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Visualize Google Sheets Data in Tableau

The CData ODBC driver for Google Sheets enables you integrate Google Sheets data into Tableau dashboards.

The CData ODBC Driver for Google Sheets enables you to access live Google Sheets data in business intelligence tools like Tableau. In this article, you will integrate Google Sheets data into a dashboard that reflects changes to Google Sheets data in real time.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live Google Sheets data in Tableau due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from Tableau to Google Sheets, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Google Sheets and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can visualize and analyze Google Sheets data using native Tableau data types.

Connect to Google Sheets as an ODBC Data Source

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

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.

When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

Add Google Sheets Data to a Dashboard

  1. Click Connect to Data -> More Servers -> Other Databases (ODBC).
    Select the CData Data Source Name (for example: CData GoogleSheets Source).
  2. In the Database menu, select CData.
  3. In the Table box, enter a table name or click New Custom SQL to enter an SQL query. This article retrieves the Orders table.
  4. Drag the table onto the join area. At this point, you can include multiple tables, leveraging the built-in SQL engine to process complex data requests.
  5. In the Connection menu, select the Live option, so that you skip loading a copy of the data into Tableau and instead work on real-time data. The optimized data processing native to CData ODBC drivers enables unmatched performance in live connectivity.
  6. Click the tab for your worksheet. Columns are listed as Dimensions and Measures, depending on the data type. The CData driver discovers data types automatically, allowing you to leverage the powerful data processing and visualization features of Tableau.
  7. Drop the Shipcountry column in the Dimensions pane onto the dashboard. When you select dimensions, Tableau builds a query to the driver. The results are grouped based on that dimension. In Tableau, the raw query is automatically modified as you select dimensions and measures.
  8. Drag the OrderPrice column in the Measures field onto the Detail and Color buttons. Tableau executes the following query:

    SELECT Shipcountry, SUM(OrderPrice) FROM Orders GROUP BY Shipcountry

    When you select a measure, Tableau executes a command to the driver to calculate a summary function, such as SUM, AVG, etc., on the grouped values. The SQL engine (embedded within the driver) is leveraged to process the aggregation of the data, where needed, providing a seamless experience in Tableau, regardless of the data source.

    To change the summary function, open the OrderPrice menu and select the summary you want in the Measure command.

  9. You can create other charts using dimensions and measures to build SQL queries visually:

With the CData ODBC Driver for Google Sheets, you get live connectivity to your Google Sheets data, allowing you to build real-time charts, graphs, and more.