forecast”, “TS Plot” etc.

Is Tableau Prep better than Alteryx?

Tableau Prep has jumped into that data prep and data cleansing market with a boom. My biggest headache with Tableau was the need to pre-process the data in a separate tool prior to Tableau visualization. The go-to tool for many analysts has been Alteryx.  Tableau is now advancing towards a full-service tool with Tableau Prep.


Learn advanced techniques with Tableau for Data Science

Data Connections:

Tableau Prep: At present, Tableau Prep provides the feature to connect to 18 different file/database types including “tde” files as well and can generate the output in “tde”, “hyper” or “csv” format only

Alteryx: Alteryx provides the feature to connect almost all type of files or databases ( more than 34 types). But, in comparison to Tableau Prep, Alteryx doesn’t provide an option to input “tde” files.

 Data Processing Time:

Tableau Prep: Data processing or analyzing in Tableau Prep would be faster because it uses its hyper data engine whenever possible. But, the data processing options are very limited in Tableau Prep.

Alteryx: As compared to Tableau Prep, Alteryx provide many different data processing options but the processing time is longer in Alteryx than in Tableau Prep.


Tableau Prep: Tableau Prep provides the following features in the tool for the data process and manipulation:

  • Custom Field Separator on Output
  • Specify Data Import Starting Row for Excel Spreadsheets
  • Add Table Calculations – especially Index() and PreviousValue()

  • Add Record ID / Index feature
  • Unpivot/crosstab option
  • Fuzzy matching/grouping

Alteryx: Apart from providing the above-mentioned functionalities of Tableau Prep, Alteryx provides many other functionalities as well which are mentioned below:

  • Time Series Analysis
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Automation of Process using Macros

  • Predictive Analysis
  • String cleansing/parsing
  • Statistical Modeling


Tableau Prep: After combining the Tableau Desktop with Tableau Prep, it charges $70 per user per month which is billed annually. These charges include Tableau Desktop, Tableau Prep and one creator license of either Tableau Server or Tableau Online

Alteryx: Alteryx is a much more serious investment than Tableau Prep. Alteryx charges $3,995 per user, per year (for 3-years subscription) and $5,194 per year (for 1-year subscription)

Although Alteryx is very costly however considering all the features and functionalities provided by Alteryx, it is still more likely preferable among the users and data analytics firms. Unless you are working with very large data sets the Alteryx will not be a good investment. Plus in most organization, large data sets are controlled by the IT departments which can produce the data in a preferable structure which may not require vast amounts of preprocessing.

Ease of  Use

Getting started on any of these products is a breeze. However, like the saying goes, ” Simple to use hard to master. Both of these tools use a visual workflow format.  The drag and drop feature lets you build data models by data connecting, cleaning and appending your data.  Alteryx slightly higher functionality due to its incorporation of statical models.

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