Establish a Live Connection with SAS xpt Data using Tableau Bridge

Ready to get started?

Download for a free trial:

Download Now

Learn more:

SASxpt ODBC Driver

The SASxpt ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live data from SAS xpt (XPORT) file data, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access SAS xpt (XPORT) files like you would a database - read, write, and update through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



The CData ODBC Driver for SAS xpt enables you to integrate live SAS xpt data into Tableau Online dashboards using the Tableau Bridge.

The Tableau Bridge enables you to publish dashboards to Tableau Online while maintaining live connectivity with any data source. In this article, you will use the Tableau Bridge to maintain data freshness in a published workbook by listening for changes in the underlying SAS xpt data.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live SAS xpt data in Tableau Online due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from Tableau Online to SAS xpt, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to SAS xpt 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 SAS xpt data using native Tableau data types.

Connect to SAS xpt 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.

Connecting to Local SASXpt Files

You can connect to local SASXpt file by setting the URI to a folder containing SASXpt files.

Connecting to S3 data source

You can connect to Amazon S3 source to read SASXpt files. Set the following properties to connect:

  • URI: Set this to the folder within your bucket that you would like to connect to.
  • AWSAccessKey: Set this to your AWS account access key.
  • AWSSecretKey: Set this to your AWS account secret key.
  • TemporaryLocalFolder: Set this to the path, or URI, to the folder that is used to temporarily download SASXpt file(s).

Connecting to Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2

You can connect to ADLS Gen2 to read SASXpt files. Set the following properties to connect:

  • URI: Set this to the name of the file system and the name of the folder which contacts your SASXpt files.
  • AzureAccount: Set this to the name of the Azure Data Lake storage account.
  • AzureAccessKey: Set this to our Azure DataLakeStore Gen 2 storage account access key.
  • TemporaryLocalFolder: Set this to the path, or URI, to the folder that is used to temporarily download SASXpt file(s).

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 SAS xpt Data to a Dashboard

  1. From a new workbook, click Data -> New Data Source -> Other Databases (ODBC).
    Select the CData Data Source Name (for example: CData SASXpt 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 SampleTable_1 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. Click the tab for your worksheet. Columns are listed as Dimensions and Measures, which you can drag and drop onto the dashboard to create visualizations.

Set Up Tableau Bridge as a Service

  1. In the Server menu, select Start Tableau Bridge Client.
  2. Sign in to the Tableau Bridge using a site admin level account.
  3. If prompted, select the Tableau Online site where you want to publish live data. The bridge client will open and is accessible from the system tray.
  4. By default, the Tableau Bridge client is set to Application mode. Select 'Switch to service' to enable Tableau Bridge to handle live connections.
  5. Log in to your Tableau Online site as an administrator.
  6. From your site, click Settings, then Bridge.
  7. In the Bridge settings, under Enable Clients to Maintain Live Connections, check the box labeled 'Enable Tableau Bridge clients to maintain live connections to on-premises data.'

Publish a Dashboard Containing the Live Data Source

Having configured both the Tableau Bridge and Tableau Online to enable live data connections, you can now publish your workbook to Tableau Online. From the Server menu, select Publish Workbook.

After choosing the workbook name and project that you wish to publish to, configure the deployment so that the CData ODBC driver for SAS xpt is embedded in your workbook as a separate, live data source.

  1. Under Data Sources, select the option to Edit the embedded data sources in the workbook.
  2. Change Publish Type to 'Published separately,' then select a desired means of authentication.
  3. Last, select 'Maintain connection to a live data source' and click the green Publish Workbook button.

The published workbook now updates alongside the underlying SAS xpt data. From a published dashboard, simply click the Refresh button to reflect the most recent changes.