How to Get Around Extract Limitations in Tableau Dashboard Starters
Tableau recently developed beautiful Dashboard Starters for data sources such as Salesforce and Marketo. In addition to great looks, these Dashboard Starters have calculations that can be leveraged in your own worksheets and visualizations. However, there are some restrictions, one such being that Dashboard Starters only work with Tableau extracts.
Extracts have limitations and can be cumbersome to deal with. Even unhiding a field requires a rebuild of the extract and the data is only as current as the last refresh of the extract. It is often better to use a reporting database instead of the default extracts used in the Dashboard Starters – but swapping out one data source for another in Tableau can be tricky.
Fear not. Below we list the steps required to swap out the Dashboard Starter extract for a reporting database.
- Create a new data source using your reporting database.
To do this properly, look at the tables and the joins used in the original and duplicate this as close as possible. (If your reporting database has the same field names and table names as the original, there will be less work for you to do in step 5.)
- Publish the new data source to Tableau Server or save it as a Tableau Saved Data Source (.tds).
- Go to the Dashboard Starter. Add that as a New Data Source.
- Close the original data source.
- Look for dimensions and measures in the drop down that are followed by a red exclamation point.
- Right click on those dimensions or measures, then use Replace References to point to your own database field names.
That’s it! You’re done!
Caveat: If your database is very different than the original data, swapping out the Tableau extract will likely be way more complex. For example, it may be difficult to determine what tables and fields are really the ones you want. And, you may not yet have a reporting database. If either of these is the case, it's time to call in the pros.
At Senturus, we are experts in these Dashboard Starters and their underlying data. We’ll get them running with your own database quickly and painlessly. Once the Dashboard Starters leverage your own database, you can easily merge in additional data and build in key metrics your company needs to make important business decisions.