Set Users’ Site Roles

When you add users to a site on Tableau Cloud, independent of their licence type, you must apply a site role to them. The site role signifies the maximum level of access a user can have on the site. Along with content permissions, the site role determines who can publish, interact with or only view published content, or who can manage the site’s users and administer the site itself.

How user licences, site roles and content permissions work together

The intersection of a user’s licence type, site role and content permissions determines the level of access a user has on the Tableau site.

  1. The licence type is associated with the user. The site role you want to assign to the user determines the licence type they require.

    If a user is a member of multiple Tableau Cloud sites, they must have a licence for every site they belong to.

  2. The site role is also set at the user level. If a user is a member of multiple Tableau Cloud sites, they will have independent site roles. For example, the same user can have the Site Administrator Creator site role on one site and the Viewer site role on another site.

    The site role defines the maximum capabilities the user can have.

  3. Whether the site role’s maximum capabilities are available to the user depends on the permissions set on the content resources (projects, data sources, workbooks).

For example, let's say that a user has the following access on a site:

  • Creator licence
  • Explorer site role
  • Save permission capability on a project

In this scenario, the licence allows connecting to and creating new data sources in the web editing environment or Tableau Desktop, and a permission rule allows them to save in a project. However, their site role prevents them from being able to save, so their effective permissions don’t include the save capability. Therefore, the user can’t publish content to the site.

Even if a user has a creator licence and a creator site role, if they don’t have the save capability on at least one project, they can’t publish anything to the site.

For more information, see Permissions.

Change a user’s site role

  1. Sign in to the site as a site administrator, and go to the Users area.

  2. Select the users, and then select Actions > Site Role.

  3. Select the new site role, and then click Change Site Role.

    Select the new site role.

    You can hover the pointer over the information icon to display a matrix that shows the maximum level of general capabilities each site role allows. For more information, continue to General capabilities allowed with each site role.

General capabilities allowed with each site role

Note: This information focuses on site roles and is more generalised. For a list of common specific tasks available per licence role, see the matrix on the For Teams & Organisations(Link opens in a new window) tab on the Tableau pricing page.

Tableau site roles

Site role nameMaximum capabilities this site role allows

Site roles that use a Creator licence

– Users with these site roles have access to Tableau clients such as Tableau Prep, Tableau Desktop, Tableau Bridge and Tableau Mobile.

Site Administrator Creator

This is the highest level of access for Tableau Cloud.

Unrestricted access to content as described above, but at the site level. Connect to Tableau or external data in the browser, Tableau Desktop or Tableau Prep; create new data sources; build and publish content.

On Tableau Server, server administrators can determine whether or not to allow site administrators to manage users and assign site roles and site membership. By default, on Tableau Server, and always on Tableau Cloud, site administrators are allowed these capabilities.


This is similar to the former Publisher site role, but allows new features. This site role offers non-administrators the maximum level of content access.

Connect to Tableau or external data in the browser, build and publish flows, data sources and workbooks, have access to Dashboard Starters and use interactive features on published views. Can also connect to data from Tableau Prep or Tableau Desktop, and publish (upload/save) and download flows, workbooks and data sources.

Site roles that use an Explorer licence

– Users with these site roles can access the server from the browser or Tableau Mobile.

Site Administrator Explorer

Same access to site and user configuration as Site Administrator Creator, but can’t connect to external data or virtual connections from the web editing environment.

Can connect to Tableau published data sources to create new workbooks, and edit and save existing workbooks. Can't publish Tableau Prep flows.

Explorer (can publish)

Can publish workbooks from the web using existing data sources, browse and interact with published views and use all interaction features.

In the web editing environment, can edit and save existing workbooks. Can't save new stand-alone data sources from data connections embedded in workbooks, and can’t connect to external data or virtual connections, or create new data sources. Can't publish Tableau Prep flows.


Can browse and interact with published views. Can subscribe to content, create data driven alerts, connect to Tableau published data sources and open workbooks in the web authoring environment for ad-hoc queries, but they can’t save their work. Can’t connect to a virtual connection. Can't publish Tableau Prep flows.

Site roles that use a Viewer licence


Can see published views others have created and use most interaction features. Can subscribe to views and download as images or summary data. Can’t connect to data, create, edit or publish content or set data alerts.

For a list of specific capabilities, see the Viewer column in the matrix on the Tableau pricing page(Link opens in a new window).

Note: Although the Viewer site role existed in previous versions, the new Viewer site role has additional capabilities.

Other site roles


Unlicensed users can’t sign in to Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud. Users are assigned the Unlicensed role in the following circumstances:

  • You import users from a CSV file and their licence level is set to unlicensed.

  • The number of available licences is reached at the time you add or import users.

  • You remove a user who owns content on the site. The user will still own the content but not be able to do anything with it.

Who can publish content

The following site roles allow the specified level of publishing access.

  • Site Administrator Creator; and Creator allow full connecting and publishing access.

    This includes connecting to data and publishing new flows, new workbooks and new data sources from Tableau Desktop and the web editing environment. The site roles also allow editing and saving existing published workbooks, or publishing updates to existing data sources.

  • Explorer (Can Publish) and Site Administrator Explorer have limited publishing capabilities, as described in General capabilities allowed with each site role.

  • Explorer, Viewer, Read Only and Unlicensed don’t allow publishing.

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