Before You Install

This article describes common information that you need to know before you install Tableau Desktop or Tableau Prep Builder for yourself or for others in your organization.

To install Tableau Desktop or Tableau Prep Builder you will need to purchase a Creator license. This license includes:

  • Tableau Desktop

  • Tableau Prep Builder

  • One Creator license for Tableau Server or Tableau Online

When you purchase a subscription, you receive a welcome email that provides the information that you need to download and install the software. One Creator license activates both Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder.

If you're looking for a free version of Tableau to publish visualizations to Tableau Public and then share them via social media or embed them on a site or in a blog, try Tableau Desktop Public Edition.

For more information about the different license types available, see User-based licenses in the Tableau Server help.

System requirements


Applies to Requirement Description
Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder Computer:

You can install Tableau Desktop or Tableau Prep Builder on a Windows computer or a Mac computer. All computers where you're deploying Tableau Desktop must meet the minimum hardware requirements.

For information about which versions of Windows or Mac are supported, or about memory or disk space requirements, see the Technical Specifications page for Tableau Desktop or Tableau Prep Builder.

Note: Tableau Prep Builder is designed to work with Tableau Desktop. It is recommended that you install Tableau Prep Builder on the same machine as Tableau Desktop. Do not install Tableau Prep Builder on the same computer running Tableau Server.

Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder Drivers:

Some drivers are automatically installed for you when you install Tableau Desktop or Tableau Prep Builder. However, some connections might require you to download and install drivers before you can connect to your data. See Database drivers for a list of drivers that are automatically installed.

Tableau Prep Builder can only use 64-bit drivers (unlike Tableau Desktop, which can use 32-bit drivers). If you already have drivers installed, but they are 32-bit, you need to install the 64-bit Tableau Desktop drivers to use with Tableau Prep Builder.

See the Drivers Download page on the Tableau website to get driver download links and installation instructions.

Tableau Prep Builder Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption certificate configuration (optional)

To connect to a server that uses SSL, you will need to make sure that the required root certificate is installed on the computer where Tableau Prep Builder is installed.

Work with your IT Department or System Administrator to complete these steps.

For information about how to configure Tableau Server to use SSL encryption, see Configure External SSL.


  1. Verify that the SSL Certificate Chain File is configured in Tableau Server.

  2. Copy the certificate file (.crt) to the computer running Tableau Prep Builder.

  3. Double-click the certificate file, click Install Certificate, and then click Next.

  4. Select Place all certificates in the following store.

    Browse to select Trusted Root Certification Authorities and then click OK > Next > Finish.

  5. Wait for the certificate to finish importing, then click OK.

Verify that there are no duplicate certificates for Tableau Server CA in the Windows certificate store.

  1. From the Start menu, type certmgr, then open Manage computer certificates.

  2. Navigate to Trusted Root Certification Authorities> Certificates.

  3. If there are duplicate certificates for Tableau Server, open each one and check the Serial number on the Details tab.

  4. Delete all the Tableau Server certificates with serial numbers that don't match the correct Tableau Server certificate.

  5. Follow steps 3 and 4 for any duplicate Tableau Server certificates in Intermediate Certification Authorities > Certificates.


  1. Verify that the SSL Certificate Chain File is configured in Tableau Server.

  2. Add the root certificate to your computer's keychain to ensure that the certificate authority is trusted by your computer. For more information, see Add certificates to a keychain using Keychain Access on Mac in the Apple Support site.

    Disclaimer: Although we make every effort to ensure links to external websites are accurate, up to date, and relevant, Tableau cannot take responsibility for the accuracy or freshness of pages maintained by external providers. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

Network access

Tableau requires internet access for using maps and to perform a license check. Installing Tableau on a computer therefore also means making sure the firewall settings on that computer as well as on your organization's network are configured to allow this internet access. Your network administrator might need to configure firewall and proxy settings. For details, see Internet Access Requirements.

