Tableau Server Tutorial

Tableau Server Tutorial

Tableau Server helps you to embed live interactive dashboards and provide high security to your data. It is also the most secure way to distribute Tableau workbooks. The below informative tutorial, allows you to have an overview regarding the basics of Tableau Server.

Tableau Server Components

The below given are the Server components of Tableau:

  • Application Server: This process handle browsing and permissions for Tableau Server web and mobile interfaces.
  • VizQL Server: Upon request from clients, it sends queries to data source, returns a result set that is rendered as images and ultimately presents them to the users.
  • Data Server: It lets users to manage and store Tableau data sources and also maintains metadata (calculations, definitions and groups) from Tableau Desktop.

Tableau Server/Administration 

  • Installing
  • Activating the Product
  • Configuring the Server
  • Setting Up Distributed Servers
  • Adding Users

    Installing Tableau Server:

  • Double-click the installation file.
  • Follow the on-screen directions to complete the Setup wizard and Install the application.
  • After the installation is achieved, click Next to open the Product Key Manager window


After the installation is achieved, click Next to access the Product Key Manager window.


Note: Whenever you need to support characters that are not the Latin-1 set, assure to install the Windows Language Packs through Control Panel > Regional and Language Options. The language packs are to be installed on the primary server as well as any on the worker machines.

Activating the Product: 

After you install Tableau Desktop or Tableau Server, you will need to activate your product. Both of them require product keys to activate the products. 

Tableau Server requires at least one product key that both activates the server and also determines the number of license levels which you can assign to users. You can access your product keys from the Tableau Customer Account Center.

Activate and Register: After installing and configuring the server, the product key manager automatically opens so you can enter your product key and register the product. Select Activate and then paste it in your product key.


Offline Activation

If you installed a Tableau’s product on a computer that is offline, you can activate it by completing the following offline-activation process.

  1. When the product key manager opens, click Activate the product.
  2. Paste your server product key into the corresponding text box and click Activate. You can get your product key from the Customer Account Center on Tableau’s web site.


  1. When you are offline, activation will fail and you are given the option to save a file that you can use for offline activation. Click Save.


  1. Select a location for the file and click Save. The file will be saved as offline.tlq. containing information about the host the license is to be activated on.


Configuring the Server:

The Tableau Server Configuration utility opens during a Tableau Server installation. You can set configuration options at this time, as part of the installation, before the server starts. The server is started at the end of the installation process.

  1. By default, Tableau Server runs by employing the Network Service account.


  1. Select whether to use Active Directory to authenticate users on the server.



Data Connection Configuration: The Data Connection tab is used to configure aspects of caching and initial SQL statement usage that will be applied to complete data connections.


Views published to Tableau Server are interactive and often have a live connection to a database.

As users interact with the views in a web browser, the data that is queried gets stored in a cache.

Subsequent visits will pull the data from this cache if it is feasible.

To configure caching:

  1. Select the Data Connections tab in the Tableau Server Configuration dialog box.
  2. Select from one of the following options:

Refresh Less Often – Data is cached and reused whenever it is available regardless of when it was added to the cache. This option minimizes the number of queries sent to the database. Select this option when data are not changing frequently. Refreshing less often may enhance the performance.

Balanced – Data is removed from the cache after a specified number of minutes. If the data has been added to the cache within the specified time range, the cached data will be used, otherwise new data will be queried from the database.

Refresh More Often – The database is queried each time the page is loaded. The data is still cached and will be reused until the user reloads the page. This option will ensure users see the most up to date data; however, it may decrease performance.

Setup Tasks

The eventual step in activating Tableau Server is to add an administrator account.


Setting Up Distributed Servers:

After you complete the initial configuration, you can set up Tableau Server to run on multiple computers. This is also called as distributed installation, or cluster. It increases the scalability of your Tableau Server environment.

  • You can set up Tableau Server to run on multiple machines and you can fine tune which Tableau Server processes can run on individual machines, including the primary server.
  • This type of distributed environment can help you support more users, improve viewer interaction and browsing, as well as optimize the handling of server background tasks.


Once the Worker software is installed on worker machines, return to the primary server and open the configuration utility by selecting Tableau Server 8 > Configure Tableau Server on the Start menu.

In the Configuration Utility, select the Servers tab and click the Add button.


In the next dialog box, type the IP Address for one of the worker machines and indicate the number of VizQL, Application Server, and Background processes allocate to the machine.


Adding Local Users:

  • You can add individual users’ information and then import several users from a Comma-Separated Value (CSV) file. You can also include attributes in the CSV file, such as site role and the ability to publish, to apply to the users at the same time to import them.

To add local users:

  1. Log into Tableau Server by entering your administrator user name and password.
  2. Click Users in the Administration area on the left side of the page.


  1. Click one of the following links at the undermost list of users:

Add User – To add users one at a time by specifying a user name and password.

Add Users From CSV File – To add multiple users accommodated in a CSV file.


  1. If you are adding a single user, specify the following:


Username – Type a username for the user (e.g., jsmith, johnsmith). The username can only consist of letters and numbers.

  • Full Name – Type a display name for the user (e.g., John Smith).
  • Password – Enter a password for the user.
  • Confirm – Retype the password to confirm.
  • License Level – Select a license level.

User Rights – Choose whether the user can publish workbooks and assign administrator rights.

When accomplished, click Add User.


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