Upgrade to Tableau Prep Builder 2019.2.2

What you need to know when upgrading to Tableau Prep Builder 2019.2.2


Introduction to Tableau Prep Builder

Tableau Prep Builder is a Tableau product designed to help everyone quickly and confidently combine, shape and clean their data for analysis.

How to get Tableau Prep Builder

Tableau Prep Builder is included alongside Tableau Desktop in the Tableau Creator offering. Existing Tableau Desktop customers with maintenance agreements can also get Tableau Prep Builder as part of their maintenance benefits.

Start using Tableau Prep Builder:

What’s new in Tableau Prep Builder 2019.2.2

Start by reading this blog post by Rapinder Jawanda, Senior Product Manager at Tableau

New in Tableau Prep Builder: Expanded connectivity with ODBC and easier flow organisation

Note: Starting from version 2019.1.2, Tableau Prep is now called Tableau Prep Builder. This name change is to distinguish it from the new Tableau Prep Conductor which runs on Tableau Server as an add-on. With the launch of Conductor, the work you do in Prep Builder running on your Tableau Desktop can be saved to run in a centralised, scalable and reliable server environment so that your data is always up to date and easy to share.

2 new languages added to Tableau Prep Builder and Support Knowledge Base!

Traditional Chinese and British English added to supported languages

With the launch of the last version of Tableau Prep Builder (2019.2.1) two new languages, Traditional Chinese (zh-TW) and British English (en-GB), were added to our supported languages. The new language additions reflect the rapidly growing number of Tableau customers from all corners of the world that we want to serve in their native languages.

Explore the support Knowledge Base in all 10 languages.

Connect to data

Connect to more data with the other databases (ODBC) connector 

If you need to connect to a data sources that is not listed in the Connections pane, you can connect to any data source using the other databases (ODBC) connector that supports the SQL standard and implements the ODBC API. Connecting to data using the other databases (ODBC) connector works similarly to how you might use it in Tableau Desktop; however, there are a few differences:
  • You can only connect using the DSN (data source name) option.
  • To publish and run your flow in Tableau Server, the server must be configured using a matching DSN.
  • There is a single connection experience for both Windows and Mac OS. Prompting for connection attributes for ODBC drivers (Windows) is not supported.
  • Only 64-bit drivers are supported by Tableau Prep Builder.

For more information about connecting to data using the other databases (ODBC) connector, see Connect to data

Specify an Initial SQL command when connecting to your data 

You can now specify an initial SQL command, when connecting to databases that support it, that will run when a connection is made to the database. For example, when connecting to Amazon Redshift, you can enter a SQL statement to apply a filter when connecting to the database just like adding filters in the input step. The SQL command will apply before data is sampled and loaded into Tableau Prep Builder.

If you change the initial SQL command and refresh the input step, the initial SQL command will run again and the input step will be updated. When you run the flow, the initial SQL command is run before processing all of the data. If you schedule flows on Tableau Server, the initial SQL is run every time as part of the data-loading experience.

Note: Parameters are not yet supported for initial SQL in Tableau Prep Builder.

For more information, see Connect to data.

Examine and filter your data

Keep only the fields you need while cleaning your data 

In prior releases you could remove unwanted fields in the input step by clearing the check boxes after connecting to your data. In a cleaning or action step, you could select one or more fields and simply right-click to remove them. Now, you can select one or more fields in the profile pane or data grid and right-click to keep only the selected fields. All other fields will be removed.

For more information, see Keep or remove fields.

Clean and shape data

Rearrange steps in your flow 

Have you ever built a large complicated flow, but the default layout that Tableau Prep Builder uses makes your flow hard to follow? Now you can select and move your steps in the canvas to organise your flow in a way that makes sense to you. For example, you can fix crossed flow lines, move your flow steps to clean up extra white space or rearrange your flow steps to show a clear sequence of events.

Using this new feature, you can select one or more steps in the flow and drag them up, down, left or right and drop them right where you want them.

Note: Some restrictions do apply and flow steps can't be moved to a position that disrupts the left-to-right process flow. When dragging flow steps to an allowed location, an orange box will be displayed. If the location isn't allowed, no orange box will be displayed and the steps will return to their original location when you try to drop them.

For more information, see Build your flow.


