Tableau – Data Joining

Data joining is a common requirement in any data analysis. You may need to join data from different tables in a single source or join data from multiple sources.

Tableau provides the feature to join the tables by using the data pane that is available in the Data menu.

A join means combining columns from one or more tables in a relational database. It also creates a set that can be saved as a table, or it can be used as it is.

Joins are specifies into five types:

  1. Cross Join.
  2. Inner Join.
  3. Natural Join.
  4. Outer Join.
    1. Left Outer Join.
    2. Right Outer Join.
    3. Full Outer Join.
  5. Self-Join.

Overview of Types of Joins

A join section is used to combine rows from two or more tables, based on a related column between them.

1. Cross Join: Cross join produces rows which combine each row from the first table with each row from the second table.

Tableau Data Joining

2. Inner Join: An inner join returns the matching rows from the tables that are being joined.

Tableau Data Joining

3. Natural Join: Natural join is not used any comparison operator. It does not concatenate the way.

Only we can perform a Natural Join if there is at least one common attribute that exists between two relations. Also, the attributes must have the same name and domain.

Natural join works on those matching attributes where the values of attributes in both the relation are same.

4. Outer Join: An outer join is an extended form of the inner join.

It returns both matching and non-matching rows for the tables that are being joined.

Types of outer joins are as follows:

i) Left Outer Join: The left outer join returns matching rows from the tables being joined, and also non-matching rows from the left table in the result and places NULL values in the attributes that come from the right table.

Tableau Data Joining

ii. Right Outer Join: The right outer join operation returns matching rows from the tables being joined, and also non-matching rows from the right table in the result and places NULL values in the attributes that come from the left table.

Tableau Data Joining

iii. Full Outer Join: The full outer join is used to combine tables. As a result, it contains all values from both tables.

When a value from a table doesn’t have a match with the other table, then it returns a NULL value in the data grid.

Tableau Data Joining

5. Self-Join: The self-join is used to join a table with itself. It means that each row of the table is combined with itself as well as with every other row of the table.

Creating a Join in Tableau

Let’s assume a data source Sample-superstore to create a join between two tables such as Orders and Returns.

  • Go to the Data menu and choose Microsoft Excel option below connect.
  • Then select sample-superstore as a data source and click the Open button.
  • Drag Orders and Returns tables from sheets of the data source to the data pane. After that Tableau will automatically create a join between Orders and Returns tables which can be changed later as per required joins.
Tableau Data Joining
  • Below screenshot shows the building inner join between Orders and Returns tables by using the Order id field.
Tableau Data Joining

Edit a Join Type in Tableau

Tableau automatically creates a type of join between two tables, but it can be changed as per need.

  • Click on the middle of two circles that showing the auto-created join.
  • After clicking, a popup window appears which shows all the four types of the joins.
  • In below screenshot, you can see all the joins such as inner joinleft outer joinright outer join, and full outer join.
Tableau Data Joining

How to Edit Join Fields in Tableau

  • Also, you can change the fields by clicking the Data Sources option to add a new join clause that is available in the join popup window.
  • While selecting the field, you can search for the field using a search text box.
Tableau Data Joining
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