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What is Tableau?

Tableau Desktop is application software used to connect to data sources, to develop workbooks, to create visualizations, and to build dashboards.

There are several forms of Tableau: Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server, Tableau Reader, and Tableau Public.

Tableau Server is a repository on the web where one can publish (upload), store, and share workbooks, data sources, and dashboards.

Tableau Reader is a free tool available for viewing and interacting with Tableau workbooks. No MIT license is required.

Tableau Public is the Tableau Community’s public server where a gallery of visualizations, blogs, and eLearning videos, can accessed and downloaded for free.

How do I use Tableau Desktop Software?

To use the desktop application,

  1. Download the software: Go to the Tableau Desktop page.  Here you will find a link and instructions for downloading the desktop software.
  2. Request and Activate your Tableau Desktop license:

The license key is available free of charge to MIT faculty and staff, however there are a limited number of licenses. No licenses are available for affiliates.

How do I use Tableau Server?

To use the Tableau Server go to and authenticate via Touchstone.

You will see a Tableau page with many Projects. These are areas that have been set up for groups to publish and share their Tableau worksheets, visualizations, etc. To obtain space on the server for a project, contact a member of the warehouse team.

To publish a worksheet to the server you will need to use the Tableau Desktop application. From the menu bar in Tableau Desktop, select Server and then Publish Workbook... See: Accessing or Publishing a Workbook to Tableau Server.

For information on Server permissions, see: Tableau Server Permissions and: Managing Project Permissions on Tableau Server.

Troubleshooting, FAQ's, and tips

Connecting to Data Sources and Authentication

Tableau Resources

Tableau resources include * Tableau articles in the MIT Knowledge Base, elearning videos and documentation, training materials, user forums and blogs from Follow the link to a page of Tableau Resources.

Getting Help

  • Email requests for help to
  • Help is also available in the form of regular drop-in/practice sessions:
    The sessions are all pretty informal and you can drop-in and leave whenever. If you have ideas on something particular you'd like to discuss or would like help with, feel free to email in advance.
Session Location Day/Time Notes
Tableau User Group NE49-3098 - Little Cayman Wednesday 11am-12pm bring your own laptop, or ip address to remote desktop
Data Warehouse User Group NE49-3098 - Little Cayman Thursday 1:30pm-3pm bring your own laptop, or ip address to remote desktop
Additional escalation information for Help Staff can be found here: [hd:Tableau Recon].

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

August 31, 2018

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