Prepare for Publishing a Workbook

When you publish a workbook, you need to make a decisions that determine how others will access the views and the data behind them. You also need to take into account the experience you and others will have of interacting with the views on the server. Before you publish your workbook, use the information in this topic to help you make these decisions and improve the workbook’s performance.

Note: If you have a Tableau site administrator, check with them on whether your organization already has publishing guidelines that have already answered these questions.

What makes up a typical published workbook

During the publishing process, you select settings that determine how the pieces that make up the workbook interact with each other. The following image shows a simplified overview of a workbook’s structure.

  1. The underlying (original) data that you connected to when you created the workbook. When you publish, you specify whether to include credentials for accessing this data, or whether to require users to enter credentials to access it.

  2. The Tableau data source. This is where the action is. It contains the XML metadata that describes how to access the underlying data (A), field customizations or calculations you made in Tableau, when to refresh the extract if there is one.

    In this image, the data is embedded in the workbook, and it contains an extract connection and refresh schedule, some calculations, and so on.

  3. A view showing data from B, which you want to make available for your colleagues to edit or interact with on the server. When you publish, you can select the sheets—which include views, dashboards, and stories—you want to share.

Decide how to access the data and keep it up-to-date

During the publishing steps, you need to answer the following questions about the data connection. For help with the answers, see Best Practices for Published Data Sources.

  • Will you publish with a live connection to the data, or will you create an extract?

    If you publish live connections to Tableau Cloud, see Authorize Access to Cloud Data Published to Tableau Cloud.

  • Do you want to publish the workbook’s connections as separate, standalone Tableau data sources (and then connect the workbook to the published data); or embed the data into the workbook?

    Tip: If the workbook already connects to a Tableau data source, you keep the existing connection. That means you’ve just answered this question.

  • Do you want the workbook to show the data when other users open the workbook, or do you want to require them to provide database credentials? (Either way, they must also have access to the site and project you publish to.)

    This can be complicated depending on the data the workbook connects to. In many cases, the simple path to data described below works great. If it doesn’t work for you (or you’re not sure), see Set Credentials for Accessing Your Published Data.

The simple path to data authorization

When you go through the publishing steps, you specify how your workbook users will access the data the workbook connects to. You do this in the Data Sources section of the Publish Workbook dialog box.

Depending on the connection type, the simple path might work for your environment. You would do one of the following:

For a connection to a Tableau data source: Keep the existing connection and embed the password.

For other data connections:

  1. Before you open the Publish Workbook dialog box, create an extract and include only the data you need for the workbook.

  2. In the Publish Workbook dialog box, embed the extract in the workbook and select Allow refresh access. The latter embeds the credentials in the connection.

  3. After you specify remaining settings and click Publish, set up a refresh schedule.

For the complete steps, see Comprehensive Steps to Publish a Workbook.

Scenarios where data authorization requires some extra effort

The simple path doesn’t work best for every situation. Some reasons you might need to divert from it include:

  • Instead of embedding data into workbooks, your existing policies mandate publishing data sources separately and connecting workbooks to the Tableau published data sources.

    This requires a few more steps than embedding the data; however, where there is a choice between the two, publishing data separately and managing it on the server is considered a better practice.

  • You added a user filter to enforce row-level security. In this scenario, publishing live connections is more common, and other steps are required to secure the filter.

  • You’re publishing to Tableau Server, and you use SAP HANA or Impala single sign-on, or your workbook connects to data that can use impersonation-based authorization (SQL Server or Kerberos-enabled data).

  • Other reasons that have to do with your organization’s data security or authorization policies, which your IT staff can help you with.

Even if whatever you decide turns out to be not the best path, you can easily correct it by republishing. In some cases, your site administrator can change the settings on the server directly.

Assess the workbook performance and ease of use

Keep performance and interaction best practices in mind as you build workbooks you want to publish. If changes take a long time to display while you’re working in Tableau Desktop, they will take as long or longer to display on the server. Simple steps you can take that can have a big impact include limiting the number of marks you add to a view, limiting the number of views you add to a dashboard, and removing unused fields from your data source.

For additional tips, see the following topics:

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