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Learn about support for Tableau at UC San Diego.

Tableau Desktop is a client application for Windows and Mac that emphasizes data discovery and interactive data visualization. It can be used to analyze, visualize, and share data insights. It enables users to transform complex data sets into interactive and easily understandable visualizations, such as charts, graphs, and dashboards. By offering a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface, Tableau empowers users with minimal technical expertise to explore data and derive meaningful insights, fostering data-driven decision-making within organizations.

Interactive workbooks designed in Tableau desktop can be shared with others on Tableau Server. UC San Diego enterprise licensing for Tableau server has been purchased through a partnership between Academic Affairs and Information Technology Services (ITS). As a result, there is no direct charge to use this service.

UCSD supports Tableau in three different areas.

  • Tableau for Campus Business developers connects users to the Activity Hubs.
  • CTRI Tableau connects to medical data and is HIPPA compliant, contact for details.
  • Health Tableau connects to EPIC data, for details submit a data request ticket to the Health System Service Desk.

Getting Started / Requesting Access

Tableau access is driven by your data needs and development role.

Report consumers can request access to existing reports via their local report developer or via

Report developers can get started by:

  • Requesting a Tableau Desktop license, see the licensing section below.
  • Requesting access to an Activity Hub via Data Access, if applicable.
  • Publishing a workbook to their team folder on Tableau Server. 
    • If your team does not have a team folder, email with your folder name and Active directory security groups to request your team folder be created.  See Data Access > New Folders for more information.


You do not need a license to view and/or interact with pre-created Tableau solutions.

Departments must purchase a developer license for each user who will be creating, editing and publishing reports. You do not need a license to view and/or interact with pre-created Tableau solutions.

The cost for a Tableau developer license is:

  • $504 per year, prorated to June 30.
  • We co-term the subscription agreements and the full annual rate will be renewed every June.


Contact to request a quote.


Tableau Desktop

In the Tableau client is where you will develop solutions and connect to data. This environment can only connect to sources provisioned via Tableau Server to which you have access to in either the QA or Production Environments.

Tableau Production Environment

This is the destination for production ready workbooks that are targeted towards a UCSD audience. Consumers will access workbooks developed for them through this environment.

ITS-BIA recommends sharing links to Tableau Production reports via portals like the Business Analytics Hub for ease of use.

Tableau Prep 

ITS-BIA does not support Tableau Prep as this tool does not allow data corrections to be made at the location that has the most impact to all developers, in the data source.   

Tableau Public

Tableau Public is owned and operated by Tableau.  Workbooks posted to Tableau public are accessible to users internationally and domestically. 

Best Practices

Projects aka Folders

Team folders should be organized by audience and report development state.  Folders are secured by one or more Active Directory groups.  End users should access the workbooks via links to the workbook as navigating the Tableau portal is cumbersome. 

Any Tableau development that you do not want to share should be saved to your local machine and not published to the Tableau server. 


  • Tableau PROD 
    • BFS–DEV (reports are in the development state, audience is only ITS-BIA team) 
    • BFS-Audience (reports are in testing or completed, audience is BFS team and Audience team)
      • Report A
      • Report B
      • BFS-Audience-QA (Subfolder with reports that are in testing, BFS and Audience team can access) 
        • Report C (report being tested)
    • BFS-IPPS 
      • IPPS Data Winners 
      • IPPS Executive Dashboard
      • BFS-IPPS-QA Folder
        • IPPS Monthly Summary

ITS-BIA recommends sharing links to reports via portals like the Business Analytics Hub for ease of use.

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Upgrade Process

Tableau releases multiple upgrades each year that allow users to access new features and tools provided by Tableau. UC San Diego upgrades our environments at least once a year.

All upgrades for Tableau Server occur in place. At a high level, the strategy for all upgrades is: 

  1. ITS-BIA will review the upgrade in our sandbox prior to planning an upgrade of Tableau Prod. 
  2. Those with Tableau desktop can now upgrade during this time. 
    1. You will need your product key and this installation guide: 
    2. You will need the most recent version of Tableau: 
  3. Allow one week for developer review of the upgrade in the Tableau Sandbox 
    1. At the end of the week a GO/No GO determination will be made. 
    2. GO – the upgrade is applied to the Tableau PROD environment over the weekend. 
    3. NO GO – the upgrade stops in the Tableau Sandbox, the next version of Tableau is tested by ITS-BIA. 

Report developer participation is key to upgrading Tableau without impacting end users. 



Q: How do I become a Tableau report developer?

A: First, request a Tableau desktop license. See Tableau > Licensing for more pricing and next steps.

Second, if you will using Tableau for Activity Hub data, you must request access to the specific Activity Hub first. Once approved you will be able to connect your Tableau desktop tool to the UCSD Tableau Server.

Third, in order to publish to the Tableau Server you will need to request a folder for your Active Directory (AD) group by emailing See Data Access > New Folder for best practices.


Q: How do I secure my Tableau workbooks?

A: All objects in Tableau are secured via Active Directory (AD) groups at the folder level. Email to request add or remove an AD group from your team folder.


Q: How do I publish to or

A: BIA must create you a folder to save your workbooks into. See Data Access > New Folders for folder naming and security.


Q: Who can access to folder?

A: On only internal UCSD staff can potentially have access.  We can grant access to all UCSD or a specific Active Directory (AD) group provided by the report developer.

A: On everyone in the world can view the workbook.


Q: Who can publish to the folder?

A: An Active Directory (AD) group provided by the report developer will be provisioned access to publish to the folder. 


Q: What's an Active Directory (AD) group?

A: Active Directory is a tool that allows the creation of groups of usernames, these groups can be used for a varity of uses, including security.  Active Directory groups are created by your local IT support.  BIA does not have access to create or maintain AD groups.

ITS-BIA recomments the following naming convention for new AD groups that will be used for BI Tools:

    TeamName-Project-BI-Developer for the group of developers who will be building reports

    TeamName-Project-BI-Consumer for the group of users who will be viewing or using the reports


Q: How do I publish a data source to Tableau?

A: Tableau data sources have no visualizations, they are only the data connection and folders for the fields (optional).  Tableau desktop will recognize the lack of visualizations as display the option to publish as data source.

A: Excel, csv files and data extracts can be published as soon as a folder is created in either environment.  Data extracts can be schedule to refresh on a regular basis.

A: Live data connections can be published to once the firewalls are lowered between the data source and  Per our security best practices, live connections are not allowed in


Q: Should I include my direct data source connections inside my workbooks or publish them separately?

A: BIA recommends publishing data source connections as their own workbooks, aka Tableau data source.  Workbooks should be pointed at the data source that has been published to Tableau Server. 


Q: Does Tableau allow for notes to be typed up and saved directly onto the report?

A: Tableau does not have any write-back abilities. 


Q: Can sub-folders be placed with a main folder?

A: If the sub-folders have the same security, yes.  If you need different security on each folder then no, Tableau requires a flat security structure.