7 Replies Latest reply on Sep 22, 2016 11:09 AM by Timothy Vermeiren

    How do YOU use the new Google Sheets data connector w/ Tableau?

    Marshall Daly



      Marshall Daly here from team Tableau’s product marketing team. I’m doing research on the native Google Sheets connector (it’s new!) released with Tableau 10, and would love your help.


      Google Sheets can be used in some interesting ways... ways that Excel and other traditional spreadsheet tools cannot. And it opens up new possibilities for visualization in Tableau. Our own marketing team, for example, now uses Google Sheets as a data source for our org-wide content calendar. Tableau writers and designers now add content to the calendar’s data source (a Google Sheet) at any time, and the updates show up in our dashboard visible to the entire team. It’s pretty cool stuff!


      But we think that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m curious how our community is using Google Sheets + Tableau. Is there something the new Sheets connector allows you to do, that any old spreadsheet tool would not?


      I’m collecting Google Sheets use cases, and will be publishing many of the stories to the Tableau blog. Please let us knowby posting in this threadwhat you and your Google Sheets have been up to. Does the new connector allow you to streamline a process? Enable you to do a new kind of analysis? Help you involve more people in your work?


      We want to know!


      All the best,


        • 1. Re: How do YOU use the new Google Sheets data connector w/ Tableau?
          Tom W

          The big advantage for me is that it's bridging a gap between a hosted source like a SQL Server Database and a traditional Excel file sitting on my computer.

          We don't have a 'network share' where we host shared files and tools like Dropbox can actually make the process of sharing reports in Tableau frustrating. For example, c:\users\tom\dropbox\mydata.xlsx is going to be in a different location for other users, which means we need to use extracts, continually change paths etc.

          The beauty of the sheet connector is that it's hosted and it's live. We can collaborate on the data and refresh in Tableau without the need to save extracted copies of our data etc.


          I haven't utilized this yet, but I'm also pretty excited about the opportunity to layer in some Google Scripts. I've used the Google Script engine elsewhere to automatically refresh a Google Sheet with data from various web API's as scripts can be scheduled to run on a periodic and repetitive basis. I think that presents an interesting opportunity to create a quick and dirty transformational layer between Tableau and your data which can be set to automatically update and refresh. I've been meaning to write something up on this since the T10 release but haven't gotten around to it.

          • 2. Re: How do YOU use the new Google Sheets data connector w/ Tableau?
            Jim Horbury

            Hacky use-cases are often the most interesting and rewarding avenues in Tab. In our environment we had a requirement for user-adjustable parameters in a view. No problem, except this particular view is output as a static document every N mins by a TabCmd workflow - the interactive view is never seen. The parameters in question are effectively targets, not stored in any database tables (yet) and are aligned to dimensions in the core data source. The workaround we eventually settled on was to create a simple Google sheet with the dimension / measures as the required targets, connect to this as an additional data source, and blend it with the core data sources on the dimensions required. We then use the ATTR([measure value]) all over the place in our view with impunity. Best bit is that the stakeholders are more than happy to use a simple Google sheet to adjust targets, which doesn't require saving. Target changed > TabCmd workflow > updated viz in the inbox / on the screen in 2 mins. Works great.

            • 3. Re: How do YOU use the new Google Sheets data connector w/ Tableau?
              Simon Runc

              hi Marshall,


              So first thing to say is "Loving the Google Sheets Connector"


              I have been using it in several ways...one is using the IMPORTHTML Google Sheets function to have "Code Free Scraping"





              ...and in conjunction with the "Union" and "Spreadsheet Analyser/corrector", it just works a treat. If you look at how the above example is "corrected", it's (cleverly) concatenated the Column Headings from the top 3 rows. And where we have multiple tables, the "Union" is great. And then also with cross-datasource joins, it all "just works"!


              The other use case is similar to Jim's...in that, we can (for Live server-side model) allow our users to enter data, on the fly (forecasts, as Jim mentions, is a great use-case for this, as well as "custom grouping of products"). One of our services is a multi-tenanted one, where we collect retailer data and play this back to the client in a visual way. The tool is the same for all clients, but their exact-requirements often differ (a yogurt supplier has very different needs from a pet care supplier, for example). Although we cater for as many use-cases as possible, we can't cover every bespoke need. This is giving us the ability to let them "enter their own data" and enrich their models. We are still in the "playing" part of the development (very much the start of this journey), and need to see if leaving the GSheet live, or using TabCmd to trigger a refresh (and so bake the GSheet data into the main TDE) is the best way...but it has a lot of potential.


              These are the main 2 uses I've found so far, but sure there will be many others! So for me it's not just the Google Sheets Connector, but how useful it is in conjunction with the other 'ETL'-type functionality that makes this so powerful.

              2 of 2 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: How do YOU use the new Google Sheets data connector w/ Tableau?
                Alex Braun

                I'm excited to use the Google Form's ability to drop survey data live into a spreadsheet and then be able to analyze directly in Tableau in real time.

                • 5. Re: How do YOU use the new Google Sheets data connector w/ Tableau?
                  Simon Runc

                  Nice use case Alex...I hadn't thought about Google forms, and the fact you can set them up to capture responses in a GSheet.


                  Which has promoted another use-case....IFTT (If This Then That) App (and alike, such as Tasker). I have quite a few 'recipes' who's output is captured on a Google Sheet (eg. Geo-fence-triggered-event when I arrive at work, mum's house, my house...etc.). So now can make a live Viz of this data.

                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: How do YOU use the new Google Sheets data connector w/ Tableau?
                    Rahul Upadhye

                    With version 10.0 my personal dashboard always stay fresh with Google Sheets.

                    Google Sheets has this function: IMPORTDATA(url)

                    I like this function to pull a table from let's say Wikipedia directly into Google Sheet.


                    My Use-case:

                    As a data-fan I like to track my household Earnings Vs. Expenses.

                    Partly this helps to do my Annual Taxes & partly to Track Goals.

                    So far, I had to manually edit local excel files & refresh my local dashboards.


                    Now with v.10.0 onwards my ability is extended to utilize the web-space more efficiently.

                    I've shifted to Google-Sheets to populate live dashboards stored in Tableau Public.

                    This is a great feature & im loving it so far...

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: How do YOU use the new Google Sheets data connector w/ Tableau?
                      Timothy Vermeiren

                      That works great! We actually did a live survey with an audience, where the attendants responded to the survey all at the same time at the end of the event. The results were analyzed and presented live on screen and as you can guess, that was pretty amazing!

                      1 of 2 people found this helpful