Version Compatibility Between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server
Ideally, everybody in an organization can run the same version of Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server, but that's not always possible. In a large organization, different individuals or groups might need to use different versions of Tableau products. For example, some Tableau Desktop users might have already upgraded to 10.2 to take advantage of new features, but the IT team is still hosting Tableau Server 10.1 while they review the new features. This article describes which combinations of Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server can work together and in which ways.
Note: This article discusses only Tableau products that are still eligible for technical support. Tableau provides technical support on each version of the product for 30 months after release. For a list of versions and their support schedules, see the Support Services page on the Tableau website.
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Compatibility is only an issue in certain circumstances:
Compatibility issues typically arise only between major versions of Tableau products. For example, if your organization is using version 10.0 of Tableau Desktop and also using version 9.3 of Tableau Server, compatibility can be an issue. However, with maintenance upgrades there are no compatibility issues—for example, between Tableau Desktop version 10.0.1 and Tableau Server version 10.0.2.
For purposes of compatibility, you need to pay attention only to the major version numbers. For example, in terms of compatibility, 9.1.5 is the same as 9.1. For a major upgrade, Tableau offers a range of new features and updates the look and feel of Tableau Desktop, whereas a maintenance release is to ensure that your copy of Tableau Desktop is current with features, security resolutions, and bug fixes.
There is one exception. Tableau sometimes introduces new connector support with a maintenance release. This can introduce compatibility issues between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server if Tableau Desktop has been upgraded but Tableau Server hasn't been.
For example, Tableau Desktop 9.3.1, a maintenance release, introduced connector support for Kognito 8.1 data sources. You can't publish workbooks from Tableau Desktop 9.3.1 to Tableau Server 9.3.0 if the workbooks connect to Kognito. For details about data source support by release, see the Release Notes page.
Whether a Tableau product is 32-bit or 64-bit is not an issue for compatibility. You can use 32-bit Tableau Desktop to connect and publish to 64-bit Tableau Server, and 64-bit Tableau Desktop to connect and publish to 32-bit Tableau Server, as long as the versions are otherwise compatible.
Tableau Desktop users can share workbooks—for example, by emailing them or copying them to a location on the company network. But if two users are using different versions of Tableau Desktop, sharing isn't always possible. The rule is simple: a newer version of Tableau Desktop can open a workbook created with an older version, but an older version of Tableau Desktop can't open a workbook created with a newer version.
For example, suppose Amanda creates a Tableau workbook with version 9.3 of Tableau Desktop and sends it to Zachary, who has version 10.1 of Tableau Desktop. Zachary will be able to open that workbook. He'll see this message:
The workbook will be upgraded when it is saved. The upgraded file can't be read by earlier versions of the application.
Now suppose that Zachary edits the workbook and sends it back to Amanda. When Amanda tries to open it in Tableau Desktop version 9.3, the load will fail, because the workbook is now a 10.1 workbook.
The same logic applies to Tableau extracts: a newer version of Tableau Desktop can open an extract created with an older version. But an older version of Tableau Desktop can't open an extract created with a newer version.
A workbook created with any version of Tableau Desktop can connect to any supported version of Tableau Server. But once you are connected, compatibility can be an issue depending on the action you're performing.
You can publish workbooks and data sources to Tableau Server if the version of Tableau Server is the same or newer than the version of Tableau Desktop. For example, you can publish workbooks and data sources from Tableau Desktop 9.3 to Tableau Server 9.3, to Tableau Server 10.0, or to Tableau Server 10.1. But you can't publish workbooks and data sources from Tableau Desktop 10.1 to Tableau Server 9.3 or to Tableau Server 10.0.
A workbook downloaded from Tableau Server has the same version as the source version of Tableau Desktop from which it was published—if it hasn't been edited on the server. For example, suppose Amanda is running Tableau Desktop 9.2 and publishes a workbook to Tableau Server 10.1. If Zachary is also running Tableau Desktop 9.2, he can connect to Tableau Server, download the workbook, and open it.
However, if someone else edits the workbook on the server, the workbook is updated to that version of Tableau Server. For example, suppose Elizabeth publishes a workbook from Tableau Desktop 9.2 to Tableau Server 10.1. Laura edits the workbook on the server, which converts the workbook to version 10.1 format. Then Zachary, who also has Tableau Desktop 9.2, can download that workbook, but can't open it. Even Elizabeth, the original author of the workbook, can download the workbook from Tableau Server 10.1 but can't open it, because she is using Tableau Desktop 9.2.
Published extracts are not automatically upgraded when you refresh them on Tableau Server. Any published workbook or data source with an extract created in Tableau Desktop retains its original version when it's refreshed or appended to on Tableau Server.
Workbooks in Tableau Desktop can use data sources that have been published to later versions of Tableau Server. However, if you connect to a data source that uses features that aren't in that earlier version of Tableau Desktop, those fields are unavailable. For example, suppose you create a workbook in version 8.2 of Tableau Desktop, and then connect to a data source on Tableau Server version 9.0 that contains fields that include level of detail expressions. In that case, those data fields are unavailable in the Tableau Desktop 8.2 workbook, because level of detail expressions were not available until Tableau 9.0.
Workbooks created in Tableau Desktop can always use data sources from an earlier version of Tableau Server. For example, a Tableau Desktop 10.1 workbook can use data sources from Tableau Server 10.0.