4 Replies Latest reply on Sep 11, 2018 4:11 AM by Andrei Budaes - Tanaru

    Excel source by URL?

    Chauskin Rodion

      Hey guys.

      Can someone explain me a steps i can upload frequently updatable excel to Tableau Desktop system ?


      Access to EXCEL dev team setup me by URL, so i inserting url to browser it automatically download spreadsheet.


      I would like to build simple dashboard and setup schedule update for that.


      Is any simple tutorials for that?


      Thanks for reading & reply!

        • 1. Re: Excel source by URL?
          Tyler Garrett

          Video: Connecting to Excel, CSV and Text Files | Tableau Software

          Online help: Connect to Data


          Regrettably - If the dev team is giving you a URL to "download" a spreadsheet, Tableau doesn't currently have a capability to accept URL downloads as a source. Nor is there an option to schedule this "pull" using this 'url download'.


          Luckily you have lots of options!


          1. You download your data, append the data to a master spreadsheet, and use that master spreadsheet as a datasource. Wow that sounds like a lot of work though.

          2. Another option is using tableaus Add Data to Extracts

          3. If your dev team is building an elaborate system to give you a "spreadsheet", this tells me they probably have a database on the back end. They can give you "view level access" to this DATA, just that TABLE, or VIEW, it doesn't have to be everything.., and then you can avoid the manual process of downloading the spreadsheet every "week/month/etc"...


          More often than not the team isn't "updating" any data, they instead are sending it to you as "this is the most recent view", so to see any archive data - you need to request it, or keep up with it yourself.


          This is a usual use case, hopefully you're able to navigate the business to IT conversation in a way that lets Tableau become the easy solution, that it was developed to be, and not the complicated one being generated unnecessarily. They can simply give you access to the "live, updated, data" - adhoc reporting, time save, etc.. big wins with Tableau if you're able to access the DATA without a ton of steps.

          Good luck!


          • 2. Re: Excel source by URL?
            Chauskin Rodion

            Hello tyler garrett!

            Thank you for your reply! Appreciate it.


            I still haven't clear view, can you assist me a little bit more, please?


            So, dev team & program prepares most-recent report for me each day,(accessible by link)
            This report includes prepared data(not raw data) - that's why i can't use direct View/Tables from database - program needs to accumulate\recalculate\prepare data before.


            We trying to build "Set it and forget it' way to get most recent data to Tableau" each time user opens it.


            Dev team is ready to build the best option to connect it. Does system support extraction from Api? like JSON Api, SOAP, etc ?

            We also trying to use Web connector to reach our goal - will it work for us?




            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Excel source by URL?
              Tyler Garrett



              Because I'm not able to talk to your dev team, I have no way of knowing what you they mean by:: " that's why i can't use direct View/Tables from database - program needs to accumulate\recalculate\prepare data before."

              -- Is this an external team?

              -- It doesn't sound like you're talking to someone who knows much about databases, sorry.

              Tableau is a "set it and leave it" tool, data can be pulled automagically using Tableau Server schedules, which pull from the database, using database Credentials... Your quote above is nearly explaining exactly what a database is used to do. Accumulate\recalculate and preparing data BEFORE the business touches it.

              Like my current engagement has 10 tables and they are all nearly 1 billion records each, I use stored procedures to "lower the record count" by 98 to 99%, "aggregate/roll up data", "pushed calculation logic to query to further lower record count", "join to multiple tables", and simply LOWERing the DATA I don't need.....


              And I have MULTIPLE TABLES for LOTS and LOTS of different dashboards, zero % live outside of the database because it would be entirely too challenging to accomplish tasks quickly, and considering they pay hourly -- I always go with the path of least resistance & with an understanding that the TEAM supporting the solution requires training to support it, and suggesting things they "don't readily know" can become hard to manage from a project perspective.


              SO, when I give SQL solutions to Tableau problems, I always build out powerpoint explanations, I will write the query with the business user, and then hand it off to the DBA for materialization.


              I've re-written data strategy at a lot of enterprise companies, worked 80+ unique Tableau Engagements over the past 2 years. During this time, I've never suggested them build beyond their database for data consumption, UNLESS::: There are many databases and this is a means of CONSOLIDATING databases from multiple "database softwares", like oracle, MYSQL, SQL Server, etc...

              But even when doing this type of ETL work, you always HOUSE the data in a database. Rarely would it be hosted else where.

              There are lots of means of consuming data quicker that databases, maybe this is in practice for your use case... If I was your data team, I would just give you view level access to the data on a database, it updates there, and I would make sure to understand the exact date filtering you'd expect on your dashboard, and then provide you a data set that has exactly the story you're trying to tell... might as well keep you in a place Tableau generally always 'natively connects' (aka the database) VS pushing you into another word of third party solutions.


              I'm maybe overstepping here, but I want to be honest with you:::

              Unless it's extremely crystal clear why you're having to do MORE WORK, when you absolutely don't have to,... It could be one of those solutions in place that hasn't been optimized, MAYBE IT's the best way? Or maybe it has never been fixed because no one else has had an opportunity to study it and determine if it's viable.


              Sounds like it needs to be revisited if that's the only way they can offer the business data. Sounds like a legacy workflow that needs to come into the new year of 2016. But again it could be necessary, I just don't know what type of IT/IS spider webs are behind this convo.


              Good luck to you!

              Tyler G.

              VP @ tableahelp

              • 4. Re: Excel source by URL?
                Andrei Budaes - Tanaru

                Hi. Sorry I didn't start another post, I didn't want to create a duplicate post for the same question.

                Does anyone know if this feature has been developed? I need a simple way to connect to Excel files via URL. I looked a bit at Web Data Connectors but with the API we are using in our company, you can only get access to the files I need via URL. I tried to use Postman to get the contents as a JSON but had no luck so far. I found ways to import CSV's from URL's but I need a way to import excel files. At the moment I am using a Master Excel file stored on a shared drive Tableau has access to and with Power Query's "From Web" option I gather the data from 4 excel files via URL, clean them, then with a VBS and windows task scheduler I am calling "Refresh All" in excel every hour and use that excel file in tableau server. It's not the cleanest method but until Tableau has a similar function as Power Query to import files via URL (or I am able to find a WDC for excel files not only CSV's) I am stuck with this method.


                Did anyone came across a WDC specific for excel files?