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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).
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.
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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.
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.
Thanks everyone. This was a helpful discussion.
I reviewed your test process, Richard, and it was a good demonstration of the issue.
thank you richard - great explanation, way better than what i managed