It is a free application that can be downloaded from Tableau's website. This application is used to view and interact with workbooks that have been saved as .twbx (packaged workbook). A packaged workbook saves the workbook and a snapshot (static view) of the data and puts it into one file. One thing to mention about using Tableau Reader is that there is essentially no security; anyone who receives the workbook can use Tableau Reader to open it.
Tableau reader retains the ability to interact with visualizations created in Tableau desktop, but will not allow connections to data which can be refreshed. Hence it is useful for reporting data when a snapshot of the data can be created – such as the end of month reporting to your clients for example.
To create packaged files which can be distributed to users of Tableau Reader, you simply use ‘Save As’ from Tableau Desktop – and select ‘Packaged Workbook’:
It is only possible to save files as packaged workbooks if the data source chosen is suitable. This means one of the following:
Tableau data extract
You cannot use multidimensional sources (analysis services for example).
I’ll post another time on using extracts – but that’s the way to make packaged workbooks when you are using data sources such as SQL server.
Using Tableau Reader does require each user to download software. Compared to other Tableau distribution tools (Tableau Server, Tableau Online or Tableau Public), the user can access the views through a simple web browser. This may sound like a nit, but it can sometimes be a total buzz kill.
Some organizations tightly lock down their machines to prevent unneeded software from being installed, which means adding Tableau Reader becomes an IT ticket in a queue. Then there are periodic updates to ensure you’ve got the latest version to match with that latest version and yadda yadda yadda.
Tableau Reader allows you to read the Tableau file types. If you want to share your workbook by sending a file, the receiver will need a Tableau reader to open the document. Without the reader, you may need to share it publicly or convert the workbook into a PDF format.
The Tableau Reader allows you to read the Tableau file types. If you want to share your workbook by sending a file, the receiver will need a Tableau reader to open the document. Learn more from Tableau online training