What Is Tableau Scripting?


Scott Campbell

Tableau scripting refers to the ability to write scripts or code in Tableau that can automate tasks, enhance functionality, and create custom solutions. With tableau scripting, you can go beyond the out-of-the-box features and customize your visualizations, dashboards, and data connections to meet specific business needs.

Why Use Tableau Scripting?

Tableau offers a wide range of features and capabilities for data visualization and analysis. However, there are situations where the built-in functionalities may not be sufficient to achieve certain goals. In such cases, Tableau scripting comes to the rescue by allowing you to extend the capabilities of Tableau.

Here are some key reasons why you might consider using Tableau scripting:

  • Automation: Tableau scripting enables you to automate repetitive tasks, such as data preparation and cleansing. By writing scripts, you can save time and effort by automating these processes.
  • Customization: With scripting, you have the flexibility to customize various aspects of your Tableau visualizations and dashboards.

    You can create dynamic filters, advanced calculations, custom interactivity, and more.

  • Data Manipulation: Scripting allows you to manipulate data within Tableau. You can transform data using scripting languages like Python or R, perform complex calculations on the fly, or integrate external datasets.
  • Data Integration: By leveraging scripting languages like SQL or JavaScript within Tableau, you can connect to various data sources that might not be directly supported by Tableau’s native connectors.

Types of Tableau Scripting

In Tableau, there are primarily two types of scripting options available: calculated fields and table calculations.

Calculated Fields

Calculated fields allow you to create new fields in Tableau by defining mathematical operations, logical conditions, or string manipulations. These calculations are written using a formula language specific to Tableau called Tableau Calculation Language (TCL).


To calculate the profit margin of a product, you can create a calculated field using the following formula:

[Profit Margin] = SUM([Profit]) / SUM([Sales])

Table Calculations

Table calculations in Tableau enable you to perform calculations on groups of data points within a visualization. They are used to compute values based on the existing data and include functions like running total, percent of total, moving average, etc.

To calculate the running total of sales over time, you can use the following table calculation:


Scripting with External Languages

In addition to calculated fields and table calculations, Tableau also supports scripting with external languages such as Python and R. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for advanced analytics and data manipulation.

You can write scripts in Python or R directly within Tableau using calculated fields or leverage the integration with these scripting languages through Tableau’s built-in connectors. This allows you to tap into their extensive libraries for statistical analysis, machine learning, data preprocessing, and more.


Tableau scripting is a powerful feature that empowers users to extend the capabilities of Tableau beyond its out-of-the-box functionalities. With scripting, you can automate tasks, customize visualizations, manipulate data, and integrate external languages to perform advanced analytics. By leveraging calculated fields, table calculations, and external scripting languages like Python and R, you can take your Tableau skills to the next level.

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