Build Excel Services Visualizations in Tableau Online

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CData Connect



Use CData Connect Cloud to create a virtual SQL Server Database for Excel Services 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 Services data for visualizations, dashboards, and more. This article shows how to create a virtual database for Excel Services and build visualizations from Excel Services data in Tableau Online.

CData Connect Cloud provides a pure SQL Server, cloud-to-cloud interface for Excel Services, allowing you to easily build visualizations from live Excel Services 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 Services, leveraging server-side processing to quickly return Excel Services data.

Create a Virtual SQL Server Database for Excel Services 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 Services" from Available Data Sources.
  3. Enter the necessary authentication properties to connect to Excel Services.

    The URL, User, and Password properties, under the Authentication section, must be set to valid credentials for SharePoint Online, SharePoint 2010, or SharePoint 2013. Additionally, the Library property must be set to a valid SharePoint Document Library and the File property must be set to a valid .xlsx file in the indicated Library.

  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 Services Data in Tableau Online

The steps below outline creating a new data source in Tableau Online based on the virtual Excel Services 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 Services Data from Cloud Applications

At this point, you have a direct, cloud-to-cloud connection to live Excel Services 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.