Publishing and Sharing Your Data Sources with Tableau - dummies

Publishing and Sharing Your Data Sources with Tableau

By Molly Monsey, Paul Sochan

You can go beyond sharing your visualizations to sharing your data sources via Tableau Server and Tableau Online. This is especially useful for organizations looking to empower a whole group of Tableau users. New users may be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data available. Complex, inaccessible databases can cause users to abandon their question before they ever see their data. Data sources can simplify that complexity and jumpstart analysis.

One power user can take on the initial data discovery and prep work, then share the prepared source with a large group of people. This solution makes data more intuitive and approachable for the business user. It also saves time, since the entire group benefits from one person’s data prep work.

Data sources are only useful if they’re user-friendly. Here are some tips to ensure your data sources serve the end users:

  • Rename fields: Make them intuitive to users. Remove any database-centric naming conventions like underscores.

  • Hide unused fields: A great data source can be ruined by too much noise. It’s better to miss a couple of fields that someone may use at some point than to add 100 superfluous fields just in case they are needed.

  • Add definitions in line: You can use the Default Properties→ Comment command to add a definition to a field. This definition will appear when users hover over the field.

  • Use folders: Use folders to help users quickly find the data they need.

  • Filter out extra data: Use data source filters to filter out data that will never be

  • Add a description: When you publish a version to Tableau Server or Tableau Online, write out a description. Specify the intended audience and the source of the base data. This will allow users to quickly scan through data sources when connecting.

After you’ve refined the data source, share it more widely. Write a note on your shared wiki, and send out an email to anyone who might want to use the data source. It’s better to overshare here. People want this data and will be excited to have a tool that makes their lives easier.