Upgrade to Tableau Prep 2018.2.3

What you need to know when upgrading to Tableau Prep 2018.2.3


Introduction to Tableau Prep

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

How to Get Tableau Prep

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

Start using Tableau Prep:

What's New in Tableau Prep 2018.2.3

Start by reading this blog post by Dr. Anushka Anand, Senior Product Manager, at Tableau:
New in Tableau Prep: Automatically identify data quality issues with Data Roles

Connect to Data

Connect to data stored in MongoDB Business Intelligence (BI)  

If you store your data in Mongo DB Business Intelligence, you can now connect to your data and clean it with Tableau Prep.

For more information about how to connect to your data using Mongo DB Business Intelligence, see MongoDB BI Connector in the Tableau Desktop help.

Note: Data connectors are not backward compatible. Flows that include these connectors may open in a prior version of Tableau Prep, but will have errors or cannot run unless the data connections are removed.

Examine and Filter Your Data

Specify a data role for your field values

You can now assign a data role to your field values and use Tableau Prep to help you find inaccuracies or outliers in your data set.

Data roles tell Tableau Prep what the field values mean or represent, for example email addresses or a geographic role such as city or zip code. When a data role is assigned to a field, Tableau Prep examines the field values and flags the values that don't match so that you can take a closer look.

To view only the values that are valid or not valid, use the new filter option on the drop-down menu.

In this release we support the following data roles:

Geographic roles
  • Airport
  • Area code (U.S.)
  • City
  • Congressional District (U.S.)
  • Country/Region
  • County
  • NUTS* Europe
  • State/Province
  • Zip code/Postal code

*Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics

For more information, see Examine and Filter Your Data.

Join or Union Data

Fix mismatched fields directly in the join clause

When you join two tables of data you will often have field values that are the same but are mismatched due to data entry errors. Tableau Prep helps identify mismatched fields in your join clauses by turning the mismatched field values red. It would be great if you could just fix those field values right in your join clause and now you can.

Now, when you join two data sets you can edit the field values that you join on, right in the join clause to fix them. Simply double-click in a field value to edit it.

The cleaning action is automatically pushed back to the previous cleaning step in the flow for the appropriate join data set. No cleaning step before the join step? No problem. Tableau Prep automatically adds one for you to capture the cleaning operation from the join.

For information about how to clean field values directly in a join clause, see Join or Union Data.


Tableau Prep is a stand-alone product that works seamlessly with Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server and Tableau Online. At any point while working in Tableau Prep, 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 to preview your data.

  • Tableau Prep 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 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 source, 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 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 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 were made. 
  3. Profile pane: The profile pane in the center 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 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 plus 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 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 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 applies 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. The Tableau Server REST API must be enabled in order to receive publish requests from Tableau Prep. For more information see REST API Requirements.

Tableau Online

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

Faster Updates to Tableau Prep

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

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

Additional Resources

How can I get Tableau Prep?

Tableau Prep is a subscription only product included in the Tableau Creator offering. Existing Tableau Desktop users with maintenance will be able to download and use Tableau Prep for two years, as part of their maintenance agreement. Check out the ways to get Tableau Prep.

Test Tableau Prep first for free!

You can download a free 14-day trial of Tableau Prep here.

Review Tech Specs

Technical requirements for Tableau Prep can be viewed here.

Tableau Prep 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 feature and unlock the value in your data.