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Tableau Desktop vs Tableau Web Editor

When comparing Tableau Desktop and Tableau Web Editing it’s important to understand what exactly you are hoping to achieve. A lot can be done in both but for full report creation Tableau Desktop has all the capabilities available. Web editing is usually used as an ad-hoc solution to build on or edit existing workbooks, therefore it doesn’t contain all the functionalities available in Tableau Desktop.

Some of the most important elements that are missing from web editing are: metadata changes to Dimensions and Measures, dashboard and storyboard creation, and the creation of parameters.

There are also serious considerations around security. The existing workbook permissions are applied to a Saved As workbook and a workbook created from a data source connection has the permissions of the project, so no changes to workbook or user specific permissions can be applied when saving.

Below is a workbook I have created showing the available elements in Desktop and Web Editing, in the current version, 9.0.5. I am sure I have missed some so feel free to let me know!


Tableau Desktop vs Tableau Web Editor workbook
Tableau Desktop vs Tableau Web Editor workbook


Andrew Pick

Manchester, UK

38 thoughts on “Tableau Desktop vs Tableau Web Editor

  1. Absolutely great information put together nicely into a single view.
    I have one question though, Do you have this information already for Tableau 10??
    That would be very useful to me.


    1. Thanks Brian, there isn’t a V10 version yet but hopefully I will get some time to put one together in the future

      1. A v10 version of the workbook would be great!

        (writing the version inside the viz would also be nice for those of us who found it via google)

  2. One of the key things missed off is no ability to apply filters to a context – which is a huge shortfall!

  3. The 2015 version was a great help for me today. A 2018 version would be excellent. I would suspect though that Tableau should have and maintain such a comparison.

  4. Thank you so much for this! 🙂 Also about the filters : the “Apply to selected worksheets” is not there, so we cannot make a worksheet ignore the filters on a dashboard, or am I wrong?

  5. Great content !
    You could add the “Show Parameter Control” in the Data Pane.
    It is available in Web Edit in 2018.3, was not in 2018.1 (I don’t know for 2018.2).

  6. If we use the desktop tool to create a forecast or integrate with R, will the outputs be available when opening the workbook in the web tool?

  7. Hi Andrew,
    This is really great. Thank you. Can you also update this for Tableau 2019.2?
    Appreciate your help

  8. Can you update this so we can pick to see the features that are only available in the desktop version (aka: filter to only show x’s)?

    Also, I found the following misspellings if you care to correct them:
    1) Tools -> Pesentation Mode -> should be “Presentation Mode”
    2) datasource -> should be “data source” (there are a lot of these)
    3) Filtering -> Select the layout of a quick filter (drop down, list etc) -> “etc” should be “etc.”

  9. This is such a helpful tool!

    An option to compare Version X to Version Y right next to each other would be extremely useful as well. Every time an update is available, I need to know what new features have been added to the web editor to communicate to my users. I usually end up taking screenshots of this visualization set on my current version to directly compare to the visualization on the newest version. Having the option to do this on the visualization itself would make a great tool even better!

    Thank you for all your hard work.

    1. Thanks Becca,

      glad that it is helpful. I was thinking about adding that feature. Hopefully I will get some time soon.

  10. Hi, thank you for this useful table!
    Just to let you know that we found one mistake as the “Format a reference line” option is actually not available in Web Edit 2021.1 (maybe other versions too but this is the version we have at work). It shows as available in the comparison table.

  11. Nice Workbook! I have a question: will this be updated with 2022.1 data too?

    And maybe a nice idea to add (which I now created myself): Add two versions of this dashboard next to each other, both with their own filter on Server Version, so you can compare 2 server versions. You could also add a parameter to let Tableau only show the differences between the selected versions!

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