December 15, 2021

How to Publish to Tableau Online with Alteryx

By Aidan Bramel

One of the most frequent questions we get from Alteryx users is: “How do I publish to Tableau Server or Online?” 

Users want to be able to make use of all of their hard work in Alteryx directly in Tableau Server for their workbook connection and any ad-hoc exploration.

The good news is: there is a specific Publish to Tableau Server Alteryx tool to do that, and it works very well! However, if you are attempting to use Alteryx to publish to Tableau Online, rather than an on-prem Tableau Server, there may be some extra steps.

Note: Before we move forward, some of you may be thinking “There is a Publish to Tableau Server tool?” – no problem. If you don’t see the tool under the Connectors tool palette, you are probably using an older version of Alteryx Designer. No big deal, you can still download the tool as a macro from the public gallery. This is the exact same tool, and this solution will work for both this macro and the one that comes native to newer versions.

What is Tableau Online vs. Tableau Server?

Tableau Server is the online sharing and collaboration platform for Tableau workbooks and prep flows. This is hosted on premise, within your company’s local network, and maintained by an internal team. 

Tableau Online, on the other hand, is hosted and maintained by Tableau. You can immediately tell whether your company is using Tableau Online or Tableau Server by selecting the “?” in the top right corner of your screen. If you see “Tableau Online Help” instead of Tableau Server, you’ll know you’re using Online.

A screenshot of a search bar from Tableau online

Why is Publishing to Tableau Online Different?

As mentioned above, Tableau Online is not hosted in your company’s infrastructure, so you will not sign into it the same way you may be used to with your internal systems. Tableau’s two key methods are Tableau authentication and Google authentication.

If your organization is using Google authentication with Tableau Online, you will encounter the following error when attempting to publish:

Error 401001: Signin Error — Error signing in to Tableau Server Tableau Server.UploadChunks (238) Iteration #1: Error Trasferring data: URL using base/illegal format or missing URL

A screenshot of a computer screen with the message that says, "error 401001"

The remainder of this blog will specifically focus on resolving this error for Tableau Online users. If you are a Tableau Server user and receiving this error, check your permissions to the target location and ensure you are on VPN.

How to Use the Macro

Using the Publish to Tableau Server macro is pretty simple. You will enter your username and password, and the URL for your server company’s server. In the configuration shown below, we are connecting to Tableau Online.

If you’re set up with Tableau authentication, you should see a screen prompting you to select a project and fill out some additional details on the data source after clicking “Connect”. 

However, you may receive the error mentioned at the beginning of this blog post. This is because you’re using Google authentication. Let’s talk about how to fix that.

Resolving the Error

Unfortunately, there is currently no documented, supported way to authenticate with the macro or tool using Google authentication. However, this is not the only option to authenticate with Tableau Online. We have found that changing the authentication for the account being used to publish via Alteryx to Tableau authentication will resolve the issue.

An administrator can set up a user’s authentication in one of two ways:

Adding a User to the Site

When adding new users to a Tableau Online site, you will see the following screen. Enter the email address of the user publishing, and make sure the “Add users for Tableau Authentication” button is checked. 

To publish a data source, the user will also need a site role that is capable of publishing, such as Explorer (can publish) or any higher role like a site administrator.

A screenshot that says, "Add Users"

Editing a User's Authentication Method

If the user already exists on your Tableau Online site, an admin can edit their means of authentication on the same User admin page to which they were added. Simply click the “…” under Actions for the user you would like to edit, and select “Authentication”.

You will see a new pop-up where you can change the radio button from Google to Tableau authentication. In the screenshot below, we are changing our own user account’s authentication. It should be noted that changing the authentication method will sign you out. 

Either way, by adding or changing a user, the user will receive an email to set up their Tableau online password. After doing this, you will be able to successfully connect with the Publish to Tableau Server tool. 

After connecting, you’ll see a screen that looks like the below where you can choose the place to publish to, how you’d like to publish (create a data source, append, or overwrite), and give your data source a name.

After filling this out – boom! You’ll be publishing out to Tableau Online each time you run the workflow.

Hopefully this blog helped shed some light on how to publish to Tableau Online from Alteryx Designer.

If you have any lingering questions or are still having issues, feel free to reach out to our team! We’re more than happy to help!

Data Coach is our premium analytics training program with one-on-one coaching from renowned experts.

Accelerate and automate your data projects with the phData Toolkit