This document intends to summarize the reasons why a Tableau workbook would not be connecting to the

data source and list the possible resolutions.


Tableau has the ability to connect to a vast variety of data sources, ranging from flat files to data on servers.

We may sometimes experience a few data connection issues that all have a clear reason and can be simply solved.

Issue types

A) In Tableau Desktop I am unable to connect to a file on a server.

1. Check if you have the right credentials: user name and password. If necessary, please doublecheck this with your IT contact.

2. You will need the matching database driver installed on your desktop to access the database.

You can download it from here: http://www.tableausoftware.com/support/drivers

Make sure to use the bit version of the driver (32 or 64) is the same as the bit version of your Tableau Desktop.

To check the bit version of your Tableau Desktop, select from menu Help/About Tableau:

3. Make sure you typed the server name / URL properly. Also, there are special cases, e.g. when connecting to an Excel file

on a Sharepoint server, you have to use the full universal naming convention (UNC) file path.


B) The workbook does not refresh on Tableau server.

1. If the workbook uses extract(s), at first check if the scheduling periodicity was set correctly upon publishing.

Solution: schedule the refresh on Tableau server:


Other references related to scheduling:



2. The extract could have failed to refresh because the workbook was published with embedded credentials to the data source

and the credentials have expired. This typically happens when the person who originally published the workbook has left the company.

Solution: republish the workbook from Tableau Desktop with new credentials embedded.

3. The source data (e.g. an Excel file on a Sharepoint server) may have been renamed / relocated / or the field names have changed.

Solution: edit the data connection in Tableau Desktop to point to the correct location and database/file name.

4. If the workbook utilizes a live data connection and the views are not rendering, the database itself may be down.

Solution: talk to your IT colleagues responsible for server maintenance.


5. A banal issue but worth doublechecking if none of the above helps – is the workbook using the correct datasource?

E.g. two versions may be present of the datasource (one updating on a weekly basis, the other monthly) – if the

Tableau workbook is connected to the ’monthly’ one the underlying data refresh only once a month.

Solution: should this be the case, replace the data source in Tableau Desktop and republish.

Additional checklist in case a workbook is unavailable / non-refreshing on Tableau server:

- is the workbook working in Tableau Desktop (the data connections are working there?), the calculated field are working?

- is the source data updated and accessible in its original location (e.g. on the database server)

- use a systematic approach in investigating the reasons, ’roll back’ the potential reasons until you can locate where the issue happens.


C) The Tableau server report view is embedded into another system (e.g. Sharepoint) but does not refresh there

after it was updated on Tableau server.

1. If the workbook view was republished onto Tableau server (due to any modification), it is very important to publish it

under the same name, overwriting the already existing workbook on Tableau server. This is done by selecting the earlier

version's name from the name drop-down list upon publishing.

A new workbook version may accidentally be published with a new name while the link embedded to e.g. the

sharepoint view is still pointing to the earlier version that remained on Tableau server.

D) I open a workbook and everything is working fine, but new data is not being displayed?

This incidence could be down to the caching strategy selected in Tableau server configuration.  

Views published to Tableau Server are interactive and sometimes 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 available.

Solution: the quick solution is to click the Refresh Data button (two arrows) on the far right of the toolbar to force the

server to send a query and retrieve the data.

 If this issue appears regularly, you may consider changing your caching configuration towards the options with more

frequent caching (either the ‘Balanced’ or ‘Refresh more Often’ options in the ‘Data Connections’ configuration of Tableau Server).