Data Labels

Data labels are metadata that you can attach to data assets. Data labels help classify data and pass information to users. For example:

  • One published data source might be considered more authoritative than other, similarly named ones. The certification data label can help you inform users which data source is recommended.
  • A column in a database might contain outdated information. A warning data label can help you tell workbook authors and viewers that the data may not be up to date.
  • A table of employee income might contain sensitive information that shouldn't be shared. A sensitivity data label can inform users that they should take care when using data from the table.
  • A number of published data sources might be groupable based on the department that published them. A custom label name with a custom category can help express the departments responsible for the different data sources.

Note: Data labels are a more recent and extensible way of thinking about ways to classify metadata. Certifications and data quality warnings, which were part of the Data Management licence long before the term "data labels" existed, are now considered categories in the broader data label concept, along with the Sensitivity Labels released in Tableau Cloud June 2023 and Tableau Server 2023.3.

A Data Management licence is required for all data label operations except for those related to the certification of published data sources.

Assets you can label

You can add labels to the following Tableau content and external assets:

  • Databases
  • Tables
  • Columns (except for certification) (column labels introduced in Tableau Cloud October 2022 / Server 2022.3)
  • Data sources
  • Flows
  • Virtual connections
  • Virtual connection tables

Label names and categories

Each label has a name and category. The names and categories built into Tableau are:

NameCategory
CertifiedCertification
DeprecatedData Quality Warning
Stale dataData Quality Warning
Under maintenanceData Quality Warning
WarningData Quality Warning
Extract refresh failedData Quality Warning
Flow run failedData Quality Warning
Sensitive data1Sensitivity

1In Tableau Cloud March 2023/Server 2023.1 and earlier, the Sensitive data label uses the Data Quality Warning category.

Beginning with Tableau Cloud October 2023 and Tableau Server 2023.3, using the label manager on the Data Labels page or the REST API, an administrator can customise the built-in labels or create entirely new label names and categories. (Using the REST API, Tableau Cloud Administrators have been able to modify some built-in labels and add others in certain categories since June 2023.) For information, see Manage Data Labels.

Label categories

A label's category affects where and how the label appears, whether it appears on assets that are downstream from the one it's attached to, and which parts are customisable, among other things.

Certification

In a self-service environment with multiple publishers and a lot of assets, it can be difficult to find recommended content. Using certification, you can mark assets as trusted, and the assets display badges in various places across Tableau. For complete information, see Use Certification to Help Users Find Trusted Data.

Data quality warnings

Identifying problematic data is important for building trust with users. Data quality warnings allow you to mark data assets that have known issues. When you attach a data quality warning to an asset, a warning shows on it and any downstream assets that use it, making data consumers aware of problems with the source data. For example, if you mark a database table as deprecated, users viewing workbooks based on that table may see a warning.

Furthermore, data quality warnings can be set automatically when an extract refresh or flow run fails, and removed again when it succeeds. And using the Data Labels page or the REST API, administrators can create new, customised data quality warning labels, adding nuance and specificity to the warnings that users can choose from. For complete information, see Set a Data Quality Warning

Sensitivity labels

Some data needs to be handled differently. Using Sensitivity labels, you can relay data sensitivity information to consumers of that data. When you mark an asset as sensitive, users browsing Tableau Cloud will see badges on it and any downstream assets that use it. For example, if you mark a database column as sensitive, a user browsing Tableau Cloud may see a "sensitive data" badge. Furthermore, using the Data Labels page or the REST API, administrators can create new, customised sensitivity labels, adding nuance and specificity to the range of classifications that users can choose from when using sensitivity labels.

Note: Sensitivity labels were introduced in Tableau Cloud June 2023 and Tableau Server 2023.3. Earlier versions of Tableau Cloud and Tableau Server relay data sensitivity through the "Sensitive data" data quality warning instead of using a dedicated sensitivity category.

For complete information, see Sensitivity Labels.

Custom label categories

Sometimes you need to classify data in a way that isn't covered by certification, data quality warnings or sensitivity labels. Using custom categories that administrators define, you can use labels to categorise assets in any way that your organisation sees fit. For example, an administrator in your organisation might create a category called "Department" with labels in it for sales, marketing and other departments, ready to be applied to assets on your site. For complete information, see Labels with Custom Categories.

Note: The ability for administrators to create label names and categories through the label manager was released with Tableau Cloud October 2023 and Tableau Server 2023.3. Tableau Cloud administrators could use the REST API in a more limited way to create custom label names with built-in categories in June 2023.

