What's Tableau Online?
Tableau Online is a powerful way for your organisation to build, share and collaborate around data analysis. Members of your Tableau Online site will be able to ask and answer everything from the simplest to the most complex questions of their data more intuitively than ever before.
As an administrator of your Tableau Online site, you’ll be able to add users, create an organisational structure and establish permissions across the site, as well as many other important duties. Let’s begin!See Tableau Online in action
Step 1: Plan your site
Data is the lifeblood of your business and your Tableau Online site. Before you start adding data to Tableau, it’s useful to understand what kinds of data you’d like to connect and where it lives.
Talk data to me
When starting this analysis, it’s best to think about where your data lives (in the cloud, on-premises, etc.) and who will use it (sales, finance, HR) and why.
When you or other Tableau creators want to share data connections they’ve defined, they can publish data sources directly to Tableau Online. When you publish a data source to your site, other users can connect to it and build new workbooks to answer their own questions. When the data in the Tableau data source updates, all workbooks that connect to it pick up the changes.
Share that data: Published data sources are particularly important to explorers who will rely on published data sources to build new workbooks in Tableau Online. Make sure they have lots of data to explore!
To extract or not to extract
Extract is a word you’re going to see a lot in Tableau. Extracts are one of the most powerful tools in Tableau’s arsenal. Extracts are snapshots of your data optimised for aggregation and loaded into system memory to quickly recall for visualisation. Extracts tend to be faster than live connections, especially in more complex visualisations with large data sets, filters, calculations, etc. Our Hyper data engine powers your Tableau extracts, making them extra fast.
However, because an extract is a snapshot of the data, you will need to refresh the extract in order to receive updates from the original data source.
Live connections, on the other hand, offer the convenience of rapid updates, with any changes in the data source reflected in your Tableau Online views. But live connections also rely on the database for all queries. And unlike extracts, databases aren’t always optimised for fast performance. With live connections, your data queries are only as fast as the database itself.
Your Tableau Online site can use both live and extracted data. Both have their place in most sites. Learn more about supported live data connections, data extracts and how to keep your data fresh.
Create projectsProjects help you hold and organise related resources. They can make it easier for people to find and use the information they need. Often, site admins create high-level projects tied to your company’s organisational structure (i.e. projects for each department). Teams in each department can then create sub-projects with designated project leaders. These leaders can take charge of further organising their areas.
User rolesAsk yourself, what capabilities do your people need to be successful? Tailor each user’s role based on how they will interact with your site.
Group users togetherOften, similarly situated people in your organisation will need access to the same kinds of content. For example, the Finance team usually need to access the same data sources and workbooks. Arrange users into groups according to what they’ll need to do.
This method is the default authentication type, available on all sites, requiring no additional configuration steps before you add users. Tableau credentials are made up of a username and password. Users enter their credentials directly on the Tableau Online sign-in page.
If your organisation uses Google applications, you can allow Tableau Online to use Google accounts for single sign-on (SSO) via OpenID Connect. When you enable Google authentication, it directs users to the Google sign-in page to enter their Google credentials.
Another way to use SSO is through SAML. To do this, you use a third-party identity provider (IdP) and configure the site to establish a trust relationship with the IdP. When you enable SAML, it directs users to the IdP’s sign-in page to enter their SSO credentials, which are already stored with the IdP.
Choose your authentication
To choose your method of authentication, select Settings in the top navigation and then Authentication from the sub-menu. Enable the authentication method that best fits your organisation.
Permissions are rules assigned to projects, groups, workbooks and data sources. Use them to specify who can work with what content.
To modify the permission levels for an entire group, navigate to the Group page and create a new set of permissions for a specific group. Click Add a user or group rule, select Group, then find and select the group.
At this point, you can select a permission role template to apply an initial set of capabilities for the group. Click a capability to set it to Allowed or Denied, or leave it Unspecified. Click Save.
On the Content page for your site, select Projects, workbooks, views or Data sources to display all items of that content type. Select the tick box for the item you’re modifying, select Actions and choose Permissions.
Publishing data sources
You can publish data sources and workbooks to widen the audience for your data analysis within your organisation. By publishing, you can begin to do the following:
Allow people in your organisation to view, interact with, download, subscribe to, share, edit, and save published views, even if they do not use Tableau Desktop. Incorporate views into blog posts or websites.
Keeping your data fresh
You’ve published your data connection to Tableau Online, but it’s important to keep that data fresh and up-to-date. If you've established a live connection to a cloud-based data source, this data will be updated automatically. But for other scenarios, however, you'll need to define a refresh schedule.
It’s easy to set refresh schedules, manage refresh tasks and ensure that your team is always seeing the most up-to-date data in Tableau Online.
Sometimes you don’t want to have a live connection to your data. You might choose to take an extract of your database, rather than connect live, for performance reasons. Or you might be using data from a web application like Google Analytics or Salesforce that does not allow for live connections. In these cases, you can set full or incremental extracts to refresh on a regular, predictable schedule. You can define how often these occur: daily, weekly or monthly.
See what your team’s up to
Dig deeper into individual actions
Content: hot or not?
Check the pulse of your data
Tableau Trust site
What to expect from upgrades
Tableau Online upgrade page
Tableau Online community page
Tableau Online help guide
Know your audience
When you’re building a visualisation, it’s important to understand what questions your audience already has. What answers do you find for them? What other questions does it inspire? What conversations will result? Your viewers should take something away from the time they spend with your visualisation.
Choose the right chart for your data
Understanding what you’re trying to convey in your visualisation is a critical first step. Knowing which visualisation can best convey that purpose is equally important. Whether you’re trying to see trends over time, or comparing and ranking a group of items by a set of criteria, the chart type you choose will help your audience better comprehend the information in your visualisation.
Emphasise the most important data
Many chart types let you put multiple measurements and dimensions in one view. In scatter plots, for example, you can put measurements on the X or Y axis, as well as on the marks for colour, size or shape. A rule of thumb is to put the most important data on the X or Y axis and less important data on colour, size or shape.
Orient your views for legibility
Sometimes a simple change in how your labels are oriented can greatly increase how quickly viewers understand what’s being conveyed. If you find yourself with a view that has long labels that only fit vertically, try rotating the view. You can quickly swap the fields on the Rows and Columns shelves to achieve this change.
Step 9: Join the community
The Tableau community is like no other in the industry. Thousands upon thousands of passionate data people are already passionate members. Encourage your team to learn, share and explore all it has to offer.
Find support for your Tableau journey, in person or online. Quick tips, in-depth expertise and everything in between: The Tableau community has it all.
Shape the future
We can’t think of anyone better to help us build great products. Create and vote on product ideas to tell the Tableau development team what matters to you.
The Tableau community will unlock your curiosity and unleash your creativity. From amazing dashboard designs to Tableau Server tips and tricks, there are lots of ways to take your skills to the next level.