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Publish Access-Connected Dashboards in Tableau Server

Use the CData Tableau Connector for Access and Tableau Server to visualize live Access data.

Tableau Server is a visual analytics platform transforming the way businesses use data to solve problems. When paired with the CData Tableau Connector for Access, you get access to live Access data within Tableau Server. This article shows how to connect to Access in Tableau Desktop, publish a Data Source to Tableau Server, and build a simple chart on that data.

The CData Tableau Connectors enable high-speed access to live Access data in Tableau Server. Once you install the connector, you simply authenticate with Access and you can immediately start building responsive, dynamic visualizations and dashboards. By surfacing Access data using native Tableau data types and handling complex filters, aggregations, & other operations automatically, CData Tableau Connectors grant seamless access to Access data.

NOTE: The CData Tableau Connectors require Tableau 2020.3 or higher. If you are using an older version of Tableau, you will need to use the CData JDBC Driver for Access. If you wish to connect to Access data in Tableau Online, you will need to use CData CloudHub.

Enable Connectivity to Access in Tableau Server

Start by installing the CData Tableau Connector on the machine hosting Tableau Server and on a machine with Tableau Desktop.

  1. On the server machine, copy cdata.access.taco and cdata.tableau.access.lic (typically found in C:\Program Files\CData\CData Tableau Connector for Access\lib\
  2. Place the copies in the Tableau Server Connectors folder (C:\ProgramData\Tableau\Tableau Server\data absvc\vizqlserver\Connectors)
  3. Restart Tableau Server

Connect to Access in Tableau Desktop

Once the connectors are installed on the Server machine, we can configure a connection to Access in Tableau Desktop and publish a Access-based Data Source to Tableau Server.

  1. Open Tableau Desktop
  2. Click More under Connect -> To a Server
  3. Select "Access by CData"
  4. Configure the connection and click "Sign In."

To connect, set the DataSource property to the path to the Access database.

Discover Schemas and Query Data

Once you establish the connection to Access data, you can configure which entities to visualize.

  1. Select CData from the Database pull-down menu.
  2. Select Access from the Schema pull-down menu.
  3. Drag the tables and views you wish to visualize onto the join area. You can include multiple tables.
  4. Select Update Now or Automatically Update. Update Now lets you preview the first 10,000 rows of the data source (or enter the number of rows you want to see in the Rows text box). Automatically Update auto-loads the changes in the preview area.

Publish Data to Tableau Server

After you configure the data you wish to visualize, you can publish the Data Source to a Tableau Server instance. In Tableau Desktop:

  1. Click Server -> Sign In
  2. Enter the URL for your Tableau Server
  3. Authenticate with Tableau Server credentials
  4. Click Server -> Publish Data Source and select your data source
  5. Click Publish
  6. Select the Project, name the Data Source, and optionally add a description
  7. Click Publish

Visualize Access Data in Tableau Server

With the Data Source published to Tableau Server, you are ready to visualize Access data.

  1. Login to your Tableau Server instance
  2. Select the Project where you published the Data Source
  3. Click the published Data Source
  4. Click New Workbook
  5. In the workbook, Access fields are listed as Dimensions and Measures, depending on the data type. The CData Tableau Connector discovers data types automatically, allowing you to leverage the powerful data processing and visualization features of Tableau.
  6. Drag a field from the Dimensions or Measures area to Rows or Columns. Tableau creates column or row headers.
  7. Select one of the chart types from the Show Me tab. Tableau displays the chart type that you selected.

Using the CData Tableau Connector for Access with Tableau Server, you can easily create robust visualizations and reports on Access data. Download a free, 30-day trial and get started today.