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Finding a missing Tableau data source


So you have a lot of Tableau workbooks (TWB), and they are built from various data sources. Every now and then a data source gets renamed, deleted or misplaced, and you get errors: "worksheet unavailable", "extract not found", "missing data source", etc. Murphy's law!

How can you find a missing Tableau data source? Well, if it was just one or two workbooks that you'd created, you would probably be able to locate the source file using Tableau’s help wizard. Or you could even recreate the workbook. But what do you do if you created the file last year and you can't recall anything about it? Or if you have a massive number of TWB workbooks that are missing the source file?

The broken Tableau workbook itself contains the key to solving the problem. TWB is an XML document. If you open it in Notepad you will find the name of the data sources that were needed for the workbook’s creation, listed between the <datasource> and </datasource> tags. You will find the name of the file (<datasource caption>), columns that the file contains (<column> or <metadata-record class='column'>), and even column values (<semantic-values> or <remote-name>).

Now you need to figure out the location of the file that contains the information listed in the TWB file. Tableau workbooks that were created from files include file type (example: .tde, .csv, .xlsx). Other connections, such as Google Analytics, list the API request used to produce the data source, including account id, account name and user name. You can use this information to find the file source or recreate the API request.

Now you are well equipped to find the correct source files for your broken Tableau workbook.

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