After some investigation, I have confirmed that this crosstab export behavior is currently by design. There is a fundamental difference in the way that Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server exports crosstabs. Tableau Desktop will export a crosstab as a formatted Excel file/workbook, whereas Tableau Server exports the crosstab as a CSV file which will inherently be formatted differently.
A potential work around in Tableau Desktop would be to copy/paste the crosstab:
Worksheet > Copy > Crosstab
This information can then be pasted in Excel.
Let me know if you have any questions on the above. The Ideas forum is a great place to suggest, further discuss, and vote on feature requests: http://community.tableau.com/community/ideas
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I already know this is the case as it was confirmed by Tableau Support. However, they have submitted this as a feature request.
Is there any way/workaround to export a crosstab as a formatted Excel file in Tableau Server (similar to Tableau Desktop)?