6 Replies Latest reply on May 9, 2012 4:05 AM by Victor Blaer

    Extract Refresh menu grayed out in data connections

    Richard Dodds

      We have a twb file with a data connection that points to a tde fed by an Excel spreadsheet. When we open the twb file in Tableau Desktop 7.0 and try right-clicking on the connection to 'truly' refresh the extract with Extract, Refresh, these menu items cannot be selected because they are grayed out. In one case, these menu options were available when we first created the twb, but were grayed out after saving the file, closing it, and then re-opening it.


      We notice as well that the times when the menu choices are grayed out correspond to time when the symbol next to the data connection name appears as a single gray cylinder in the Data Connection area. If the symbol appears as a double-cylinder-with-an-arrow icon the right-click menu options are not grayed out.


      So a few of questions arise:

      1. Why would the menu choices be grayed out in some instances and not in others?
      2. What is indicated by the two different icon types next to the name of the data connection?
      3. Looking at the Tableau Knowledge Base, the article titled Refreshing an Extract (http://kb.tableausoftware.com/articles/knowledgebase/refresh-extract) in the 'Refresh an extract you used as a data connection' section seems to imply that there is no need to refresh the data connection, and that extraction refreshes happen automatically as long as the underlying data sources is up to date. Is this true?


      Just trying to sort things out, so any clarifications would be great. Thanks.

        • 1. Re: Extract Refresh menu grayed out in data connections

          The KB article linked describes the situation in play.  When the data source is a Tableau Data Extract, the refresh options are disabled as the links to the original data source (in this case the Excel file are not available). To refresh this extract, open the workbook used to connect to the Excel file and create the extract, refresh the extract from that workbook and the workbook in question will have a refreshed extract.


          The meaning behind the data connection symbol is key to this behavior. When you see the two cylinders (the blue one and the second 'ghost' grey cylinder), this symbol denotes an active extract for a file or live data source. The extract can be refreshed in this circumstance. When only a single blue cylinder is displayed and the data source is a data extract, the refresh option is disabled (per the reasons provided above).

          2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Extract Refresh menu grayed out in data connections
            Richard Dodds

            Thanks for this reply. I think that the confusion for me comes in the wording of the knowledgebase article. It appears that the truly differentiating factor between when a data connection to a .tde file can be refreshed or not lies with which workbook originally created the .tde extract file.


            If I open the Tableau workbook within which the .tde extract file was originally created, the Extract, Refresh menu options appear when I right-click on the data connection. If I am in any other Tableau workbook linked to the already-created .tde file, those menu items are grayed out. In these latter cases, I need to open the workbook within which the .tde file was originally created (if I remember where that is) and refresh the .tde. Then all my other twb's that link to the .tde will display the refreshed data.


            Do I have this correct? If not, please let me know. If it is correct, having some sort of language in the support article that underscores this division between workbooks that originally create the .tde's and those that merely connect to the pre-existing .tde's later might be a useful clarifier.

            • 3. Re: Extract Refresh menu grayed out in data connections

              Your understanding is correct.  Only the workbook with the original data connection that the extract is based on can refresh the extract.  All other workbooks that are based on the resulting extract will rely on that original workbook to refresh the extract.


              I will submit your comments to the Knowledgebase team for inclusion in a future update.

              2 of 2 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Extract Refresh menu grayed out in data connections
                Richard Dodds

                Thanks, Kim!


                In case it would be helpful for others interested in this topic, I am including the hyperlink below to a PDF that shows the steps I took in figuring this out for myself. Please feel free to take a look.




                RIchard Dodds

                • 5. Re: Extract Refresh menu grayed out in data connections
                  Bob Laverty

                  Thanks everyone.  This was a helpful discussion. 

                  I reviewed your test process, Richard, and it was a good demonstration of the issue.


                  Bob Laverty

                  • 6. Re: Extract Refresh menu grayed out in data connections
                    Victor Blaer

                    thank you richard - great explanation, way better than what i managed