Tableau Tutorials – Import Text Files

Welcome to another post in the series ‘Tableau Tutorials’. So far we have covered many basic topics, in order to make sure readers get familiar with the interface. Since there is a lot of interaction with this interface in order to prepare the dashboards, gaining familiarity with layouts is important in order to troubleshoot and prepare quality results.

In this post we would look at how the Tableau tool deals with text delimited data. We would show a few cases of the data may be imported incorrectly in order to demonstrate the pitfalls of the interface. Lets start with the importing the file into Tableau. We should a scree as shown in screenshot below:

When working with text files, it is important to remember that delimiters are always in play when importing data into any tool. In the above example, we have considered a file, which is a comma delimited file. Let us open the extra options for importing a text file by clicking on the arrow icon (which would appear when mousing over the filename in the top pane). See screenshot below:

It can be seen that there is one different option in the case of text files from when we discussed ‘importing excel files in tableau‘. Let us see the various options that appear when we click on ‘Text File Properties…‘.

The options that appear here are the same options we get in any tool when we import text data files. Here we can specify the appropriate delimiter and text qualifier for the data. Let us consider a scenario of what may happen, if we change these default values.

In the above screenshot, we have changed the delimiter to ‘Vertical Bar’ and set the text qualifier to ” character. in the bottom pane, we can that the data preview has gone completely bonkers. It is because, firstly, we have considered the incorrect delimiter and to make it worse, we have chosen an invalid text qualifier.

When working with the text files, users should open and study the files carefully to know these details so that they may updated correctly in these options. Please note, users shouldn’t always trust the Tableau software when importing data files, especially delimited text files as it is not always apparent if there an error in the import.

Keep practicing these methods and let us know in case you face any doubts. You can find relevant reference books in the sidebar, if you should want to purchase the same for further studying. Please sign up for our newsletter, so that we may keep you posted on the latest activity on our website and Youtube channel.