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Tableau Help > Tableau Server for Windows Help > 

Tableau Server Data Sources

A Tableau data source consists of metadata that describes the following:

  • The connection information that describes what data you want to bring in to Tableau for analysis.

  • Customization and cleanup that helps you and others use the data source efficiently. For example, calculations, sets, groups, bins, and parameters, custom field formatting, and so on.

  • Information about how to access or refresh the data, such as a path to an Excel file, credentials for accessing data on-premises or in the cloud, and so on.

A data source can be published on its own, after which it can be shared with other users, who can connect to from their own workbooks. A data source can also be published as a part of a workbook (embedded), where it remains available only from within that workbook. To learn more about publishing data sources and the benefits this provides to your data analysts and consumers, see the topics under Publish Data Sources and Workbooks in the Tableau Help.

Using Tableau data sources offers advantages for administrators as well. Because multiple workbooks can connect to one data source, you can minimize data source proliferation and save on storage space and processing time. When someone downloads a workbook that connects to Tableau data source, extracts it connects to stay on the server, resulting in less network traffic. Finally, if a database driver is required for a connection in the data source, you need to install and maintain the driver only on the server if you use Tableau Server on-premises, instead of on each user’s computer. All supported drivers are installed on Tableau Online.

Managing data sources

Administrators and data source owners can perform management tasks on published data sources. A best practice is to designate a person with administrator-level access to manage all data sources published to a project or to the whole site, so that all data sources can be maintained under the same set of guidelines.

To perform these tasks, do the following:

  1. Sign in to the site as an administrator or owner of the data source you want to work with.

    Note: Some tasks are available only to administrators, as described below.

  2. Go to the Data Sources page, select the check box next to the data source, and in the upper-left of the Data Sources page, select Actions.

  • Edit and view permissions: Permissions can specify which users or groups can connect to, modify, or download data sources. For information, see Set Permissions on Individual Content Resources.

  • Edit connection information: Update embedded credentials or other metadata that describes the connections to the original data.

  • Create a new workbook or download: You can start a new workbook in the browser environment by connecting to a Tableau data source. Or download the data source to use locally.

  • Change the data source owner

  • View the data source’s revision history

  • Refresh extracts:If a data source includes an extract, you can assign the extract to a refresh schedule.

    For information, see Refresh Data on a Schedule.

  • Add or remove keyword tags: Tags can contain a single word or multiple words, delimited by a comma.

  • Delete: Deleting a data source affects workbooks that connect to the data source. Before you delete a data source, ensure that there are no workbooks that connect to the data source or edit the workbooks to use another data source.

  • Move: Administrators can move a data source from one project to another. In addition, the owner of the data source can move the data source if they also own the source project (the current project) and have write permissions to the destination project.

In addition, for data sources that are proxy connections, administrators can stay aware of how users authenticate to the database, and whether the appropriate drivers are installed. For information, see Database Drivers and Data Security.