2 Replies Latest reply on Nov 5, 2013 11:07 AM by jaimie.stark

    Source File Structure for Dashboard


      Hello - I'm looking for suggestions related to the structure/locations of source data files, extracts and Tableau workbooks. I currently have multiple Tableau workbooks published to Tableau Server. On a monthly basis I download the workbooks, replace existing local Excel files with updated files, refresh extracts within Tableau Desktop, make updates (since the dashboard is fairly new, I'm making regular changes to views, etc. along with the data refresh) and publish. The data source files consist of ~8 separate Excel workbooks from ~5 difference sources. Some of the extracts are shared by multiple Tableau workbooks.


      Currently I save each of the updated Excel source workbooks on a monthly basis to my local computer to perform the refresh. Going forward we will have multiple users running the refreshes so I'm considering moving the files to a shared network drive. We also have a SharePoint site I could use, but in the past I had trouble with refreshing via Excel files residing in SharePoint (it seemed like the connection path to the Excel file would become invalid now and then).


      In preparation to move files to a new location I'm interested in learning what the best practices are for structures similar to ours. I've also noticed there's a temporary folder with extracts (.tde) created on my machine and I'm wondering if these could cause an issue when moving the source files to a shared location. Any thoughts would be much appreciated! Thanks!

        • 1. Re: Source File Structure for Dashboard
          Aakash Jain

          Hi Jamie,

          Have you considered publishing tableau data extract of your excel file to tableau server. You can then add files to the published extract using the command line utility provided by tableau server. Developing the reports on that published data and then publishing that report to server might save you from re-publishing your report each time and also updating the extract. You'll just have to publish your report one time to the server (given that the report is developed on data from tableau server) and then each time you have files to add to your data source you can add it to the published data extract using the command:

          tableau addfiletoextract --file "<filepath> --server "<serverpath>"  --datasource <sourcename>" --username "<uname>" --password "<pass>"

          also to refresh the extract you can use the command:

          tabcmd login -s <server url> -u <uname> -p <password> refreshextracts --datasource <sourcename>


          Also you can build your report directly using the data connection from SharePoint in tableau desktop, create its incremental data extract and then publish it to server. Then you can schedule the data extract to refresh automatically on a monthly basis from the tableau server. Then it will add all the data added to the SharePoint site in that month.



          Aakash Jain

          • 2. Re: Source File Structure for Dashboard

            Thanks for your suggestions, Akash. I attempted to publish my extracts but encountered issues related to calculated fields:  'The data source you are publishing contains x calculations that reference a different data source in this workbook....'. I have many calculated fields across the multiple data sources, and different calculations for each workbook. I didn't figure out a way to resolve this, so I've gone with the following which is pretty clean so far:

            -Save copies of each Excel workbook in our SharePoint library

            -Map SharePoint library as a drive and edit data connections to use this path (mapping to the drive is key, as we previously attempted mapping to the SharePoint file paths directly which doesn't work)

            -To refresh, edit charts and republish: Save latest copies of Excel workbooks to SharePoint library (Excel workbooks from ~5 difference sources); Select 'Refresh all extracts...'; Publish workbooks