Tableau Server - Accessing the PostgreSQL database

by Ben Moss

Last week as part of our project I was asked to create a landing dashboard that allowed our users to better find content that was related to them.

Between myself and the client we defined ‘related to them’ in four ways; the last 5 previously accessed reports, the top 5 trending reports (company wide), the top 5 reports of all time and also reports that others in their ‘work group’ have accessed but they never have.

This was an excellent project and I really enjoyed building this piece for them. The biggest help for me was this Mark Jacksons blog, even if you aren’t necessarily designing a Tableau landing dashboard it is a great way to understand how the PostgreSQL database behind Tableau Server is structured given how many tables there actually are (94).

In order to login to your PostgresSQL database you simply open Tableau Desktop and use the connect pane to connect to PostgreSQL using your details.


The PostGreSQL database comes with two users (and one super user) as default (you cannot add other users); tableau, readonly and tblwgadmin (the superuser). The readonly user has significantly more access to tables within the database. The list is available on Tableau’s website here. This piece also gives details about each of the columns in each table so is a very useful document.

As default there is no access to these accounts, no password is set up. You must run a command prompt in order to set the password, and this will be my ‘how to’ for this blog. For last weeks project I didn’t have to do this as it had already been set up by my colleagues at The Information Lab.

  1. Open command prompt as an administrator
  2. Run the following command;cd “C:\Program Files\Tableau\Tableau Server\[version]\bin”

    so if you are running 9.3 then it will be…

    cd “C:\Program Files\Tableau\Tableau Server\9.3\bin”

    Note if you installed the 32bit version of Tableau Server then it will instead be

    cd “C:\Program Files[x86]\Tableau\Tableau Server\[version]\bin”

    Now in order to changed the password for the tableau user add the following command

    tabadmin dbpass –username tableau Password

    for the read only user

    tabadmin dbpass –username readonly Password

    Another note here… if no user is defined then the password will automatically be set to the tableau user.

  3. Now restart your server with the commandtabadmin restart

    …your passwords have now been set and you can now access the PostgreSQL database.

Thanks for reading and I hope I have managed to teach you a few things. Expect more Tableau Server blogs as the group become more exposed to the platform.






Thu 25 Feb 2016

Wed 24 Feb 2016