9 Replies Latest reply on Mar 7, 2014 6:29 AM by stephen.pollak

    Aliases and new data source

    Manon V

      I have aliases for some of my measures / dimensions.  I did not want to rename them because I want to keep the original name behind the alias. (I'm created French headers using English names).


      However when I load a new data source in Tableau, my aliases are not staying.  Tableau resets them to the original measure/dimension name.   Is there a way to work around this?      Why would Tableau give you the option of giving an alias if it can't be kept whenever you load new data?


      Anyone has suggestions?



        • 1. Re: Aliases and new data source
          Matt Lutton

          You said "...when I load a new data source..." -- then later asked why it can't be kept when you "load new data" (these could potentially be two different things, so I could be confused about what type of solution you are looking for, and for what scenario).


          If you were loading new data to the same source, the aliases would stick.  However, aliases are set on each data source and there is no way for a new data source to inherit aliases from another data source, even if they include the same fields.


          Does that make sense, or did I miss the point of your question?  If I did, please explain the scenario where you'd like aliases to be kept in place.  Someone else may have a better explanation, or workarounds, for you.


          Also may wanna vote (and see workarounds): http://community.tableau.com/ideas/1954

          • 2. Re: Aliases and new data source
            Manon V

            That makes sense.   My data sources all have different names (have dates in them).  So I'll need to find a way to have a generic extract so that aliases stick.


            I create my Tableau extracts from Excel files.  So let's say I name my first extract CURRENT_POPULATION.  Two weeks later, I want to replace that with the latest numbers.  When I want to import the new data into CURRENT_POPULATION, Tableau will not allow me to do it because the name already exists.


            I don't think you can delete it and create a new one.  Wouldn't that wipe all my information first?


            Does that make sense?

            • 3. Re: Aliases and new data source
              Matt Lutton

              If the original data still exists in the Excel file, then deleting and creating a new one would not wipe all the previous information--however, I don't understand why you can't import the new data.


              If the data is not being added, but is instead replacing old data in the Excel file, then you would not want to create a new one and lose your old data.  As long as rows are just being added, you can create a new extract at any time.  But if its more like a "snapshot" in time, you wouldn't want to do that.  Hopefully I am making sense.


              I am not an expert on these topics at all, so someone else can join in the discussion at any time.


              You said "Tableau will not allow me to... because the name already exists."  What name are you referring to?

              • 4. Re: Aliases and new data source
                Ramon Martinez

                If I understand well, you are connecting to the same data source from scratch, I mean, as it is the first time you connect to your data.


                My suggestion is:

                1) connect to your data

                2) define your aliases, define calculated field and any thing else you need to do you your connection

                3) Save your data connection by right clicking on your data source and select option Add to Save Data Sources...


                Step 3 will save your data connection, so your data connection will appear in Connect Data page in Tableau Desktop, in the right side area under Saved data Sources. The data connection keep all your aliases and any calculated field you defined earlier.


                Next time you want to connect to your data source, just click on the Name of your connection (in Saved data Source) instead of making a new connection to your data source.


                I hope this help.




                • 5. Re: Aliases and new data source
                  Manon V

                  Here's an example of my connection:


                  File 1:  Current_estab_Jun_30_2013  (my current file)

                  File 2:  Current_estab_Sep_22_2013 (file I want to use and keep my aliases)


                  If I do a replace data source with the new file, I lose all my aliases.


                  If I create a generic name for my Jun_30_2013 file, say like "Current_estab",   when I try to load file 2 to overwrite "Current_estab", Tableau will tell me that it needs a different name because it already exists.

                  • 6. Re: Aliases and new data source
                    Ramon Martinez

                    What you describe is a situation where you are dealing with two data sources.


                    Adding date to the name of your data source (excel file) is not a good practice. I suggest to use a dimension on your data source to distinguish or differentiate and update in your data source. Sort of a timestamp field This way you have just one data source and can keep all your metadata (aliases, etc)

                    • 7. Re: Aliases and new data source
                      Manon V

                      I still don't understand how to load a new Excel extract and keep the same Tableau Extract name.


                      I renamed my File 1 to "Current Estab".  I now want to import File 2 to replace that file 1.  What are the steps?  


                      My file Current Estab in in my Saved Data Source but how to I refresh it by using new data?


                      Sorry for all the questions - just finding this a little confusing!

                      • 8. Re: Aliases and new data source
                        Ramon Martinez



                        You have to work with only one excel file and update the data content in it.


                        For instance, you have the file "Current Estab" and two weeks later you have a new excel file "File 2" with new content.


                        1) If you want to add the data content in "File 2" to "Current Estab" just go to File 2, select all rows and column, copy and then go to Current Estab and paste the content after the last row

                        2) If you want to replace the whole data currently in file "Current Estab" with the new data in "File 2", open the file Current Estab, erase the whole content. Then go to File 2, copy all rows and columns and pasted to the file Current Estab


                        Then go to your workbook in Tableau and refresh your extract.

                        • 9. Re: Aliases and new data source

                          We have problems with aliases resetting themselves back to the default values.  This can occur when refreshing a data link, that may have a field label change.  The reset, however, impacts more than the field whose name changed.


                          In some other circumstances, unrelated to data refreshes and which we have yet to figure out, the aliases also change.


                          It is an enormous pain, as we must then rebuild the field headings for many of our existing worksheet tables.


                          We are running Tableau 8.1.4, using VMware Fusion 6.02, on a new iMac (i7) with 32GB of physician RAM.