Connect to Data by Using Tableau Server or Tableau Online

You can connect to data from either Tableau Desktop or a web browser by using Tableau Server or Tableau Online. The process differs slightly for each.

Starting in 2019.3, Tableau Catalog is available in the Data Management Add-on to Tableau Server and Tableau Online. When Tableau Catalog is enabled in your environment, in addition to connecting to published data sources from Tableau Server or Tableau Online, you can connect to databases and tables from the Search for Data results on Tableau Desktop. For more information about Tableau Catalog, see "About Tableau Catalog" in the Tableau Server or Tableau Online Help.

Tableau Prep Builder can connect to published data sources and you can use them as an input data source for your flow starting in version 2019.3.1. If you have the Data Management Add-on with Tableau Catalog enabled, starting in version 2020.2.2, you can also connect to databases and tables from the Search for Data results, just like Tableau Desktop. For more information, see Connecting to published data sources in the Tableau Prep Builder help.

Connect from Tableau Desktop

Note: Starting 2019.3, on the Connect pane, Tableau Server has moved to the top of the pane under Search for Data. Select this option to connect to Tableau Server or Tableau Online from Tableau Desktop.

  1. Start Tableau Desktop and on the Connect pane, under Search for Data, select Tableau Server.
  2. To connect to Tableau Server, enter the name of the server and then select Connect.

    To connect to Tableau Online, select Tableau Online under Quick Connect.

    Tableau Server Sign In dialog box

    Tip: If you don't sign out, Tableau Desktop saves your server connection, so you can skip step 3. You can also skip it if Kerberos is enabled on Tableau Server and your computer has valid credentials. For more information, see Automatically keep Tableau Desktop connected to Tableau Server or Online.

  3. To sign in:
    • For Tableau Server, enter your user name and password.
    • For Tableau Online, enter your email address and password.
  4. Select a data source from the list of published data sources. (Data that you don't have Connect permissions for is grayed out.)

    Note: If you select a cube (multidimensional) data source, the Create Local Copy dialog box appears, and you must create a local copy of the data before you can start your analysis.

    Search for Data page

    Search for data by using the Search box. Or you can sort the list by selecting the column headers. Column headers that support sorting are underlined when you hover over the header. You can also select the filter icon to filter data by Connection Type and by Certified.

    Filter options

    When Tableau Catalog is enabled,

    • You can select from Data Sources, Databases and Files, or Tables to search for data.
    • Content Type drop-down menu

    • You can filter assets by Data Quality Warning: All assets, Assets without warnings, and Assets with warnings.
      Data quality warning drop-down menu
    • You can filter certified assets.
      Certified check box

    Note: From the Search for Data results, you can make a connection with a subset of the data connectors that Tableau Desktop supports. If a data source, database, file, or table is grayed out, you can't connect from Tableau Server or Tableau Online. You can, however, connect from the Tableau Desktop Connect pane, if you have the correct permissions.

  5. After you select the data you want to connect to, click Connect.
  6. Select the sheet tab to start your analysis.

Data sources published to Tableau Server or Tableau Online are shown in the Data pane with a Tableau icon.

Example of Tableau icon

You might want to download a local copy of the data source so that you can, for example, work offline or make changes to a data source without modifying the original. To download a local copy, on the Data menu, select the data source, and then select Create Local Copy. A duplicate of the data source is added to the Data pane.

Sign in on a Mac

If you use Tableau Desktop on a Mac, when you enter the server name to connect, use a fully qualified domain name, such as mydb.test.ourdomain.lan, instead of a relative domain name, such as mydb or mydb.test.

Alternatively, you can add the domain to the list of Search Domains for the Mac computer so that when you connect, you need to provide only the server name. To update the list of Search Domains, go to System Preferences > Network > Advanced, and then open the DNS tab.

Connect to published data sources while web authoring

Tableau Desktop users who create and customize data connections for Tableau use can publish their data sources to Tableau Server or Tableau Online. Publishing enables sharing data among colleagues, including those who don't use Tableau Desktop, but have permission to edit workbooks in the web editing environment.

If you have permission to edit workbooks in a browser, follow these steps to connect to published data sources when you’re signed in to Tableau Server or Tableau Online. For more information see Edit Tableau Views on the Web and Using Tableau on the Web.

Note: To connect to data, you need permission to create and edit views.

Add more data to an existing view

  1. On a Tableau Server or Tableau Online site, select a view to edit.
  2. In editing mode, click the New Data Source icon .
  3. In the Connect to Data page, the options you can see and select from depend on your permissions:
    • On this site. Select a published data source from the list, and then select Add data source.

      When Tableau Catalog is enabled in your environment, you can select Data Sources, Databases and Files, or Tables from the Content Type drop-down list. Then select the data you want to connect to and click Connect.

    • Files. Drag and drop a file or upload one from your computer.
    • Connectors. Connect to your data using one of the connectors listed.

Create a workbook with a published data source

You can also connect to a published data source when creating a new workbook:

  1. On a Tableau Server or Tableau Online site, navigate to the Explore page, and select All Data Sources from the drop-down list.
  2. In the list, select the check box next to the data you want to use.
  3. At the top of the page, from the Actions drop-down menu, select New Workbook.

For information about connecting to data when you're authoring on the web, see Creators: Connect to Data on the Web.

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