I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with the support team. Let's see if we can try and clear this up (but do continue to respond to the support ticket).
When you look at the data source properties, does it look something like this:
Here's my scenario, and let me know if it matches yours:
1. Create a workbook that connects to an Excel file living on a network drive.
2. Extract the data.
3. Publish the workbook to Tableau Server.
4. When it comes time to refresh, open the workbook in Tableau Desktop by going to Server > Open Workbook.
5. Then attempt to refresh the extract in Tableau Desktop but fail.
If this is similar to yours, then there are two potential next steps here:
1. Reconnect the data source to the original Excel file. To do this right-click on the data source and click Edit Data Source. Then click on the data source name which opens the file browser. Even though it may be pointing to an Excel file right now, it might be in the Tableau temp directory. Go ahead and navigate to the actual original Excel file and click Open. Then go to your worksheet again and click Refresh on the data source. Does this work?
2. If you are using Tableau Server, why not have Tableau Server automatically refresh the extract for you? This can be accomplished by creating an extract refresh schedule and then assigning the schedule to the workbook or data source.
Let me know if the above helps!
Thank you for those who responded. Tableau support was very good today in getting on Webex and handling this issue.
In case someone else faces the same issue, I wanted to close the loop.
My steps were; (8.3)
Original data in Excel - My local desktop, working remotely
Create Tableau extract - local
Publish extract to Server
I had done all my calcs etc on this server version
Then when I had to update data,
I would update my Excel sheet (Old data gets changed every month - like status of a project)
Then I would righclick on Tableau server extract and Refresh from Source. It worked great. At least that is what I thought.
HOWEVER, today while troubleshooting, Tableau Tech support noticed that while I was doing the refresh, Tableau was actually creating an extract (Which was unexpected behavior). This extract started replacing my original Excel connection. That is why I simply could not refresh from source the second time onward.
So, this appears to be a Tableau unexpected behavior.
The alternative is this.
We kind of went back to my original Excel sheet, did the extract again, copied all my calculations into this one.
And this datasource was saved on my desktop by saying "Add to my datasources', and was saved as Tableau packaged datasource.
Then I replaced the server one with this.
Next time I want to update the data, I should just update my local Packaged datasource (which is connected to local excel) and then replace the server version.
And everytime I want to save the local packaged datasource, I should just 'Add to my datasources'. Else it will save workbook.
Finally, if I want calculations/sets that should be linked to the datasource, I must always do this on my local datasource and then replace server.
It was great working with you yesterday -- I am glad we were able to find the root cause. I did some research and testing and it appears this unexpected behavior only occurs when Tableau Server is using a license key that only allows certain data sources it can connect to (i.e. only MySQL, MSSQL, TDEs and not Excel).
The expected behavior when choosing Refresh from Data source for an extract of a published Excel file is an error as shown below (assuming Tableau Server does not have access to the file):
I have filed an official report with our development team to prevent this behavior from occurring in the future. Let me know if you have any additional questions.