Upgrade to Tableau Prep Builder 2019.3.1

What you need to know when upgrading to Tableau Prep Builder 2019.3.1


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 2019.3.1

Start by reading this blog post by Anton Grinevskij, Senior Software Engineer at Tableau

Introducing support for custom R and Python scripts in Tableau Prep flows

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.

New language added: Italian

Tableau Prep Builder and Support Knowledge Base now available in Italian!  

With the launch of Tableau Prep Builder 2019.3.1 as well as Tableau Desktop and Server 2019.3, Italian has been added to our supported languages. Tableau customers come from all corners of the world and we want to serve as many as possible in their native languages.

Explore the support Knowledge Base in all 11 languages.

Connect to data

Connect to data using Google BigQuery   

Connect to even more of your data in the cloud using Google BigQuery. Like Tableau Desktop, you can now connect to data stored in Google BigQuery and publish flows to Tableau Server and Tableau Online if Google OAuth connections are configured.

Note: Tableau Prep Builder does not currently support using Google BigQuery customisation attributes.

For more information about how to connect to Google BigQuery, see Google BigQuery in the Tableau Desktop help. For more information about connecting to data and building a flow, see Connect to data.

Connect to published data sources for flow input  

Whether you generate a published data source from Tableau Desktop or as output from Tableau Prep Builder and publish it to Tableau Server or Tableau Online, you can now connect to your published data sources and use them as an input data source for your flow.

Simply select Tableau Server from the Connect pane, then sign in to your server or site. After you sign in, a list of available data sources are shown. Select your data source, or use the search option to find your data source and drag it to the flow pane to start your flow.

Note: Published data sources that include user filters are not currently supported.

For more information about connecting to data and building a flow, see Connect to data.

Save and share your work

Spot incompatible features as you build your flow   

Tableau Prep Builder releases new versions every month. If new features or connectors are introduced in a new version and you plan to publish your flow to an older version of Tableau Server or Tableau Online, compatibility may be an issue. Currently, you can see if you have incompatible features when you publish your flow, but at that point you've already built your flow, so going back to remove incompatible features can take time and cause frustration.

In this release, compatibility alerts are more transparent. You can now see any incompatible features as you build your flow, so that you can make informed decisions about the features you include in the moment.

Simply sign into your Tableau Server, then as you build your flow, alerts will display if you choose a feature that is not supported in your version of Tableau Server. Click Alerts in the top-right corner of the canvas to view all alerts and errors or hover on the alert on the step or annotation in the flow pane to view the alert details.

Click the View in Flow link to quickly navigate to the step, annotation, field or change the warning is associated with. The step, field and change are all marked with an alert icon and are highlighted so you can quickly find and address the issue and continue with your flow.

For more information about resolving compatibility issues, see Version compatibility with Tableau Prep.

Clean and shape data

Use R and Python scripts in your flow   

You can now use R and Python scripts to perform more complex cleaning operations or incorporate predictive modelling data into your flow. Data is passed from the flow as input through the R or Python script step using Rserve or TabPy, then returned as output data that you can continue cleaning using the features and functions in Tableau Prep Builder.

For more information about how to include scripts in your flow, see Use R and Python scripts in your flow.

Keep flow data fresh

Publish flows to Tableau Online   

You can now publish your flows to either Tableau Server or Tableau Online and run them on a schedule to keep data fresh. Tableau Online does not support direct connections to on-premise data sources. If you publish a flow to Tableau Online that connects to an on-premise data source, you can edit your connection to automatically convert the connection to a published data source.

For more information about publishing flows to Tableau Online, see Publish a flow to Tableau Server or Tableau Online.

Tableau Prep Conductor and Tableau Online

Part of the Data Management add-on   

Tableau Prep Conductor is included in the separately licensed Data Management add-on for Tableau Server and Tableau Online. Tableau Prep Conductor uses the scheduling and tracking functionality of Tableau Online so you can automate running flows to update the flow output instead of logging into Tableau Prep to manually run individual flows as your data changes.

For more information, see Tableau Prep Conductor and License the Data Management add-on.


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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