While Tableau lets you analyze databases and spreadsheets like never before, you don’t need to know anything about databases to use Tableau. In fact, Tableau is designed to allow business people with no technical training to analyze their data efficiently.
Connect Tableau to any database that you want to analyze. Note that Tableau does not import the data. Instead, it queries to the database directly.
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Analyzing data means viewing it, filtering it, sorting it, performing calculations on it, reorganizing it, summarizing it, and so on. Using Tableau you can do all of these things by simply arranging fields of your data source on a Tableau worksheet. When you drop a field on a worksheet, Tableau queries the data using standard drivers and query languages (like SQL and MDX) and presents a visual analysis of the data.
You can share results with others either by sharing workbooks with other Tableau users, by pasting results into applications such as Microsoft Office, printing to PDF or by using Tableau Server to publish or embed your views across your organization.
At any time while connected to a data source, you can export the connection information as a shortcut that allows you to quickly connect without opening the connection dialog box.
You might want to do this if you often connect to the same data source multiple times or if you've added custom fields to the Data window such as groups, sets, calculated fields, and binned fields or added joined tables. For subsequent connections to that source, use the shortcut so that you don’t have to recreate the custom fields.
Note that you can also save custom fields by saving the workbook or by creating a bookmark file.
The connection is saved as a TDS (Tableau data source) file and is available on the Connect to Data page. Each TDS file references one data source, and stores information about the data source type and location, and any custom fields you have created. TDS files do not store data, workbooks, or worksheets.
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TDS files are stored in the Data sources folder of the Tableau Repository. They have the .tds extension and can be identified by the data source icon. If you move the TDS file to another location, you cannot access the file with the Connect to Data dialog box.
However, you can access the file by selecting File > Open and navigate to the file. You can also connect by dragging the TDS file onto Tableau’s desktop icon or onto the running application.
If you move the data source referenced by the TDS file, you will not be able to complete the connection. In this case, Tableau will ask you to replace the original data source with another one. Note that the replacement data source must be of the same type (Excel, M
ySQL, and so on) as the original.
As shown below, the new TDS file is displayed on the Connect to Data page.
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