- 06 Jul 2022
- 5 Minutes to read
Airtable Sync integration: Tableau Online
- Updated on 06 Jul 2022
- 5 Minutes to read
Airtable sync integrations allow you to bring information from external tools into a table in Airtable which can be shared with users and synced to other bases. Tableau builds tools to measure, parse, and share data and visually compelling analytics. Follow along below to learn the ins and outs of syncing data from a Tableau Online worksheet to Airtable.
If you haven’t set up a sync before, we recommend first reading the Sync - Basic setup article to become familiarized with how Airtable Sync works.
This sync integration is built for Tableau Online users. Data held in Tableau Server is out of scope for this feature. If functionality with Tableau Server would be beneficial to your organization, then you can provide that feedback/request here.
Add a new synced table
From a new or existing base, find the “+ Add or import” button next to the table furthest to the right. If you have 4 or more tables in your base, then this button will simply appear as a “+” plus sign. Next, click the “More…” option. Then, you’ll see a list of other available syncs to choose from. Finally, click the “Tableau Online” option.
Select a Tableau account
After clicking to add the Tableau sync you’ll be prompted to select or connect a Tableau Online Account. If this is the first time you are setting up a sync with Tableau, then you’ll need to connect a new account.
This will bring up a new window where you will enter your Tableau credentials. This includes the Host Name, Site Name, Personal Access Token Name, and Personal Access Token Secret. Links are provided throughout the setup window for further instruction. Additionally, we recommend that you create a new Personal Access Token just for this Airtable connection.
Jump down to the section below for more information on Security and Authentication.
Select Workbook and Worksheet
After connecting your Tableau account you’ll see a drop-down asking you to select a Workbook.
From the Workbook selected, you’ll then select a Worksheet to sync to Airtable. If you end up remembering a certain Worksheet is in another Workbook, then you can open up the Workbook drop-down and select another one.
Click the “Next” button to move onto field configuration.
Depending upon the size of the worksheet, it may take some time for the next step to appear in Airtable. At the moment, Airtable can sync over a maximum of 10,000 records from a worksheet per sync.
Next up, you’ll need to configure the fields that will be synced over to Airtable. This involves choosing a primary field, customizing which fields will be shown, as well as picking field types for each column (field).
We do our best to identify good field types for each field coming from Tableau, however, sometimes you’ll want to adjust things so they make sense in your Airtable base. For this example, we first want to change the “Order ID” field to be a single line text field. This serves two purposes. First, it is likely a better field type for this row of data. Second, it allows us to set this as the primary field.
Now, we want to set this Order ID field to be the primary field in Airtable since it uniquely identifies each row (record) of data. Upon clicking the drop-down next to the Order ID field name we’ll click the “Use as primary field” option.
Next, you need to choose a field that uniquely identifies each record. This may sound redundant since you just set the primary field in Airtable, but it isn’t. Setting the primary field in Airtable allows you to uniquely identify it in Airtable, whereas choosing it here helps us to accurately perform the sync when comparing the current state of your sync in Airtable to the information being held in Tableau. Since the “Order ID” field is a good identifier, we will use that field in this step.
Note that there may be times when a certain field is not a good unique identifier. In these cases we will warn you that some non-unique records will be lost unless another field can be used.
Configure sync settings
Before creating your synced table, there are “Settings” options that allow you choose how often you want to sync, and how to handle records deleted or hidden in the Tableau source:
- The frequency of syncing. Right now, the options are manual syncing and automatic syncing which happens about every hour.
- Whether or not deleted records in the Worksheet in Tableau should be removed from the Airtable table. By default, deleted rows will be removed.
Create synced table
Once you’ve selected your desired sync settings, click the “Create table” button. Depending on how large the data set being synced in from Tableau is, it may take a few moments for the synced table to be created.
Security and Authentication
This sync integration utilizes Tableau’s PAT (Personal Access Tokens) functionality in order to connect the two services together. The link above provides a more detailed breakdown of how Tableau has designed their PATs to work and is the best document to refer to for authentication and security questions.
NOTEAirtable uses HTTPS to ensure secure and encrypted transfer of information.
What limitations exist for this sync?
We will only sync with the first 10,000 records from your Tableau Worksheet. If your Worksheet has more than 10,000 rows, you can use a filter to bring it under 10,000 rows then duplicate the Worksheet and adjust the filter to exclude the rows from Worksheet 1 and include the remaining rows in the duplicated Worksheet 2. You'll need to set up a multi-source sync or a separate synced table in Airtable for each additional Worksheet.
- Example: Assume you have a Tableau worksheet containing office supply orders over the course of 2 years and the total record count is 18,000. If you wanted to bring all 18,000 records into Airtable you could filter the Worksheet using the date field to just include records for the first year, dropping the total record count below the 10,000 record limit. You could then duplicate the worksheet and change the date filter to just include records from the second year. You now have two worksheets that represent all the data you want, both of which are under 10,000 records and can individually be synced into the same Airtable destination table using multi-source sync.