Tableau Prep Builder is a standalone product that works seamlessly with Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server and Tableau Online. At any point while working in Tableau Prep Builder, you can create an extract of your data, publish your data source to Tableau Server or Tableau Online, or even open Tableau Desktop directly from Tableau Prep Builder to preview your data.

  • Tableau Prep Builder works on Windows and Mac. It can create Tableau extracts (.tde and .hyper) and CSV files that can be used in Tableau 10.0 and later versions of Tableau.
  • In Tableau Prep Builder, you can connect to many of the same data sources available in Tableau Desktop, Server and Online. For a complete list of Tableau-supported data sources, click here.
  • With some data sources, you may need to install drivers before connecting to your data. If this is the case, see the Driver download page.

New workspace for faster speed to insight

Tableau Prep Builder uses Tableau’s data connectors, calculation language, and governance structure, making it possible to get you up to speed quickly and ready to collaborate at any point in the analytical process.

The Tableau Prep Builder workspace consists of the connections pane, the changes pane and three coordinated areas designed to help you interact with and explore your data:

  1. Connections pane: The Connections pane shows the databases and files you are connected to. Add connections to one or more databases and then drag the tables you want to work with into the flow pane. 
  2. Flow pane: As you connect to, clean, shape and combine your data, steps appear in the flow pane. You can hover over the icons at the top of each step to see what changes have been made. 
  3. Profile pane: The profile pane in the centre of the workspace shows a summary of each field in your data sample. This is where users can see the shape of the data and quickly find outliers and nulls.
  4. Changes pane: Tableau Prep Builder keeps track of any changes you make, in the order you make them, so you can always go back and review or edit those changes if needed.
  5. Data grid: The data grid shows the row-level detail for your data. The values displayed reflect the operations defined in the profile pane. You can filter, keep only and exclude individual field values in this grid, or drag and drop fields to change the display order.

For complete descriptions, including a video, see Workspace in Product help.

Saving and sharing outputs

Defining output

Tableau Prep Builder can save three types of files:

  1. .tfl files containing a flow
  2. .tflx files containing a flow and local file-based data sources, such as Excel and text files
  3. Output files containing the results of running a flow

Output files can be saved in .hyper, .tde and .csv formats, and are defined in the output step. The output files can be opened in Tableau Desktop, and published to Tableau Server or Tableau Online.

Tableau Desktop

Running the flow on Tableau Desktop results in a Tableau data extract file, either a .tde or .hyper depending your version of Tableau. Either one will be saved in your Tableau repository in the Datasources folder. It can also be output to .csv files if you need to use your prepared data for other tools or processes.

Note! Once an extract has been created, whether .tde or .hyper, and a workbook based on it, the same compatibility rules for use with different versions of Tableau apply as in other usage situations. For more information, see Make workbooks compatible between versions.

Tableau Server

To publish your output to Tableau Server, use the Publish menu in Tableau Prep Builder. The Tableau Server REST API must be enabled in order to receive publish requests from Tableau Prep Builder. For more information see REST API requirements.

Tableau Online

You can also use Tableau Prep Builder's Publish menu to publish your output to Tableau Online as a .hyper extract, .tde extract or .csv file and provide centralised access to the data you have cleaned, formatted and combined.

Faster updates to Tableau Prep Builder

We’re moving fast and will be launching new features frequently for Tableau Prep Builder, independent of the Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server or Tableau Online release cycles. Customers will need to upgrade to the latest version of Tableau Prep Builder to take advantage of new features and product fixes.

This site will post new links at regular intervals to community user scenarios, product information and – not least – tricks of the trade for the latest in fast, fun and efficient data prep.

Additional resources

How can I get Tableau Prep Builder?

Tableau Prep Builder is a subscription-only product included in the Tableau Creator offering. Existing Tableau Desktop users with maintenance agreements will be able to download and use Tableau Prep Builder as part of their agreement. If you haven't downloaded Tableau Prep Builder already, you may do so by visiting this page or by simply clicking the download button at the top of this upgrade page, which always points to the latest version of Prep Builder.

Unsure of your licence situation? Start by reading Maintain licences for Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder.

Try Tableau Prep Builder first for free!

You can download a free 14-day trial of Tableau Prep Builder here.
Review tech specs

Technical requirements for Tableau Prep Builder can be viewed here.
Tableau Prep Builder release notes

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