Compatibility with Tableau Server and Tableau Online

You can run into file compatibility issues when you try to share files between different versions of Tableau Desktop and between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server and Tableau Online. Make sure that the version of Tableau Desktop you're installing and subsequent updates are compatible with the version of Tableau Server being used.

For the complete story on compatibility between versions of Tableau Desktop and with Tableau Server or Tableau Online, see the Make Workbooks Compatible Between Versions or Version Compatibility with Tableau Online in this guide.

Database drivers

Tableau uses connectors to connect to different databases, and some connectors require drivers to talk to these databases. When it comes to drivers, the easiest approach is to install Tableau and then try connecting to the data. Tableau installs some drivers by default (details below), and some data sources don't require a driver.

Tableau Prep Builder requires a specific driver to connect to an Oracle database. To download the correct driver, on the Driver Download page, scroll to the bottom of the page and locate the driver for Tableau Prep Builder: <version> to install it.

Important: Tableau Prep Builder is only available in 64-bit and If you already have 32-bit drivers installed, you'll need to install the 64-bit version of those drivers to connect to your data with Tableau Prep Builder.

If you do need to install a driver for your connection, Tableau lets you know the first time you try to connect by displaying a dialog box like the following:

If this error appears, click the link in the error message to go to the Driver Download page on the Tableau website. Follow the instructions for your connector to get the driver you need.

For more information about the different connectors that Tableau Desktop supports, see Connector Examples in the online help.

Database drivers installed with Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder

When you install Tableau Desktop or Tableau Prep Builder on a Windows computer, drivers for the following data source types are automatically installed:

  • Amazon Redshift

    Note: If this driver is already installed, the install process skips this driver.

  • Microsoft SQL Server

  • PostgreSQL

When you install Tableau Desktop on a Mac computer, drivers for the following data source type is installed by default:

  • PostgreSQL

If you prefer not to install drivers, you can clear the check box for the drivers during install on the Customize pane in the installer user interface or from the command line by setting the specific driver property to "0". For more information about setting installer properties from the command line, see Installer properties.

License Management

If you're responsible for deploying or managing Tableau Desktop installations in your organization, it's best practice to manage and track product keys.

Tableau provides three main tools to help you track and manage licensing and usage in your organization: a customer portal, Tableau Desktop license reporting (Tableau Desktop only), and Virtual Desktop Support (Tableau Desktop only).

For more information about managing licenses see Manage Tableau Desktop License Usage.

Update management (Tableau Desktop only)

By default, Tableau Desktop installs dot (maintenance) releases when they become available.

If you want to have more control over which version of Tableau Desktop is installed for users, you can turn off the product update feature for your users. You can also control which version of Tableau Desktop your users can update to.

You can turn product updates off for each Tableau Desktop during the installation process from the customization page on the installer (Windows) or by including a command-line option. This also turns off the Check for Product Updates feature, which allows users to check for and install the most recent Tableau Desktop maintenance updates to their computer at any time. If Tableau Desktop is already installed, you can deploy a registry (or .plist for Mac) update to existing Tableau Desktop clients to manage updates.

For more information about how to control product updates for your users, see Control Product Updates for Tableau Desktop.

Autosave management (Tableau Desktop only)

Autosave automatically saves your user's workbooks every few minutes. In the event that Tableau Desktop stops working, a recovered version of the file that was in progress is created and saved in the same location as the original file or in the user's My Tableau Repository/Workbooks folder. The recovered file is saved as a Tableau Workbook Recovery (.twbr) file. New workbooks are saved with the name "Book1" plus a numeric ID.

The Autosave feature is enabled by default. Users can turn this option on and off from the Help menu under Settings and Performance > Enable Autosave. If you want to disable this feature during installation, you can change the setting for the AUTOSAVE property. In that case, the Enable Autosave menu option will not be available to the user.

For more information, see Turn off Autosave (Tableau Desktop only).

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