10 Replies Latest reply on Aug 24, 2017 12:24 AM by Loretta Xia

    Linking PowerPoint to a local Tableau workbook live

    Navyashree Venkatesh

      Hi All,

       

      How can I link PowerPoint to a Tableau workbook located locally(on my desktop)? I would like this to be a live connection, so that as soon as the user opens up the PowerPoint file, he will see the latest views that I have in my Tableau workbook. The only way I know to do this is to save the visualizations from my Tableau workbook as an image and then import them into PowerPoint. But this is a static way to do it, whereas I'm looking at a live connection. Is there a way I can achieve this?

       

      Another question on similar lines - I have a PowerPoint in which I have created a LiveWeb connection to a dashboard on Tableau server. When I view the PowerPoint in presentation mode, I am able to see my dashboard, all right. But, I'm unable to see the dashboard as a thumbnail in my PowerPoint. It just shows up as a blank slide. I would like users to see the dashboard as a thumbnail for a quick summary of the metrics and then interact with the full dashboard if they would like to see a detailed view. How can I achieve this in Tableau?

       

      I am using Tableau Version 10.1.

       

       

      Many thanks!

      Navya

        • 1. Re: Linking PowerPoint to a local Tableau workbook live
          Amanda Luthy

          Hi Navya,

          While I don't know all in intricacies of PowerPoint, would it be possible to embed a screenshot of the dashboard as a background image and when the user click in they see the live version via liveweb?  While this could be a little misleading as the user usually expects the thumbnail to perfectly match the slide, maybe you could put a header in your thumbnail that indicates it's a snapshot in time.

           

          I suspect that PowerPoint simply doesn't support dynamic thumbnails and that's why liveweb chooses to render a blank image rather than a misleading screenshot.

          • 2. Re: Linking PowerPoint to a local Tableau workbook live
            Navyashree Venkatesh

            Thanks Amanda!

             

            Embedding screenshots is definitely a way to go about the live thumbnail problem. But my PowerPoint has 100 odd charts, and it's quite a task for me to go the screenshot way, as creating the PowerPoint is a weekly activity. That's why I am exploring options to do this in a more automated manner.

             

            LiveWeb is a great solution, only if I could get the thumbnails would work. It would really save me a lot of time and effort.

            • 3. Re: Linking PowerPoint to a local Tableau workbook live
              Amanda Luthy

              Yikes! Nobody has time for that! However... I *think* I may have a solution that will get you closer to a workable solution

               

              You will need 4 things:

              1. A version of PPT newer than 2007
              2. Your powerpoint deck
              3. Your Tableau Server
              4. A file share that you can access from wherever you're accessing your ppt deck

               

              Here's what you do as you create your deck:

              1. Embed the live viz via LiveWeb
              2. Generate a screenshot for the viz you're embedding from either the web or a script you can write (there are APIs for this which would let you do these all at once, and with a 100+ vizes, I recommend this option once you prove to yourself that my method works).
                1. To use the web, you'll format your url like this: http[s]://<yourserver>/views/<yourworkbook>/<sheetname>.png
                2. Save this thumbnail under a static name per image (e.g. salesReportCurrentQuarter.png )
              3. In PowerPoint go to Insert -> Picture and navigate to your image. Single click on the image name (you don't want to dismiss this dialog just yet), you'll see a drop down menu that says Insert. Open that drop down menu. Depending on your version, you might see different menu items. In my version, I'm seeing an option to "Insert and Link". You'll want the one similar to that.
              4. Repeat for every image.

               

              Caveats:

              1. Microsoft could change this at anytime
              2. The image is checked and thumbnail updated on workbook open. So, if the workbook is opened and then the image is changed, the thumbnail remains static for that session.
              3. Because you're taking a screenshot and showing a live connection to the viz, it's possible that the viz and thumbnail are not similar if the workbook has been edited after the screenshot was taken.
              4. If the image is deleted PowerPoint will replace the thumbnail by a lovely broken image icon.

               

              I'm super curious if this solves your problem, so please keep me updated!

               

              Amanda

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Linking PowerPoint to a local Tableau workbook live
                Lance Martens

                Hi Amanda,

                 

                I just happened across your discussion, it provides a possible solution to a challenge I have been facing for some time now.

                 

                I would really appreciate a moment of your time, I have also selected to follow you on the forum to enable a more direct path of communication.

                 

                My configuration:

                • I have Tableau desktop
                • We also have a Tableau server
                • My most prominent workbook has four dashboards and I have uploaded it to our server

                 

                My requirement:

                • As you know many people are still adamant to hold a “hard copy” power point slide pack in their hands, even if Tableau Reader is free and available “everywhere”
                • This means that I have to export my four dashboards, I do it from my desktop, not the server, as images and import them into a power point slide pack once a week (super inconvenient and unsustainable if I’m not around)

                 

                • All I require is a way to import a static image, no live interaction is required, of each of my dashboards, once a week into a power point slide pack, that can be saved and printed for distribution
                • I’m unsure how to implement the url process you outline, and would appreciate a discussion to clarify?

