Refresh Data Using the Tableau Online Sync Client
For data sources that Tableau Online cannot reach directly, you can publish data extracts and use the Tableau Online sync client to schedule automatic refreshes.
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Data sources that you can refresh using the sync client include:
On-premises data—data sources you maintain on your local network, behind your organization's firewall.
Examples include a CSV or plain-text file; an Excel spreadsheet; or a relational database such as SQL Server, Oracle.
Oracle, OData, and some ODBC data, even when it’s hosted on a cloud platform.
Some web data connector (WDC) data, if you access it by entering a standard user name and password.
For WDC connections that you access through the data provider’s website (using OAuth), see the next section.
For cloud data, setting up schedules on Tableau Online might be a better (or the only) choice. For some web data connector data sources, scheduling refreshes is not an option.
Data you access through the provider’s web authorization page
The sync client does not refresh extracts that connect to data through the OAuth or similar authorization standard. When you sign in to your cloud data through Tableau (such as when you connect to it from Tableau Desktop), if the provider uses OAuth, you are redirected to the data provider’s sign-in page.
Popular providers that use OAuth include Salesforce.com, Google, and WDC data sources created from QuickBooks Online, Facebook, Twitter, and other websites.
To refresh data that you connect to through OAuth:
For extracts of Salesforce and Google data, you can set up a schedule directly on Tableau Online.
For extracts of WDC data sources you created from Facebook, Twitter, or other website, you can refresh the extracts from Tableau Desktop, either using the Refresh From Source command, or by republishing the data source.
Extracts of other cloud-hosted data
You can sign in to some cloud data by providing a standard user name and password. An example of this is an extract that connects to a MySQL database hosted on a cloud platform.
For extracts of these cloud data sources, setting up a schedule on Tableau Online is usually more convenient, because refreshes do not require one of your computers to be powered on at all times to send the updates. Maintaining schedules on Tableau Online also facilitates centralized data management.
For more information, see Schedule Refreshes on Tableau Online.
The Tableau Online sync client is a Windows program that runs on your computer. When you run the sync client, you sign in to it using the same credentials you use to sign in to Tableau Online. You can run the sync client in one of these ways:
As a Windows system tray application, in which it can refresh on a schedule while you are logged in to Windows. This is how it runs by default.
As a Windows service. In the sync client this is referred to as running continuously, even if you log out of Windows.
You can run the sync client continuously on a dedicated VM or other computer you might already have that is always on. You might want to do this if you use Tableau Desktop on a Mac, or if you want to be able to turn your own computer off.
The sync client uses a secure connection between the computer it runs on and Tableau Online, allowing the sync client to check for and run scheduled refresh tasks that you have assigned to it on the server. When the sync client runs the refresh task, it sends the data from the computer it runs on to the extract on Tableau Online.
When you are deciding which computer you will use to run the sync client, consider these requirements:
The sync client is available only with the 64-bit version of Tableau Desktop on Windows, starting with version 9.0.1.
The computer on which you run the sync client must be on the same Windows domain and have access to the source data that will be used to refresh the published extract
The user signed in to Tableau Online through the sync client must have a Publisher or Site Administrator site role on Tableau Online, and the user must be the owner of the published data extracts or a site administrator.
To run the sync client continuously (as a Windows service), the user account running the sync client must be a local administrator on the computer.
If the sync client is running continuously, the user does not need to be logged in to Windows, but the computer must be powered on with Windows running.
If the sync client is not set to run continuously, it sends updates to Tableau Online only when the computer is powered on and running the sync client. It can do this only when the current Windows user remains logged in.
If the computer is turned off, if you log off of Windows, or if you sign out of the sync client, scheduled refresh tasks still run on Tableau Online (that is, on the server). However, updates for the data sources you set up in the sync client will not be able to reach the server until you sign in again. Therefore, during the time that the sync client is not running, the published data sources on Tableau Online do not get refreshed. For more information, see Stop Sync Client Refreshes.
To learn how to enable the sync client and schedule a refresh task, see Schedule Extract Refreshes in the Sync Client.