Save and Share Your Work

At any point in the flow, you can save your flow, view a preview of the data in your flow in Tableau Desktop, or create an extract of your data that includes all the operations that you’ve applied to your flow. You can also package your data with your flow to share it with others or publish your data extract to Tableau Server or Tableau Online as a data source.

To keep data fresh you can run individual flow from within Tableau Prep Builder or from the command line. To run flows automatically on a schedule, you can publish flows to Tableau Server or Tableau Online. For more information about running flows, see Refresh flow output files from the command line or Publish a Flow to Tableau Server or Tableau Online.

Save a flow

Save your flow to back up your work before performing any additional operations. Your flow is saved in the Tableau Prep Builder flow (.tfl) file format.

You can also package your local files (Excel, Text Files, and Tableau extracts) with your flow to share with others, just like packaging a workbook for sharing in Tableau Desktop. Only local files can be packaged with a flow. Data from database connections, for example, aren't included.

When you save a packaged flow, the flow is saved as a Packaged Tableau Flow File (.tflx).

  • To save your flow, from the top menu, select File > Save.

  • To package your data files with your flow, from the top menu, do one of the following:

    • Select File > Export Packaged Flow

    • Select File > Save As. Then in the Save As dialog, select Packaged Tableau Flow Files from the Save as type drop down menu.

View your data sample in Tableau

Sometimes when you’re cleaning your data you might want to check your progress by looking at it in Tableau Desktop. When your flow opens in Tableau Desktop, Tableau Prep Builder creates a permanent Tableau extract (.tde or .hyper depending on your version of Tableau) and a Tableau data source (.tds) file. The files are saved in your Tableau repository in the Datasources file so you can experiment with your data at any time.

Note: While you can experiment with your data, Tableau only shows you a sample of your data and you won't be able to save the workbook as a packaged workbook (.twbx). When you are ready to work with your data in Tableau, create an output step for your flow and save the output to a file or as a published data source, then connect to the full data source in Tableau.

When you open the flow in Tableau Desktop, you can see the data sample that you are working with in your flow with the operations applied to it, up to the step that you selected.

To view your data sample in Tableau Desktop do the following:

  1. Right-click the step where you want to view your data, and select Preview in Tableau Desktop from the context menu.

  2. Tableau Desktop opens on the Sheet tab.

Create and publish data extracts and data sources

To create an extract, run your flow. When you run your flow your changes are applied to your entire data set. Running the flow results in a Tableau Data Source (.tds) and a Tableau Data Extract (.tde or .hyper) file. You can create an extract file from your flow output to use in Tableau Desktop or to share your data with third parties.

Note: You can publish data extracts or data sources to Tableau Server version 10.0 and later as well as to Tableau Online.

You can create an extract file in the following formats:

  • Tableau Data Extract (.tde): The extract is saved as both a Tableau extract (.tde) and a Tableau data source (.tds) file. Use this file type if you use Tableau Desktop or Tableau Server version 10.0 through 10.4.

  • Hyper Extract (.hyper): This is the new Tableau extract file type but can only be consumed by Tableau Desktop or Tableau Server version 10.5 and later.

  • Comma Separated Value (.csv): Save the extract to a .csv file to share your data with third parties. The encoding of exported CSV file will be UTF-8 with BOM.

You can also publish your output as a data source to Tableau Server or Tableau Online to share your data and provide centralized access to the data you have cleaned, shaped, and combined.

Note: To publish your output to Tableau Server, the Tableau Server REST API must be enabled. For more information see Rest API Requirements in the Tableau Rest API Help. To publish to a server that uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption certificates, additional configuration steps are needed on the machine running Tableau Prep Builder. For more information, see the Before you Install in the Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder Deployment Guide.

Create an extract file

  1. Click the plus icon on a step and select Add Output.

    If you have run the flow before, click the run flow button on the Output step. This overwrites the previous output.

    The Output pane opens and shows you a snapshot of your data.

  2. In the left pane select Save to file.

  3. Click the Browse button, then in the Save Extract As dialog, enter a name for the file and click Accept.

  4. In the Output type field, select the output type. Depending on the version of Tableau Desktop you use you can choose from the following options:

    • Tableau Data Extract (.hyper) for Tableau Desktop version 10.5 and later.

    • Tableau Data Extract (.tde) for Tableau Desktop version 10.0 through 10.4.

    • Comma Separated Values (.csv) if you want to share the extract with a third party.

    Tip: You have choices when generating output from your flow. You can generate an extract file, or you can publish your data as a data source to Tableau Server or Tableau Online. For more information about generating output files, see Create and publish data extracts and data sources.

  5. Click Run Flow to run the flow and generate the extract file.

Publish as a data source

  1. Click the plus icon on a step and select Add Output.

    If you have run the flow before, click the run flow button on the Output step. This overwrites the previous output.

  2. The output pane opens and shows you a snapshot of your data.

  3. Select the Publish as data source radio button and complete the following fields:

    • Server: Select the Tableau server where you want to publish the data source and data extract. If you aren't signed in to a server you will be prompted to sign in.

      On the Mac you may be prompted to provide access to your Mac keychain so Tableau Prep Builder can securely use SSL certificates to connect to your Tableau Server or Tableau Online environment.

      Note: If you are outputting to Tableau Online include the pod your site is hosted on in the "serverUrl". For example, "https://eu-west-1a.online.tableau.com" not "https://online.tableau.com".

    • Project: Select the project where you want to load the data source and extract.

    • Name: Enter file name

    • Description: Enter a description for the data source.

  4. Click Run Flow to run the flow and publish the data source.

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