Site Roles in Tableau Server

by Joe Beaven

On Tableau Server, there are two main ways to limit content available to certain users. These are through Permissions (which Charlie Scammell has written about) or alternatively through Site Roles, the focus of this blog.

What is the difference between the two? Crucially, Permissions are applied to Content, granting/denying users to specific workbooks, datasources and flows. On the other hand, Site Roles are applied to Users, determining the maximum level of access available to each of the users on your Server.

An example of this is setting a users Site Role to Viewer. If they were added to a Project, they would never be able to save any edits made to dashboards. This would apply even if the Project permissions were set for all users to be able to edit and save dashboards. Hence, Site Roles set the ceiling for each users experience when acting with Tableau Server.

Different Types of Site Roles (highest to lowest access level):

Server Administrator – Server Administrators create Users and set their Site Role. In addition, they can create Sites and add Users. They can create Projects and set Permissions for all users. Server Administrators have full editing and saving rights to any dashboards.

Site Administrator Explorer – These users can add other server users to their Site. Within the Site, they can create groups to make the management of permissions easier at a Project Level. Site Administrators have full editing and saving rights to any dashboards on their sites. They can also publish content to the server if they are Site Administrator Creators.

Creator – Creators can publish their dashboards to Tableau Server. They can download, edit and save content on the Server. This is the maximum level of access available to Creators and any of these default permissions can be removed by the Site Administrator.

Explorer (can publish) – Users with an Explorer (can publish) license cannot publish new content to Tableau Server but can save changes made to content through WebEdit. Again, these permissions can be restricted by Site Administrators.

WebEdit: Tableau Desktop’s online equivalent. Tableau’s Sample Superstore Overview Workbook

Explorer – Explorers can open dashboards on Tableau Server and can make edits, build new views ,explore and analyse the data further in WebEdit but these changes cannot be saved.

Viewer – The Viewer Site Role enables to user to see content in the format it was published. They can interact with dashboards (apply filters etc) but cannot open dashboards in WebEdit.

Unlicensed – These users cannot edit or view any content on Tableau Server. The primary use case for Unlicensed users is for employees leaving a company or changing department. As all content published on Tableau Server is owned by the user who created it. If the user is deleted, any content they created is lost. Therefore, for other users to access any work completed by a former colleague, the account must still exist even if it is not being used.

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