Upgrade Tableau Prep Builder

What you need to know when upgrading Tableau Prep Builder


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.


Start using Tableau Prep Builder:

Choosing a Version

Tableau Release Navigator

  • Understand what version of Tableau is right for your deployment
  • Filter and compare Desktop, Server, and Prep features by release
  • Perform impact analysis and plan change management for an upgrade with data on major new features and product changes delivered between your current and next versions.
  • Release Navigator is on Tableau Public - you can also download and customize it for your use cases.

Tableau Technical Support Release Pages

  • Known issues - what issues are we currently fixing?
  • Choose a recent maintenance release - whichever version (e.g. 2020.4, 2021.2) you are upgrading to, Tableau recommends installing the most recent maintenance release available for that version (e.g. the highest final decimal in 2020.4.4) to get the most recent product fixes.

Tableau Blueprint

Plan change management to support and align with your analytics strategy: Tableau Blueprint - Upgrade Planning



Tableau Prep Builder is a stand-alone product that works seamlessly with Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server and Tableau Cloud. 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 Cloud, 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 Cloud. 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 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 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 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 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 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 Cloud.


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 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 Cloud

You can also use Tableau Prep Builder's Publish menu to publish your output to Tableau Cloud 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 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 Cloud release cycles. Customers will need to upgrade to the latest version of Tableau Prep Builder 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 Builder?
Tableau Prep Builder 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 Builder as part of their maintenance agreement. If you haven't downloaded Tableau Prep Builder already, you may do so by visiting this page or 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 license situation? Start by reading Maintain Licenses 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

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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.