Where data labels appear

Data labels appear in a number of places, such as

  • the tops of asset pages (workbook, data source, table, etc.)
    Labels on asset page
  • lists of assets (Explore pages, External Assets page, etc.)
    Labels on asset page
  • the Desktop data pane
    Label in the Desktop data pane
  • the web authoring Catalogue Details window
    Labels in Web Authoring catalogue details
  • the Data Details pane
    Labels in the Data Details pane

Colour indicates the category and visibility level of a label:

  • Green indicates the asset is certified
  • Blue indicates a standard-visibility quality warning
  • Yellow indicates a high-visibility quality warning
  • Grey indicates a standard-visibility sensitivity label or label with a custom category
  • Purple indicates a high-visibility sensitivity label

When you click on a label, you see the labels on that asset and inherited by that asset. Quality warning and sensitivity labels are inheritable and will show on assets downstream from the one they are attached to. Click on the upstream asset to see the page for it. Certification and custom category labels do not appear on downstream assets.

There is a single indicator for each label category, no matter how many labels of that category are on the asset or inherited by it. The indicator is coloured for high visibility if one or more of the labels it represents are high-visibility labels. For example, suppose that a table has a standard-visibility quality warning on it and the table's upstream database has a high-visibility quality warning on it. You will see a yellow Quality Warning (2) indicator because the indicator represents two quality warnings, one of which is high visibility.

Asset with labels both on it and inherited by it

The Data Labels dialog

Starting in Tableau Cloud February 2024, you add, remove and modify data labels on assets using the consolidated Data Labels dialog. (Extract refresh monitoring and flow refresh monitoring are still controlled through separate dialogs.) When navigating to data labels from an asset, selecting the certification, quality warning or sensitivity label options will bring you to the appropriate tab of the consolidated Data Labels dialog.

The Data Labels dialog

The vertical tabs on the dialog's left side correspond to data label categories, with the exception of the All labels and Selected labels tabs at the top of the list.

  • The All labels tab lists all of the site's data labels across all categories. There will be a tick by each label that is selected for the asset. This includes data labels that were selected for the asset when the dialog was opened, as well as any labels that have been selected since then.
  • The Selected labels tab lists all the data labels that have been selected for the asset. This includes data labels that were selected for the asset when the dialog was opened, as well as any labels that have been selected since then.
  • The rest of the tabs correspond to data label categories and will list all the data labels associated with that category. There will be a tick by each label that is selected for the asset. This includes data labels that were selected for the asset when the dialog was opened, as well as any labels that have been selected since then.

The search bar at the top of the dialog returns data labels that match the search term you provide, and you can select or deselect any labels you want from the results.

To change the data labels on an asset:

  1. Navigate to the label by using the search bar or vertical tabs to find the label.
  2. To add a data label to the asset, tick the box next to it.
  3. Add visibility level (if applicable) and a message if desired.
  4. To remove a data label from an asset, clear the box next to it.
  5. Add, remove or modify more labels for the asset by repeating these steps
  6. To commit your changes to the data labels on the asset and close the dialog, click Save. Or, if you want to abandon all your changes since the dialog was opened, click Cancel and confirm you want to abandon the changes.

Note: Selecting the data label instead of the tick box next to it will show details about the label without changing the status of the tick box. This is useful for seeing the label description or making changes to the message without changing the status of the label on the asset.

The consolidated Data Labels dialog is not available in Tableau Server.

For detailed information on the labels in specific categories, see the appropriate topic:

Permissions required to interact with data labels on assets

Permissions required to view, add, update and delete labels on assets are listed below:

  • To view a data label, you must have read permissions on the associated asset.
  • To add, update, or delete a data label other than a certification label, you must have write permission on the associated asset.
  • To add, update, or delete a certification label, you must be an administrator, or else you must be a project leader or product owner for the project the asset is in.
  • To add, update, or delete a certification label for an external asset not in a project, you must have the change permissions permission on the associated asset.

Comparison of data labels and tags

Tableau Cloud and Tableau Server also feature another solution for asset classification: Tags. Data labels and tags differ in significant ways:

AreaData LabelsTags
Structure and controlAdministrators control the range of data labelsNo administrative control over the range of tags users add
PermissionsAbility to add/update/remove data labels controlled through asset permissionsExplorers and Creators can tag any assets that they can view
AppearanceData label iconography is easily seen and colour-coded by category and visibility levelTags are generally less visible than data labels and have no iconography
InheritanceSome data labels (like warnings and sensitivity labels) show on downstream assetsNo inheritance
SearchabilityCan be used as search filter criteriaCan be used as search filter criteria
API accessibleAccess via REST API and Metadata API possibleAccess via REST API and Metadata API possible
Licence requirementsRequires a Data Management licence (except for the certification of published data sources)No licensing requirements
UseStructured categorization focused on providing important information that can influence users' use of dataOpen ended method to categorise assets

For more information on tags, see Use Tags(Link opens in a new window) in the Tableau Desktop and Web Authoring Help.

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