Tableau File Types

Tableau File Types

twb_logo-minWorkbook (.twb)

The Tableau Workbook is the default file type created when you save your work using Tableau Desktop Professional.  This file type DOES NOT include any data, custom images (shapes) or custom map graphics.  Also note, you CANNOT create this file type with Tableau Public.  This is because Tableau Public is designed to always publish data to the Tableau Public cloud server.  So what type of file does Tableau Public create, the answer leads us to the next Tableau File Type.

Ideal use case

The Tableau Workbook file type is ideal for iterating through your data visualization ideas without processing overhead.  For example, let’s say you have a data source that has 100 million rows of is 20 GB in size.  Using this file type will prevent Tableau from having to unpack the large data each time the Workbook is opened.  Performance is a premium when iterating thru data visualization ideas.

CAUTION!!!

If you send this file type to a college via email or some other way, your college won’t be able to view your stunning data visualization because Tableau Workbooks don’t include the data necessary to generate the data visualization.


twbx_logo-minPackaged Workbook (.twbx)

The Tableau Packaged Workbook is the archive file type you can create with Tableau Desktop Professional that contains dashboards, worksheets and the data in a single file.   You can create a Packaged Workbook by clicking the “Save as…” on the Tableau Desktop Professional File menu.

File > Save as…

After selecting Save as…, you can then choose “Tableau Packaged Workbook” from the Save as type drop down list.

Ideal use case

The Tableau Packaged Workbook file type is ideal for sharing your stunning data visualizations with colleges.  However, as mentioned above, large data sets carry a bit of overhead when the Workbook is first opened.

CAUTION!!!

This file type includes all of the data you used to create your dashboards.  However, the file type does not secure your data.  We recommend careful consideration when sharing Packaged Workbooks that contain sensitive data.


tds_logo-minData Source (.tds)

A Tableau Data Source includes the connection information necessary to connect to a data source.  For example, if you connect your Workbook to an Excel spreadsheet in your My Documents folder, creating a Data Source will contain the information necessary to find that file on your local computer.  The same principle holds true for every data source type Tableau Desktop Professional supports.

In addition, a Tableau Data Source also includes detailed information about calculated fields, data types and much more.

Ideal use cases

Tableau Data Sources are a wonderful way to share data sources with colleges.  Assuming your colleges have access to the data sources.

CAUTION!!!

If your Tableau Data Source points to a file local to your computer, sharing the file with colleges could generate frustration rather than boost productivity…LOL.  This is because files local to your computer are just that, local to your computer and your computer only.  When using local data sources and you want to share a data source with a college, we recommend the next file type or a Tableau Packaged Workbook.


tdsx_logo-minPackaged Data Source (.tdsx)

The Tableau Packaged Data Source includes all of the metadata about the connection to the data source, the original fields from the data source, any calculated fields and properties configured in Tableau Desktop Professional and the actual data.  You can create a Packaged Data Source by clicking “Add to saved data sources…” on the Tableau Desktop Professional Data menu.

Data > Add to saved data sources…

After selecting “Add to saved data sources…” select “Tableau Packaged Data Source” from the Save as type drop down list.

Ideal use case

The Tableau Packaged Data Source is the perfect way to share a specific data source with colleges without sharing the dashboards or worksheets.
CAUTION!!!
This file type includes all of the data you used to create your dashboards.  However, the file type does not secure your data.  We recommend careful consideration when sharing Packaged Workbooks that contain sensitive data.


tde_logo-minTableau Data Extract (.tde)

Tableau Data Extract files are a local copy of a subset or entire data source that you can use to share data, work offline, and improve database performance.

Ideal use case

You’ve create the perfect Tableau Data Extract, including calculated fields, parameters and aggregation defaults and you want to share your brilliance with your colleges; the Tableau Data Extract is the perfect medium of exchange.

CAUTION!!!
This file type includes all of the data you used to create your dashboards.  However, the file type does not secure your data.  We recommend careful consideration when sharing Packaged Workbooks that contain sensitive data.


tbm_logo-minBookmark (.tbm)

A Tableau Bookmark is the way to save a single worksheet as a Tableau bookmark.  Bookmarks can be accessed from any workbook using the Bookmarks menu. Bookmarks are convenient when you have worksheets that you use frequently.  It should be noted that Tableau Bookmarks are very similar to Tableau Workbooks, but with much less content.  Where a Tableau Workbook contains all of the information about an entire Workbook, Bookmarks contain all of the information for a single Worksheet within a Workbook.

Ideal use case

Your company requires every dashboard to include the Worksheet.  Instead of having each dashboard designer create their own Worksheet, why not save the Worksheet as a Tableau Bookmark and store it a place where everyone has access.  This way, the common Worksheet is consistent across all Workbooks and it’s a boost to productivity.

CAUTION!!!
Tableau Bookmarks DO NOT include the data used by the Worksheet unless the data source used is a Tableau Data Extract.  This means if you create a Bookmark for a Worksheet that uses a Live Data Source connection, your Bookmark will get created, but if a college of yours attempts to open it, she or he will not be able to.  This can happen when a Bookmark is saved, but the college doesn’t have access to the data source behind the Worksheet.  Therefore we recommend making sure all Bookmark users have access to the necessary data sources.


tps_logo-minPreferences (.tps)

The Tableau Preferences file is where the default Tableau color palettes are defined.  As you might expect, this file is where you would add any custom color palettes.

The file is located in My DocumentsMy Tableau RepositoryPreferences.tps

CAUTION!!!
The Tableau Preferences file is used heavily by Tableau Desktop.  If you want to customize the file, we strongly recommend taking a backup prior to making changes.  This way, you can roll back time, should you need to.


Map Source (.tms)

After you add a Mapbox map or WMS server to your workbook, you can save it as a Tableau map source (.tms).  A Tableau Map Source is a way to share custom maps with colleges that are native to Tableau and easy to import for generating custom map views.

By default Map Source files are saved in My DocumentsMy Tableau RepositoryMapsources