Build Excel Visualizations in Tableau Online

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CData Connect

Fully-integrated Microsoft Excel Add-Ins that connect Excel with live data.



Use CData Connect Cloud to create a virtual SQL Server Database for Excel data and build visualizations in Tableau Online.

Tableau Online is an analytics platform fully hosted in the cloud. When paired with CData Connect Cloud, you get instant, cloud-to-cloud access to Excel data for visualizations, dashboards, and more. This article shows how to create a virtual database for Excel and build visualizations from Excel data in Tableau Online.

CData Connect Cloud provides a pure SQL Server, cloud-to-cloud interface for Excel, allowing you to easily build visualizations from live Excel data in Tableau Online without installing connectors or publishing worksheets and data sources from Tableau Desktop. As you build visualizations, Tableau Online generates SQL queries to gather data. Using optimized data processing out of the box, CData Connect Cloud pushes all supported SQL operations (filters, JOINs, etc) directly to Excel, leveraging server-side processing to quickly return Excel data.

Create a Virtual SQL Server Database for Excel Data

CData Connect Cloud uses a straightforward, point-and-click interface to connect to data sources and generate APIs.

  1. Login to Connect Cloud and click Databases.
  2. Select "Excel" from Available Data Sources.
  3. Enter the necessary authentication properties to connect to Excel.

    The ExcelFile, under the Authentication section, must be set to a valid Excel File.

  4. Click Test Database.
  5. Click Privileges -> Add and add the new user (or an existing user) with the appropriate permissions.

With the virtual database created, you are ready to build visualizations in Tableau Online.

Visualize Live Excel Data in Tableau Online

The steps below outline creating a new data source in Tableau Online based on the virtual Excel database in Connect Cloud and building a simple visualization from the data.

  1. Log into Tableau Online, select a project, and create a new workbook.
  2. In the new workbook, choose the Microsoft SQL Server Connector from the data wizard and fill in the values for your Connect Cloud instance.
    NOTE: Be sure to check the "Require SSL" checkbox.
  3. Select your newly created database and the table(s) you wish to visualize (defining relationships for JOINed tables as needed).
  4. Select Dimensions and Measures and configure your visualization.

SQL Access to Excel Data from Cloud Applications

At this point, you have a direct, cloud-to-cloud connection to live Excel data from your Tableau Online workbook. You can create new visualizations, build dashboards, and more, with no need to publish data sources and workbooks from Tableau Desktop. For more information on gaining SQL access to data from more than 100 SaaS, Big Data, and NoSQL sources from cloud applications like Tableau Online, refer to our Connect Cloud page.