Use Tableau Bridge to Keep Tableau Online Data Fresh

For published data sources you cannot refresh directly on Tableau Online, you can use Tableau Bridge to keep the data fresh. For example, use Tableau Bridge when the published data source connects to data you maintain behind a firewall on your network (on-premises).

You can use Tableau Bridge in the following ways:

  • Maintain live connections to on-premises data

  • Maintain published extract data sources that Tableau Online cannot reach directly

How Tableau Bridge relates to the Online sync client

Tableau Bridge is the Online sync client plus live query functionality. Bridge was released with Tableau version 10.3, at which point it replaced the sync client.

Live query functionality enables you to maintain live connections between data sources published to Tableau Online and on-premises relational data.

Some feature notes:

  • If you use the sync client to refresh extracts, scheduled refreshes will continue to work as they always have.

  • Your site administrator must enable the option to maintain live connections.

  • As the sync client did, Tableau Bridge refreshes data sources that you publish separately, not data that’s embedded in a published workbook.

If you’re a site administrator, see Use Tableau Bridge to Expand Data Freshness Options to learn more about the ways you can allow publishers to use Tableau Bridge.

Maintain live connections to on-premises data

After your administrator enables support for maintaining live connections, you will see this option during the publishing process. It is available when your workbook or data source contains a live connection to a relational database on your network, such as Microsoft SQL Server or MySQL.

After you publish, an available client handles the live queries. That’s all there is to it. To get started, publish a data source to Tableau Online, and select the option to maintain a live connection. Or, publish a workbook, and select the option to publish the data source separately, and then specify a live connection.

Schedule an extract refresh from Tableau Online for Tableau Bridge

For extract refresh schedules, Tableau Bridge works exactly as the sync client did. To schedule a refresh, you need to publish your extract data source separately, whether you go through the publish data source process or the publish workbook process.


  • Alternatively, you can also ask your site administrator to reassign a Tableau Bridge data source to a different Tableau Bridge client or to manage the data source using a centrally-managed client. For more information, see Manage data sources using a centrally-managed Tableau Bridge client.
  • When an extract refresh is performed on extracts created in Tableau 10.4 and earlier (that is, a .tde extract), the extract is upgraded to .hyper extract automatically. While there are many benefits of upgrading to a .hyper extract, you won't be able open the extract with earlier versions of Tableau Desktop. For more information, see Extract Upgrade to .hyper Format.

The following steps describe how to schedule the extract refresh during the publishing process from Tableau Online. To schedule an extract refresh for a data source that has already been published to Tableau Online, see Create a Schedule for a Tableau Bridge Data Source.

Step 1: Publish the data source

  1. In Tableau Desktop, open the workbook that contains the data source you want to publish.

  2. Select Server > Publish Data Source.

    If you need to sign in, enter, and then enter your Tableau Online credentials.

Note: If you don't see the computer associated with your Tableau Bridge client during the publishing process, see Add a new computer.

Step 2: Set up the refresh schedule

  1. In the confirmation message that appears at the end of the publishing process, and then select the Schedule using Tableau Bridge button.

    When the confirmation message appears, select the option to schedule refreshes using Tableau Bridge

  2. For Start Tableau Bridge on, select your computer, configure the schedule settings, and click the Set schedule button.

    To assign an extract refresh to a Tableau Bridge client, you must be signed in to that client, and you must be the data source owner or a Tableau Online site administrator. You can’t assign an extract refresh to another user’s Tableau Bridge client.

    If you're on the computer where the client is installed, a confirmation alert for the data source appears in the lower-right area of your screen, and the Tableau Bridge system tray icon appears in the Windows task bar.


    • If setting a schedule that repeats daily, make sure that you select a time range for the schedule.
    • When you click Set schedule, you might see an alert from your web browser, letting you know it has received a request from Tableau Online to start an external application. The external application refers to Tableau Bridge. In this case, allow the browser to start the application.

Step 3: Embed database credentials into the connection information

If you need to provide a user name and password to access the underlying data in the published data source, you must embed those database credentials in the Tableau Bridge client to complete the refresh schedule settings.

  1. Go to the computer where the client is installed.

  2. From the Windows system tray on the computer, select the Tableau Bridge icon. It shows a red exclamation point () to indicate that refreshes cannot run until you resolve an issue.

  3. In the Edit Database Credentials dialog box, enter your database credentials.

    Note: You can click Test Connection to validate that the client can reach the database with the credentials you provided. This option is not available when connecting to file-based data.

Step 4: Consider some next steps

  • If you published a file-based data source, you might need to change the file path that the client references. For more information, see Change the file path for a linked data source.

  • If you have existing workbooks that use the same data, and you want them to be refreshed on the same schedule as the published extract, you need to edit the workbooks to use the published extract instead of their own static (embedded) data sources. For information, see Replacing Data Sources.

  • If you want Tableau Bridge to refresh extracts when you’re logged off Windows, you can run the client as a service (Service mode). For more information, see Run Tableau Bridge as a Windows service.

    To go a step further, you can take your computer out of the equation completely, and run Tableau Bridge as a service on a centralized computer that is always on. Ask your administrator whether you have a shared Tableau Bridge client for running extract refreshes. For more information, see Manage extract data sources using a central Tableau Bridge client.

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