You may want to look into using "empty extracts" if you can refresh the data on the server.
That is actually pretty cool and I can think of where it will be useful, but it's not quite what I'm trying to do. My extract in particular doesn't take long to create on my desktop. It takes a while to upload to the server. What I'm trying to do is make changes to the dashboard on the server without re-uploading the extract. In theory, the extract has already been uploaded to the server. I just want to make layout changes, but can't figure out how to stop Tableau from re-uploading the extract every time.
If that's the case, then you may want to look into separating the extract from the workbook.
There are a couple of approaches that you could use
1. Publish the extract as a server data source, then use that server data source
2. Place the extract file on a network share that is accessible from desktop and server. Use the extract file as the data source. Make sure not to include external files if you choose this method.
Network share may be a bit simpler is some cases, but can be a performance bottleneck.
Thanks Jeff. That will do what I'm looking for. It has the added restriction that I have to be signed into the server while editing my dashboard, but it uploaded changes I made in about 30 seconds compared to the 20 minutes it was taking previously.