Tableau supports different types of files, and each has its unique file extensions. In Tableau, you can save your work in about eight different types of file extensions and folders. Tableau looks like a reasonably simple program. But a lot is going on under the hood. One of the ways that you can use Tableau to its full extent is to take advantage of different file types.
Tableau File Types
- Tableau Workbook(.twb)
- Tableau Packaged Workbook(.twbx)
- Tableau Data Source(.tds)
- Tableau Packaged Data Source(.tdsx)
- Tableau Data Extract(.tde)
- Tableau Bookmark(.tbm)
- Tableau Map Source(.tms)
- Tableau Preference(.tps)
In this tutorial, I am assuming that you are using Tableau Desktop. If you don’t know how to install, check out Tableau Desktop install on mac guide.
This is the most basic saving file extension used in the Tableau workbook, which has the .twb extension—the .twb file type stores visualization without source data. So you have a separate file such as an Excel file, and then you connect to it.
You must have both the Excel file, source data, and Tableau files to connect. So either on the same computer or the same network.
The twb file type has the extension .twb and is set as default for the users. For example, a workbook in Tableau is a file that has sheets, dashboards, etc.
So, this particular Tableau file type contains information about worksheets and dashboards present within the workbook.
The .twb files also contain the metadata related to the existing data connection. However, a .twb file does not have actual data concerning the workbook.
See the following screenshot.
In this image, we are saving the workbook in .twb format.
Tableau Packaged Workbook (.twbx)
Tableau Packaged Workbook file type(.twbx) has both information about the constituents of a workbook and the data extracted from the data source. In addition, the twbx file stores extracted data and visualizations for viewing in Tableau or Tableau Reader.
You can use the .twbx file type in place of the .twb (Tableau Workbook) file when you wish to share the workbook with the user who does not have access to the live data connection.
Thus, in our case, you need to have the file that contains data extracted from the source along with a piece of information about the workbook.
See the following screenshot.
From the image, you can see that we are trying to save the file in .twbx format.
Tableau Data Source(.tds)
The .tds file stores server address, password, and other information required to access a Data Source. The Tableau Data Source files contain all the required information regarding the data connection made in Tableau.
Tableau Data Source files contain all the necessary information on setting up the data connection and metadata of other particular modifications made by the users.
The TDS files needed to establish the connection with the data source but not the actual data. Thus, such files can share information between users having access to the same data source.
Tableau Packaged Data Source (.tdsx)
Tableau Packaged Data Source file is the file that contains information of the data source connection along with data extracted from that source.
The Tableau Packaged Data Source file extension has the extension as .tdsx. The Tableau Packaged Data Source files are used to share the data and other relevant information about the data source with a user who does not have access to the data source and its data.
We can create a .tdsx file. Let’s make one. Go to the Data tab on the toolbar. Then choose the data source you wish to connect to and select the Add To Saved Data Source option. After this, save the file as a Tableau Packaged Data Source file.
Tableau Data Extract (.tde)
Tableau Data Extract stores tableau data as a filtered and aggregated Extract. Tableau Data Extract files have an extension .tde. These Tableau file types only contain the local copy of the entire or a subset of data from its source.
If you have a large data set and you need to filter it to a subset, perform other operations on it, and then save the file to the .tde extension.
Tableau Data Extract files are essential and useful as they are highly compressed and optimized to improve Tableau’s performance (especially when using a slow data connection).
One major drawback of such .tde file types is that the data cannot be refreshed automatically when it refreshes at the source.
To create the Tableau Data Extract (.tde) file, go to the Tableau desktop and navigate to the Data tab present on the top left of the Tableau toolbar. Next, select the data source and click on the Extract Data option.
After this process, you can select fields from a data source that you wish to extract or click on the Extract to create the data extract file (.tde) of an entire data set present at the data source.
Tableau Bookmark (.tbm)
Table Bookmark file types are most commonly used to save the worksheets and share them with others in their workbooks without creating the new worksheet from scratch.
Tableau Bookmark file has an extension of .tbm.
To create a .tbm file, go to the Tableau Desktop and then navigate to the Window option present on the toolbar. From there, you can select Bookmark and then click on Create Bookmark. This will create a .tbm file of the active worksheet.
In the above screenshot, you can see that we are saving the Tableau bookmark file.
Tableau Map Source (.tms)
Tableau Map Source file contains information about maps and their items for use in Tableau.
The extension of such files is .tms.
In Tableau, you have an option to add map details from the WMS server of your choice or a custom map from Mapbox. Once you create the map file (.tms) of your preference, Tableau will fetch map details from that file instead of a default one and load map images and information accordingly. You can also share these .tms users in your group for others to use.
To create the Tableau Map Source file, go to the Tableau desktop and then navigate to the Map from the toolbar. Then go to Background Maps and select WMS Server from Map Services> Add. After adding the map server of your choice, you can export it to your local system by selecting the Export option from the WMS Server connections window. To use this Map in the future, add the .tms file into the Tableau Repository in the Map sources directory.
Tableau Preference (.tps)
Tableau Preference file contains all the information related to the customized color palette. It is like a user setting file in the Visual Studio Code.
The extension of such files is .tps and exists in XML format. These Tableau Preference files are present in My Tableau Repository.
There are so many tableau file extensions, and each has its purpose. We have discussed all the types in this tutorial. Finally, Tableau’s file extensions introduction is over.