Tancheng is located on the southern edge of Shandong Province and borders Jiangsu. It is about 90 kilometres (by road) south of Linyi City and 400 kilometres southeast of Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province.
The population in 2001 was 970,000. The land area of the county is about 1,306.58 square kilometres. It is a developing city in a rural area. Tancheng is famous for its ginkgo trees.
Tancheng in the 17th century is the setting for Jonathan Spence's microhistory, The Death of Woman Wang.