When you install Tableau Server, you have to activate at least one product key. Doing this activates the server, and specifies the number of licence levels you can assign to users. There are also times you may need to activate licences after Tableau Server is installed, for example, if you add capacity to your server, or get a new product key. If you don't have your product key, you can get it from the Tableau Customer Account Centre.

In most cases, you can activate your key directly from Tableau, either during installation, or later, using the Tableau Services Manager (TSM) Licences page, but there are some circumstances that don't allow you to do this. If your computer is not connected to the internet for example, or has a firewall that restricts access outside your intranet. In these cases you need to do an offline activation.

  • Offline activation when adding a licence – To complete an offline activation when you are adding a licence to Tableau Server, see Activate Tableau Server Offline - Adding a Licence.
  • Offline activation of licences during install – To complete an offline activation when you are installing Tableau Server, follow the steps below.

Offline activation overview and prerequisites

Offline activation of Tableau Server involves several steps. If you have never activated a product key before on your computer, you need to run through the steps twice, once to initialise licensing on the computer, and a second time to activate the key. If you have had a licence on the computer in the past, you run through the steps only once.

Offline activation steps:

  1. Generate an offline activation request file (offline.tlq).
  2. Upload the offline activation request to Tableau and download the resulting activation file (activation.tlf).
  3. Upload the activation file to Tableau Server.

If this is the first time a Tableau product key has been activated on the computer, you repeat these three steps a second time.

Use the TSM web interface

If you are unable to do an activation of your product key from within the TSM Setup UI, you can do an offline activation. This might be necessary if you are installing on a computer that is isolated without internet access. If you attempt to activate your product key and see a dialog that says online activation is unavailable, you can activate the key offline. Click Activate Licence Offline.

Instructions for a five-step process display.

  1.  Create an offline file for each product key you want to activate.

    Create an offline file you will upload to Tableau. If your product key is not pre-filled in the form, enter your key and click Create Offline File to generate an offline file (offline.tlq) on the local computer.

    Leave the Tableau Server install program open and copy the offline.tlq file to a computer with internet access. You need to upload this file to Tableau to generate an activation file.

  2. Upload and submit the offline file.

    On the computer where you copied the offline.tlq file, open a browser and go to http://www.tableau.com/support/activation to open the Tableau Support Activation page. You will upload and submit the offline.tlq file to Tableau. This automatically generates an activation file (activation.tlf) that you can download and copy back to the Tableau Server computer.

    1. On the Offline Activation page, click Choose File to select the offline.tlq file.
    2. Click Upload Activation File to submit the file to Tableau.
    3. Click the here link to download the activation.tlf file to your computer.

    4. Copy the downloaded activation.tlf file to the computer where Tableau Server is installed.
  3. Upload the activation file.

    On the Tableau Server computer, click Upload Activation File to upload the file to Tableau Server.

  4. Create, upload and submit a second offline file.

    If this is the first Tableau licence activated on the computer, then you will need to activate again.

    Perform Steps 1 and 2 again: create a new offline.tlq file, submit it to Tableau, and download another activation.tlf file.

  5. Upload the second activation file.

    On the Tableau Server computer, upload the second activation.tlf file. When you do this successfully, the Activate Licence option is enabled.

  6. Click Activate Licence to complete the offline activation and continue with the installation process.

Use the TSM CLI

Log in to Tableau Services Manager

Before you can proceed you must log in to Tableau Services Manager (TSM).

To log in to TSM, run the following command:

tsm login -u <username>

What if I can't log in?

The account that you use to configure the rest of the installation must be a member of the tsmadmin group that was created during initialisation. To view the user accounts in the tsmadmin group, run the following command:

grep tsmadmin /etc/group

If the user account is not in the group, run the following command to add the user to the tsmadmin group:

sudo usermod -G tsmadmin -a <username>

After you have added the user to the tsmadmin group, run the tsm login command.

Step 1 - Generate an offline activation request file

  1. On the initial node, open a terminal session.

  2. Type this command to get your offline activation file: 

    tsm licenses get-offline-activation-file -k <product-key> -o <target-directory>

    You can get your product key from the Tableau Customer Portal(Link opens in a new window). The target directory must already exist.

  3. Copy the offline activation file (offline.tlq) from the target directory to a computer that has internet access.

Step 2 - Upload the offline activation request to Tableau

  1. On the computer that has internet access, go to the Tableau Product Activations(Link opens in a new window) page.

  2. Complete the instructions to upload your offline.tlq file.

    This creates an activation file, activation.tlf.

  3. Download the resulting activation file from Tableau.

Step 3 - Initialise or activate your licence

  1. Copy the activation file (activation.tlf) to a location accessible from your Tableau Server computer.

  2. Run the following command: 

    tsm licenses activate -f <path-and-activation-file> 
  3. (Skip this step if you are installing Tableau Server for the first time.) 

    Restart the server for licensing changes to take effect: 

    tsm restart 

First time licence activation

If this is the first Tableau licence activated on the computer, you will see this message:

Your license has been initialized. To complete the activation, we need one more exchange. Generate and send to Tableau a second activation request file.

Repeat steps 1 to 3 above to activate your licence. You need to generate a second offline.tlq file, upload it to Tableau and download the resulting activation.tlf file, then use that file to activate your licence.

If you are not sure whether you need to repeat the steps, you can run this command:

tsm licenses list

If you see a message like this one you need to repeat the steps above:

No licenses are currently activated.

Subsequent licence activation

If this is not the first Tableau licence activated on the computer, or if you have completed the steps above two times, you should see a success message:

Activation successful.

Tableau Server is activated. If you need additional assistance, contact Tableau Technical Support(Link opens in a new window).


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