Data Science Toolbox: How to use R with Tableau

Recently, Tableau released an exciting feature that enhances the capabilities of data analytics: R integration via RServe. By bringing together Tableau and R, data scientists and analysts can now enjoy a more comprehensive and powerful data science toolbox. Whether you’re an experienced data scientist or just starting your journey in data analytics, this tutorial will guide you through the process of integrating R with Tableau.

Step by Step: Integrating R in Tableau

1. Install and start R and RServe

Decisively Digital

Decisively Digital

Discover the power of artificial intelligence and digital transformation in the #1 best-selling business book Decisively Digital.

Buy on Amazon Learn More

You can download base R from Next, invoke R from the terminal to install and run the RServe package:

> install.packages("Rserve")
> library(Rserve)
> Rserve()

To ensure RServe is running, you can try Telnet to connect to it:


Protip: If you prefer an IDE for R, I can highly recommend you to install RStudio.

2. Connecting Tableau to RServe

Now let’s open Tableau and set up the connection:

Tableau 10 Help menu
Tableau 10 External Service Connection

3. Adding R code to a Calculated Field

You can invoke R scripts in Tableau’s Calculated Fields, such as k-means clustering controlled by an interactive parameter slider:

kmeans(data.frame(.arg1,.arg2,.arg3),' + STR([Cluster Amount]) + ')$cluster;
SUM([Sales]), SUM([Profit]), SUM([Quantity]))
Calculated Field in Tableau 10

4. Use Calculated Field in Tableau

You can now use your R calculation as an alternate Calculated Field in your Tableau worksheet:

Tableau 10 showing k-means clustering

Feel free to download the Tableau Packaged Workbook (twbx) here.

Connect and Stay Updated

Stay on top of the latest in data science and analytics by following me on Twitter and LinkedIn. I frequently share tips, tricks, and insights into the world of data analytics, machine learning, and beyond. Join the conversation, and let’s explore the possibilities together!

Blog post updates: