Publish Google Sheets-Connected Dashboards in Tableau Server

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Google Sheets JDBC Driver

Easily connect Java applications with real-time data from spreadsheets stored in Google Docs. Use Google Sheets to manage the data that powers your applications.



Use the CData JDBC Driver for Google Sheets and Tableau Server to visualize live Google Sheets data.

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

The CData JDBC Driver enables high-speed access to live Google Sheets data in Tableau Server. Once you install the driver, you simply authenticate with Google Sheets and you can immediately start building responsive, dynamic visualizations and dashboards. By surfacing Google Sheets data using native Tableau data types and handling complex filters, aggregations, & other operations automatically, CData JDBC Driver grants seamless access to Google Sheets data.

Enable Connectivity to Google Sheets in Tableau Server

Start by installing the CData JDBC Driver on the machine hosting Tableau Server.

If your server is a Linux Machine:

  1. Copy cdata.jdbc.googlesheets.jar and cdata.tableau.googlesheets.lic.
  2. Place the copies in the Tableau Server Connectors folder (/opt/tableau/tableau_driver/jdbc).
  3. Restart Tableau Server.

If your server is a Windows Machine:

  1. Copy cdata.jdbc.googlesheets.jar and cdata.tableau.googlesheets.lic.
  2. Place the copy in the Tableau Server drivers directory (C:\ Program Files\Tableau\Drivers).
  3. Restart Tableau Server.

Next, install the CData JDBC Driver on the machine running Tableau Desktop. Before starting Tableau on Windows, make sure that you have placed the .jar file in the C:\Program Files\Tableau\Drivers folder. Before starting Tableau on macOS, make sure that you have placed the .jar file in the ~/Library/Tableau/Drivers folder.

Connect to Google Sheets in Tableau Desktop

Once the driver is installed on the Server machine, we can configure a connection to Google Sheets in Tableau Desktop and publish a Google Sheets-based Data Source to Tableau Server.

  1. Open Tableau Desktop.
  2. Click More under Connect -> To a Server.
  3. Select "Other Databases (JDBC)".
  4. Configure the connection to the data. The driver comes with a connection string builder that streamlines creating and managing the content of connection strings. Note that you will need to manually add "jdbc:googlesheets" to the beginning of the connection string.
  5. Click "Sign In".

You can connect to a spreadsheet by providing authentication to Google and then setting the Spreadsheet connection property to the name or feed link of the spreadsheet. If you want to view a list of information about the spreadsheets in your Google Drive, execute a query to the Spreadsheets view after you authenticate.

ClientLogin (username/password authentication) has been officially deprecated since April 20, 2012 and is now no longer available. Instead, use the OAuth 2.0 authentication standard. To access Google APIs on behalf on individual users, you can use the embedded credentials or you can register your own OAuth app.

OAuth also enables you to use a service account to connect on behalf of users in a Google Apps domain. To authenticate with a service account, you will need to register an application to obtain the OAuth JWT values.

See the Getting Started chapter in the help documentation to connect to Google Sheets from different types of accounts: Google accounts, Google Apps accounts, and accounts using two-step verification.

Discover Schemas and Query Data

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

  1. Select CData from the Database pull-down menu.
  2. Select GoogleSheets 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.

This creates a new entry under the server's data source list, from which you an change the data source's permissions, view its history, and perform other management tasks.

Note that workstation connected to the same server will be able to use the same source in Tableau Desktop, even if the driver isn't installed there. Also, workbooks created directly on Tableau Server (via the web interface) can use this source.

Visualize Google Sheets Data in Tableau Server

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

  1. Login to your Tableau Server instance.
  2. Connect to the remote source using the Search for Data -> Tableau Server in the Connect sidebar.
  3. Click the published Data Source.
  4. Click New Workbook.
  5. In the workbook, Google Sheets fields are listed as Dimensions and Measures, depending on the data type. The CData JDBC Driver 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 JDBC Driver for Google Sheets with Tableau Server, you can easily create robust visualizations and reports on Google Sheets data. Download a free, 30-day trial and get started today.