Phelio Gnomi

My words from my mind

Slicker way to export crosstab in Tableau

Tableau has an awesome feature to allow users to export the processed data into crosstab, or I would say Comma Separated Value format.

We use Tableau to help us visualize data into graphs and charts. And our raw data is often messy and huge and doesn’t really make sense in that granular state. So the charts and graphs are really much better to look at. And even though some users are happy enough by looking at charts, some others find it important that we can get the post-calculated raw date, i.e. the numeric equivalent of the given chart.


But when it comes to a grander scale of a few thousands rows of records, The Export Crosstab to Excel just doesn’t work well. It took a very long time to work, and that if it works at all.

So, instead of exporting it to Excel, use Copy -> Crosstab function. This function is surprisingly much faster than exporting to Excel.


As a comparison, exporting 50,000 rows to Excel will take forever, and never but copying the same 50,000 rows to clipboard only takes 5 seconds.


5 responses to “Slicker way to export crosstab in Tableau

  1. Srikanth Chiravuri March 11, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Hi Pheilos, do know if there is a way to automate this task with a scripting language like Ruby?

    • Phelios Cyros December 6, 2017 at 8:21 am

      Sorry for my late response, and it’s probably too late.
      Tableau has a Python and JAVA REST API that could potentially have this feature.
      We used it to automate our Tableau Extract creations.

  2. Noah Neym July 16, 2016 at 1:12 am

    Thank you for this…you just saved me from the headache that *was* export crosstab to excel!

  3. Jennifer Hall October 21, 2016 at 9:31 am

    double thanks, as the “Export Crosstab to Excel” function is hopelessly slow with Office 365. This solution is marvelous!

  4. Mark Tarquini August 6, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Thank for this post, it is still relevant four years later! not sure why I didn’t think of this, but we also have Office365 installed locally, and trying to get 42,000 rows to Excel was bombing out, let alone 142,000 rows. This trick worked on BOTH!

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