Publish a Flow to Tableau Server

Publish your flows to Tableau Server to automatically run them on a schedule and refresh the flow output using Tableau Prep Conductor.

Who can do this?

Server Administrator, Site Administrator Creator, and Creator allow full connecting and publishing access.

Explorer (can Publish) and Site Administrator Explorer have limited publishing capabilities, as described in the following topics:

Tableau Server:

Before you publish

To make sure that you can run your flow in Tableau Server, check the following:

  1. Verify that there are no errors in the flow.

    Flows that contain errors will fail when you try to run them in Tableau Server. Errors in the flow are identified by a red exclamation mark and a red dot with an Errors indicator in the upper right corner of the canvas.

  2. Verify that your flow doesn't include input connectors or features that aren't compatible with your version of Tableau Server.

    Flows that include connectors or features that aren't yet supported in your version of Tableau Server can be published, but can't be scheduled to run in Tableau Server. To publish and schedule flows to run on Tableau Server, you must be using Tableau Server version 2019.1 or later and Tableau Prep Conductor must be enabled.

    For example, the SAP HANA connector was introduced in Tableau Prep Builder version 2019.1.4 but this connector isn't supported in Tableau Server version 2019.1 for Tableau Prep Conductor. When you publish the flow, you would see a message like the example below.

    To be able to run your flow in Tableau Server, you need to take the appropriate actions to make the flow compatible. For more information about working with incompatible flows, see Version Compatibility with Tableau Prep.

  3. Flows that include input or output steps with connections to a network share require safe listing.

    Flow input and output steps that point to files stored in a network share (UNC path) aren’t permitted unless the file and path is accessible by the server and are included in your organization's safe list. If you publish the flow without adding the file location to your safe list, the flow will publish, but you will get an error when you try and schedule or run the flow in Tableau Server.

    If the files aren't stored in a safe listed location, you will see a warning message when you publish the flow.

    Click the "list" link in the message to see a list of allowed locations. Move your files to one of the locations in the list, and make sure that you flow points to these new locations. Then try publishing the flow again.

    To configure the allowed network paths, use the tsm command options described in Step 4 - Safe list Input and Output locations.

    If you don't want to move your files to a safe listed location, you will need to package the input files with the flow and publish the flow output to Tableau Server as a published data source. For more information about setting these options, see Publish a flow in this topic.

  4. If publishing the flow output to Tableau Server, set each flow output step to publish as a data source. All flow output steps must point to the same server or site where the flow is published. Only one server or site can be selected.

    To set the publishing location for all output steps, do the following:

    1. In the flow pane, select the output step.

    2. In the publishing pane, select Publish as a data source.

    3. Select the server or site and the project where you want to publish the flow. Sign in to the server or site if needed.

    4. Enter a name and description for each output.

      The output file name should be distinctive enough so that the person running the flow can easily identify which output files to refresh The file name shows on the Overview and Connections page for the flow in Tableau Server .

    5. Save your flow.

      For more information about how to configure output steps for publishing, see Create and publish data extracts and data sources.

Publish a flow

  1. Open your flow in Tableau Prep Builder.

  2. From the top menu select Server > Publish Flow.

  3. In the Publish Flow to Tableau Server dialog complete the following fields:

    • Project: Click the drop-down option to select your project from the project hierarchy. This should be the same project that the output files are published to.

    • Name: Enter a name for your flow. This name shows on the server on the Flow pages. If you want to overwrite an existing flow, click the drop-down option to select a name from the list.

    • Description (optional): Enter a description for the flow.

    • Tags (optional): Click Add to type in one or more tags to identify your flow so users can easily find it. Tags can also be added after publishing in the Flow pages in Tableau Server.
    • Authentication: If your flow connects to one or more databases, select the authentication type that you want to use to connect to the flow input data sources. Click Edit to change your authentication type.

      The following authentication types are supported:

      • Prompt User: You must edit the connection and enter the database credentials before running the flow.

      • Embedded Password: The credentials you used to connect to the data will be saved with the connection and used by everyone who accesses the flow you publish.

      • Server Run As Account: The server’s Run As User account will authenticate all users.

    • Files: If your flow connects to local files, click Edit to select whether to upload or connect directly to the input files.

      • Uploaded files are packaged with your flow and aren’t refreshed if the data changes.

      • To retrieve the most current data when refreshing the output files, use Direct Connection if Tableau Server can connect to the file location and the location is included in your organization's safe list.

        If your input or output steps point to files stored in a network share (UNC path) and the location isn't included in your organization's safe list, you will see a warning message. Click the link in the message to see a list of safe listed locations, move your files and point your input and output steps to the new file location. For more information, see Step 3 in Before you publish

        For information about how to add locations to your organization's safe list, see Step 4 - Safe list Input and Output locations.

        Note: All files must have the same setting, either Upload or Direct Connection.


  4. Click Publish. Then click Done to close the publishing status dialog. Tableau Server opens automatically in your default browser on the flow Overview page.

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