Tableau File Types

One of the things I found most confusing when I first started using Tableau was trying to figure out what all the different files types do. It’s not exaggerating to say that I lost sleep over it. I want to provide you with a brief overview of the primary file types you’ll encounter and their primary uses.

They are: Tableau Packaged Workbook (.twbx); Tableau Workbook (.twb); Tableau Data Extract (.tde) and Tableau Data Source (.tds)
 

Tableau Packaged Workbook (.twbx)

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A .twbx file contains the following attributes:

●        Data source connection information

●        Extracted copy of the data

●        Metadata information (changes applied to the data after it comes into Tableau)

●        Visuals (worksheets, dashboards, stories)

Uses:

This is the most comprehensive Tableau file. It’s the only file type that Tableau Reader can consume. It’s great when you want to view/work with your data offline or are sharing your work with someone who doesn’t have access to your data source. This might not be the best fit if you have a very large data source.

 

Tableau Workbook (.twb)

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A .twb file contains the following attributes:

●        Data source connection information

●        Metadata information (changes applied to the data after it comes into Tableau)

●        Visuals (worksheets, dashboards, stories)

Uses:

This is a great file type to use if you are reporting against a large data source and your end user has access to the data source as well. That way you won’t be trying to email a 10GB file to each other. It also retains a live connection to your data source by default, so if you need real-time reporting this might be a good fit.

 

Tableau Data Extract (.tde)

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A .tde file contains the following attributes:

●        Extracted copy of the data

Uses:

A .tde file is a snapshot of your data, compressed and formatted for consumption in Tableau. It is primarily used to shorten query times but is also great if you want your data to be portable (use offline or send to others) or to hide sensitive fields from end users. I use this on a very routine basis and recommend creating one as a default unless you have restrictions that won’t allow it.

 

Tableau Data Source (.tds)

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A .tds file contains the following attributes:

●        Data source connection information

●        Metadata information (changes applied to the data after it comes into Tableau)

Uses:

Of the Tableau users I know, 15% use this file type on a regular basis. It’s primary use is to create a shared data source for a group of users. If you are the domain expert on your data source(s) and are going to be creating calculations and applying default settings to data fields that you know others should be using as well, this could be a useful file type.

 

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