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Tableau Help > Tableau Online Help > 

Get Your Data to Tableau Online

After you configure your Tableau Online site with your logo and authentication options, you can start organizing the content framework for the way you and your users want to share Tableau data. To populate your Tableau Online site with content (data, reports, and so on), you or the data professionals in your organization publish that content. Depending on the type of license, users can connect to and publish content from Tableau Desktop, or from the Tableau Online web editing environment.

Types of content you can publish include standalone data sources that users can share among multiple workbooks, and workbooks that contain embedded data connections with visualizations based on that data. Each of these types has pros and cons, which are explained in the Publishing resources below.

Determine your organization’s publishing needs

As the administrator, before you open the site for publishing, evaluate how much preparation you think is appropriate for your level of Tableau Online use:

  • If you don’t have strict requirements around data access—for example, you have just a few users who all share the same data—you might dive in to the Publishing resources, starting with publishing steps, and adjust your publishing and content management practices as you go.

  • If people use Tableau across distinct areas of your organization, or if you have a large Tableau user population, we recommend using the Publishing resources to create a test environment, and working out access and discoverability wrinkles. You can still adjust practices as you go, but it’s not as easy to do this after you open up the site to a large group of active users.

    Examples of additional factors you might need to consider are authorization (permissions for who gets access to what), data security and compliance requirements, minimizing users’ need to contact you for help if they can’t figure out where to publish or find their data, and so on. For more information, see Configure Projects, Groups, and Permissions for Managed Self-Service.

Summary of the publishing process

In Tableau Desktop, you open the workbook or data connection you want to upload to Tableau Online, and go to the Server menu to publish it.

During the publishing steps, you sign in to Tableau Online, entering the Tableau Online address (https://online.tableau.com) and your credentials.

The publishing steps require you to make decisions related to how you and others in your organization will access your data source or workbook. In some cases, this can involve a few layers of complexity, and it helps for you to understand how these layers fit together. Use the topics in the following lists to determine the level of complexity you need and to help establish appropriate publishing guidelines.

Publishing resources

These resources are part of the Tableau User Help and open in a new browser window.

Tableau Online data connection support

You can publish data sources and workbooks using direct (live) or extract connections to your underlying database. You can also publish multi-connection data sources that use either or both types of connection. The database connections defined in the workbook or data source determines how you can publish and keep the data fresh on Tableau Online.

If you’re familiar with connection types and want a more specific list of data types and their supported connections, see Keep Data Fresh. Otherwise, read on.

Connector types that support direct (live) connections to Tableau Online

When you use live connections, published workbooks and data sources always reflect what is current in the underlying database.

Tableau Online supports live connections to:

  • Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift data, or SQL-based data hosted on a cloud platform; for example, Amazon RDS, Microsoft SQL Azure, or similar service.

    For direct connections to cloud data, you usually need to add Tableau Online to your data provider’s authorized list.

  • On-premises relational data, such as SQL Server or Oracle, when you use Tableau Bridge to maintain the connection.

    To learn more about Tableau Bridge, see Expand Data Freshness Options by Using Tableau Bridge.

You can embed database credentials in live connections so all users who have access to the published content can see the underlying data. Or you can require users to provide their own database credentials. In that case, even if they can open the published content on the server, they need to sign in to the underlying database to see it.

Extract connections

For any type of data that Tableau can connect to, users can publish extracts with embedded database credentials, and set up recurring refresh schedules.

You can create an extract in Tableau Desktop, before you initiate the publishing process, to have finer control over the connection definition. You might do this if you want to publish a sampling of the data, or to set up the ability to refresh incrementally. Otherwise, Tableau creates the extract during publishing, and you can do full refreshes only.

After Tableau completes the publishing step, it guides you through the steps for setting up a schedule for refreshing your data. If your Tableau data source or workbook connects to underlying data in the cloud, refreshes are run from Tableau Online directly. If the underlying data is on your local network, you use Tableau Bridge, which is installed with Tableau Desktop.

To learn more about Tableau Bridge, see Expand Data Freshness Options by Using Tableau Bridge.