Chapter 3. An Introduction to Connecting to Data

Once you have chosen the best Tableau product for you, it is time to start finding insights in your data! Much like Tableau’s suite of products, data connections come in many shapes and sizes. As of this writing, Tableau Desktop: Personal has seven different types of data connections, and Tableau Desktop: Professional adds another 63 native ways to connect to data. That doesn’t even count the ability to access web data through customized connectors or Open Database Connectivity (ODBC).

As you can imagine from the breadth of connection options, you can connect to almost any type of data in Tableau and if you don’t see the connection you are looking for, somebody is likely working on a customized solution that will help. I could write an entire book on the different data connections alone, but they all work similarly and are fairly intuitive. So for the purposes of this chapter, I will show you how to get started with one connection type and a few of the ways you can prepare to work with the data.

An Introduction to Connecting to Data in Tableau

When you open Tableau, you will see a screen that looks like this, where you have the option to choose your data connection:

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The options under the navigation heading “To a File” can be accessed with Tableau Desktop: Personal. All possible data connections, including to data that resides ...

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