Start or Open a Data Flow

To start preparing your data with Tableau Prep Builder, you can:

Note: Starting in version 2020.4.1, you can also create and edit flows in Tableau Server and Tableau Cloud. Information in this topic applies to all platforms, unless specifically noted. For more information about authoring flows on the web, see Tableau Prep on the Web in the Tableau Server(Link opens in a new window) and Tableau Cloud(Link opens in a new window) help.

You can open multiple Tableau Prep Builder workspaces to work on multiple flows at the same time. In Tableau Prep Builder version 2019.3.1 and earlier, if you select File > Open, Tableau Prep Builder replaces your current open flow with the new flow you select.

Start a new flow

Start a new flow by connecting to your data, just like in Tableau Desktop.

Notes: If you open a flow in a version where the connector isn't supported, the flow may open but might have errors or won't run unless the data connections are removed.
Some connectors might require you to download and install a driver before you can connect to your data. See the Driver Download(Link opens in a new window) page on the Tableau website to get driver download links and installation instructions.

  1. Open Tableau Prep Builder and click the Add connection button.

    In web authoring, from the Home page, click Create > Flow or from the Explore page, click New > Flow. Then click Connect to Data.

    Starting in version 2021.4 if you have the Data Management with Catalog enabled, you can also click New > Flow from the External Assets page on the web to create a flow with a Catalog-supported connection. For more information, see Tableau Catalog in the Tableau Server(Link opens in a new window) or Tableau Cloud(Link opens in a new window) help.

  2. From the list of connectors, select the file type or server that hosts your data. If prompted, enter the information needed to sign in and access your data.

    Note: In web authoring, the list of file connectors may differ.

  3. From the Connections pane, do one of the following:

    • If you connected to a file, double-click or drag a table to the Flow pane to start your flow. For single tables, Tableau Prep automatically creates an Input step for you in the Flow pane when you add data to your flow.

      Note: In web authoring, for file connections, you can only download the files one at a time. Direct connections to a file network share isn't currently supported.

    • If you connected to a database, select a database or schema, and then double-click or drag a table to the Flow pane to start your flow.

      Note: In Tableau Prep Builder, you can union multiple files or database tables from a single data source in the input step using a wildcard search. In web authoring you can't create or edit input unions but they are supported in flows published from Tableau Prep Builder. For more information, see Union files and database tables in the Input step(Link opens in a new window).

Open an existing flow

In Tableau Prep Builder, you can see and access your most recent flows right on the Start page, so it's easy to find your work in progress. When working with flows on the web, all your flows are conveniently listed on the Explore page under the All Flows menu.Open a flow

Open a flow in Tableau Prep Builder

On the Start page do one of the following:

  • Under Recent Flows, select a flow.

  • Click Open a Flow to navigate to your flow file and open it.

After you connect to your data, use the different options in the Input step to identify the data that you want to work with in your flow. Then you can add a cleaning step or other step type to examine, clean, and shape your data.

When your flows include multiple data source connectors, Tableau Prep helps you easily see which connectors and tables are associated with your Input steps. When you click on the Input step, the associated connector and data table is highlighted in the Connections pane. This option was added in Tableau Prep Builder version 2020.1.1 and is also supported when editing flows on the web.

Open a flow in Tableau Prep on the web

  1. To open and edit an existing flow, on the Explore page select All Flows from the top drop-down menu and select your flow from the list.

  2. On the Flow Overview page, click Edit to edit your flow.

Your flow will open in a new tab. As soon as you start making changes, Tableau will automatically save your changes every few seconds and save your modified flow as a draft. Drafts are only visible to you and your administrator.

When you're finished, you can close your flow and continue making changes later or publish your flow to apply your changes, creating a new version of the flow.

Like other tools, flow publishing uses a first-in method. If another users modifies and republishes the flow before you, their changes are committed first. But you can track and revert to a previous version using the Revision History page. For more information, see Work with Content Revisions(Link opens in a new window) in the Tableau Desktop help.

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