                 

                Cheers,

                Lance

                • 5. Re: Linking PowerPoint to a local Tableau workbook live
                  Amanda Luthy

                  Hey Lance,

                  It seems like the part you're most interested in is just grabbing an image via a URL. To do this you need your workbook published to Tableau Server (which you already have). To figure out the URL you need, simply navigate to the worksheet on server for which you need an image, delete the ? and everything that follows, and replace it with .png . For example, let's say your tableau server can be accessed via the URL http://lance/ , and let's assume you have the Tableau Sample workbooks published there. Navigate to the Superstore workbook and select the Overview sheet. Your URL should look similar to this: http://lance/#/views/Superstore/Overview?:iid=5 . To get the image from that, delete ?:iid=5 and replace with .png , and press enter. You'll have to wait a few seconds for the image to render, but when it does you'll have a png open in a browser window. You can then right click on this image and save it.

                   

                  The above are the manual steps. It is possible to script the image generation using APIs, which you can read more about here: REST API calls to retrieve hi-res images/PDF from Tableau Server

                   

                  Hope that helps! Feel free to ask more questions,

                  Amanda

                  • 6. Re: Linking PowerPoint to a local Tableau workbook live
                    Lance Martens

                    Hi Amanda,

                     

                    Appreciate the follow up, I was able to generate the image no problem, cool

                    function, almost made me feel like I knew what I was doing!

                     

                    Would I be correct to assume the following?

                     

                       - To enable me to import the image into powerpoint (PP), as that is the

                       primary motivation for this activity, I would have to first save the image

                       to a folder on our network or my PC, then manually import it into my PP

                       slide pack?

                       - I would also have to repeat this activity for all four my dashboards?

                     

                    Question:

                     

                       - Is there anyway to pull the sever based image directly into a PP slide

                       pack, then save and print the pack for handout?

                     

                    Other options I have pursued:

                     

                       - I have been able to link my server based workbook to my PP slide pack

                       via the PP LiveWeb function, only drawback is that the images are only

                       visible when in "slide show" mode, meaning off line and for printing my

                       four dashboards are rendered "blank"

                       - I have also been able to schedule an email of my dashboards from the

                       server, however the quality of the email images once saved are poor.

                     

                    Talk soon, and Thanx again for the support,

                     

                    Cheers,

                    Lance

                     

                    On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 3:00 AM, Amanda Luthy <tableaucommunity@tableau.com>

                    • 7. Re: Linking PowerPoint to a local Tableau workbook live
                      Amanda Luthy

                      Lance,

                      Hah! You got this.

                       

                      Your assumptions are correct, this is a manual process. But it can be automated using the RESI APIs I mentioned above. ( REST API calls to retrieve hi-res images/PDF from Tableau Server)  Then, it's basically exactly the same solution I recommended to Navyashree.

                       

                      1. Generate a screenshot for the viz you're embedding from either the web or a script you can write
                      2. Save this image as a unique name per image (e.g. salesReportCurrentQuarter.png )
                      3. In PowerPoint go to Insert -> Picture and navigate to your image. Single click on the image name (you don't want to dismiss this dialog just yet), you'll see a drop down menu that says Insert. Open that drop down menu. Depending on your version, you might see different menu items. In my version, I'm seeing an option to "Insert and Link". You'll want the one similar to that.
                      4. Repeat for each image.
                      5. If you use the exact same ppt deck every time you can just name your images the same name each time and then when you open your report the images will automatically be updated with the latest image (e.g. salesReportCurrentQuarter.png ; salesReportTrailingWeek.png ; etc). Otherwise, you'll have to go through this whole process for each report and you'll want to give the image a unique name each time (e.g. salesReport2017Q2.png ; salesReport2017week23.png ; etc) otherwise your old reports will get the new images.

                       

                      But as I'm typing this, I'm wondering: Are you exporting these images, putting them in a ppt that contains nothing else, and then printing them off? If so, why don't you just export them as a pdf and print that? (Same process as the png, except use .pdf ). Anyone with access to your workbook on Tableau Server could do that in your absence. Or, this is also scriptable using the link above. Then your backup can just open up the .pdf and print it off.

                       

                      Amanda

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Linking PowerPoint to a local Tableau workbook live
                        Lance Martens

                        Hi Amanda,

                         

                         

                           - The pdf. export option has been in use for some time for quick print

                           and ad-hoc referencing, no problem there.

                         

                         

                           - However the die-hard PP users want the ability to present the four

                           asset performance dashboards as part of a larger business performance

                           presentation.

                         

                         

                           - Solution now achieved Thanks to you!

                         

                         

                           - Your reference to embedding the image within PP "Link to File" has

                           nailed it,

                           - My Logic now: All four dashboards are saved as images on our network,

                           naming convention remains static as it is a weekly report, I've "Link to

                           File" each image, the user opens the PP workbook, and presto the latest

                           images are refreshed and they distribute / print as required.

                         

                        Maximum effort!

                        You're a legend Amanda! a happy day indeed (been at this for some time now)

                         

                        Cheers,

                        Lance

                         

                         

                        On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 10:13 AM, Amanda Luthy <tableaucommunity@tableau.com

                        • 9. Re: Linking PowerPoint to a local Tableau workbook live
                          Amanda Luthy

                          Awesome! Glad to hear you've got it all sorted.

                           

                          Amanda

                          • 10. Re: Linking PowerPoint to a local Tableau workbook live
                            Loretta Xia

                            Hey Lance,

                             

                            I came into similar issue and here's my current solution. It may help you as well:

                             

                            - Export Tableau workbook into PDF format

                            - Use Adobe Writer (Adobe Acrobat Standard DC: PDF writer) to export PDF to PPT (but you need to pay for this additional software)

                             

                             

                            (Hope Tableau can support exporting to PPT format directly one day )

                             

                            Loretta