Upgrade to Tableau Prep Builder 2019.2.3

What you need to know when upgrading to Tableau Prep Builder 2019.2.3


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 2019.2.3

Start by reading this blog post by Dr. Anushka Anand,, Senior Product Manager at Tableau

New in Tableau Prep Builder: Visual filtering and improved data standardisation

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.

Examine and filter your data

Recommendations for fixing invalid data role items (fuzzy match)  

We have upgraded the ability to automatically fix data values that are invalid given the assigned data role and given it a new name Pronunciation and spelling. Now, the top recommendation for a field that has a Data Role assigned will be based on the fuzzy matching to valid values using the Pronunciation and Spelling algorithm. Now Tableau Prep Builder recommends the best way to fix data quality issues when customers add semantic context or real-world meaning to data fields with data roles. 

Currently only applies to the following dictionary-based data roles: 

  • Airport
  • City
  • Country/Region
  • County
  • State/Province
Conductor compatibility 

Recommendations are only visible while authoring a flow in Prep Builder, so this does not affect Conductor, and for the time being the fuzzy match algorithm is limited to English-language data. (The Pronunciation and Spelling algorithm is a hybrid grouping algorithm that uses Metanome3 and Levenshtein distance to match values that sound the same and have similar spellings, but this algorithm is only useful on English data.)

For more information, see Examine and filter your data

Select grouping algorithm for fuzzy match

Users can now use fuzzy matching algorithms to automatically match/replace invalid values with the known/expected value in the data role. For instance, data values “Allabama” or “Alabamma” in a State field will not just be grouped together but will be assigned to the target value “Alabama” (a new out-of-sample target value will be created if the expected data value does not exist in the data set). This helps users standardise a field against expected values with confidence. (This algorithm uses Levenshtein distance just as the fuzzy groupings, so it matches values that differ by adding, removing or substituting characters and is applicable to non-English data values as well as English values.)

Currently only applies to the following dictionary-based data roles: 

  • Airport
  • City
  • Country/Region
  • County
  • State/Province
Conductor compatibility 

Applying fuzzy matching creates a list of groupings (source -> target) and these are stored in the Change list in a flow. Fuzzy matching, like fuzzy grouping, only captures the list of groupings for data seen in Prep Builder while authoring the flow. Running the flow would just apply those groupings and not re-execute the grouping algorithm. These grouping/matching changes in a flow will therefore run fine on Conductor 2019.2 and 2019.1. 

For more information, see Examine and filter your data.

Discrete value filter 

Users now have a visually direct way to filter out individual domain values in each column. While a customer can filter out an individual value using the context menu for the bars in the profile cards, this new filter allows users to filter values not in the data sample. A user can find the new feature by navigating to the column’s Filter menu and selecting the Selected Values filter.   
Conductor compatibility 

This feature will be available in a future release.

Duplicate a field 

Most user calculations are simple duplications of a field. In order to make this process easier, a user can now duplicate a field with a single click by using the Content Pane toolbar or the Profile Card drop-down menu. Just navigate to any column, select that column and click on the Duplicate Field item in the Profile Card drop-down menu.  
Conductor compatibility 

This feature will be available in a future release.


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

Get help

Self-service resources

Technical support
To get the best results out of your encounter with Support, please provide the following:
  • Screenshots of the issue and any error messages (expanded)
  • Best times to call

Professional Services

Our consultants can teach you how to get the most out of the new Tableau Prep Builder feature and unlock the value in your data.