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Comprehensive Steps for Publishing a Workbook

The steps below describe the general publishing process. Use the information you gathered while reviewing Prepare for Publishing a Workbook to adapt these steps for your workbook and data.

If this is your first time publishing, you might publish as a test first, and work out any glitches before you let other users know the workbook is ready for them.

  1. In Tableau Desktop, open the workbook you want to publish, or create a new one and add some data to the view.

  2. Select Server > Publish Workbook.

    If the Publish Workbook option does not appear on the Server menu, make sure a worksheet or dashboard tab is active (not the Data Source tab).

    If necessary, sign in to a server. For Tableau Online, enter https://online.tableau.com. For more information, see Sign in to Tableau Server or Online.

  3. In the Publish Workbook dialog box, select the project, enter a name for the workbook, and add search tags.

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    Projects are containers for workbooks and data sources. Permissions set on projects determine who can access your workbook, so knowing which project to publish to is important.

    For the workbook name, enter a unique name unless revision history is enabled, and you want to create a new revision of an existing workbook you own.

    A good practice is to create a workbook naming convention that helps others find workbooks easily and know what each contains. You won’t be able to rename the workbook on the server.

    Note: If you’re publishing to Tableau Server, and your administrator has turned off revision history, using an existing name overwrites the workbook. Revision history is enabled for all Tableau Online sites.

    Add metadata keyword tags

    Enter keywords that describe the workbook. Tags help users find related workbooks when they browse the server.

    Separate tags using a comma or space. To add a tag that contains a space, put the tag in quotation marks.

  4. For Permissions, accept the default project settings.

    Generally a site administrator manages permissions on the server. If you think your workbook is an exception, work with your administrator to determine the best course of action, and see Set Permissions as You Publish a Data Source or Workbook.

  5. For Data Sources, select Edit if you want to change the method for how people to access the underlying data your workbook connects to, or to change how the data is published (embedded in the workbook or published separately).

    • If you’re publishing an extract, and you want to set up a refresh schedule, you must select Embed password or Allow refresh access, depending on whether your underlying data is on-premises or in the cloud.

    • If your workbook connects to a Tableau data source, we recommend embedding the password. This is the default option if you are publishing one of the workbook’s connections separately. Selecting Prompt users requires additional permissions on the Tableau data source.

    For more information, see Set Credentials for Accessing Your Published Data.

  6. Configure other settings that are available for this workbook.

    For more information, see Variable publishing options.

  7. Click Publish.

  8. (Optional) Set up a refresh schedule for each extract you published.

    The publishing workflow guides you through these steps. For some data types you publish to Tableau Online, the publishing process starts Tableau Bridge on your computer.

    For more information, see Schedule Extract Refreshes as You Publish a Workbook.

Variable publishing options

The following sections describe publishing options that appear when they’re appropriate for the workbook.

Specify how to generate thumbnails for workbooks with user filters

On the server where you publish, one of the options for browsing content is by thumbnail view. In this view, thumbnails are generated based on the workbook and its sheets. If your workbook contains user filter, you can specify which user’s filter to use for creating the thumbnails.

For example, if you want the thumbnail image to show all regions of a sales forecast, you can generate thumbnails per the user who is allowed to see all regions.

In the following scenarios, a generic image appears in place of the view thumbnail.

  • The user you select does not have permission to see the data.

  • The data is from a Tableau Server data source that utilizes data source filters, user calculations, impersonation, or other user references.

To learn more about user filters, see Restrict Access at the Data Row Level.

Show or hide sheets when you publish

By default, Tableau Desktop publishes all sheets in a multiple-sheet workbook. In the Sheets section of the Publish Workbook dialog box, you can specify which sheets to include. Hiding sheets is useful when you want to publish a dashboard or story without showing the worksheets that were used to create it.

Important: Hiding sheets is not a security measure. Anyone who has the Download/Web Save As capability can access the hidden sheets. Other editing permissions can also allow access to hidden sheets. For more information, see Content Access and Ownership in the Tableau Server Help.

Show sheets as tabs

If you select multiple sheets to show, you can specify how users navigate them.

  • Select the Show Sheets as Tabs check box to provide tab-based navigation.

  • Clear the check box to allow people to open only one view at a time.

Show selections

You can select this if you want a particular portion of the view to be highlighted when others open the workbook. Make your selections in Tableau Desktop before you start the publishing process.

Include external files

If your views contain any information that isn’t available to the server, or to other users who access the workbook on the server, the Publish Workbook dialog box will include a setting you can select to include that information when you publish.

For example, you might use an Excel, CSV, or other data source local to your computer; image files; and so on.

If you are publishing to Tableau Server, and the workbook references data sources or images on a mapped drive, you can include external files when you publish, or you can change the connection information so that the workbook references the UNC path to the data source. For example, you could change D:\datasource.xls to \\filesrv\datasource.xls.

If you are publishing to Tableau Online, and the workbook connects to a data source that Tableau Online cannot connect to directly, such as one that is stored on your local network, select the Include External Files check box.