Quick tip: publish a data source to Tableau Server

by Gordon Hack

In order to collaborate effectively, maximise storage economy and standardise versions, it is good practice to publish data sources to Tableau Server. This creates a single unified source for team members to work from, rather than having multiple copies potentially taking up space or with variations to calculations. When a data source is published, all calculations are ‘baked-in’, facilitating standardisation.

to publish, first make sure you are signed on to your server, then right click on the data source from within a sheet and select publish to server:

The publishing dialog gives you several options for customisation. First of all you may select the project on the server where the data source should be saved. Then you can give data source a name, and optionally a description and tags.

Then there is the option to set the permissions of the data source, a useful feature for controlling standardisation. Whether or not the permissions can be edited depends on the permissions of the project into the which the data source is to be saved. If I create a new project on the server with out any permissions specified (left below), I have the option to edit permissions of the data source. This is not possible if the permissions of the project have been locked (right below).

Actions such as overwrite, view, delete, etc. can be finely customised for different users and groups of users.

By default, the option to ‘include external files’ is checked and, if publishing file- based sources from a personal computer, should generally be left checked. This option uploads a copy of the data file(s) itself (such as an .xlsx) along with other assets such as images. Un-checking the option will not copy files to server but will attempt to initiate a live connection to the files that make up the data source. This may be relevant for example for a shared excel file in a shared network location.

If a data source is to be published to server without external files included, the full UNC path of the data soure must be specified. This is can be found by navigating to the file through the network section of windows explorer and takes the form: \\computer-name\share-location-name. Simply connect tableau to data source at this location and then publish without ‘include external files’ checked.

With the final option the user can specify whether or not the current workbook should immediately switch to the new published data source.

That’s all folks!


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