Converting Tableau Files: A New Conversion Tool

Note: Starting with Tableau 10.5 there is an "Export as Version" option in the File menu that will save your workbook back to 10.2. This works very well, except for Hyper extracts. If trying to convert 10.5 or later with a Hyper extract, you will need to delete the extract and then "Export as Version" and then replace the data source.

I have been converting Tableau files from one version to another version quite frequently. From students at the University of Cincinnati, people at the office and working on the Big Book of Dashboards with various people from around the world, I've had to convert all sorts of Tableau files. I find that more often than not, it's just a single version of Tableau. For example, someone is on 9.2 when the current release is 9.3, but sometimes it's a few releases off.

When opening a newer file in Tableau there is a warning message.

This can often be resolved by hacking the TWB file, which is an XML file. There are two places where the version is set, the workbook source and the database source. This isn't foolproof as the structure of the XML can change from version to version as new features are implemented. However, I've had pretty good success with this, especially if converting from releases that are close to each other.

I decided to create a web-based conversion tool. This tool opens a TWB file in memory and loads the contents in a window, converts the version of Tableau and then saves a new TWB file. Click here or the image below to try it.

First, select your TWB file, for example a Tableau TWB in version 9.3. The TWB file will show in the text window. Next, select the version of Tableau that you wish to convert it to from the Dropdown box. The TWB file will be modified. Finally, click the save button to save the new TWB file. The new TWB file will be downloaded into your download folder appended with the name "[your file name] Tableau v9.x]". So just open a file, select your version and then save. Super simple and it even works on a mobile device taking a TWB file from Dropbox. When you open, you might have to repoint to the data source depending on what it is.

TWBX files are zip files. They contain a TWB file along with the data files and images. This requires one additional step once you have the TWB saved. First, select the TWBX you want to convert. The zip file will unpack in a list on the screen. Find the TWB file in that list and click on it. Then select the Tableau version that you want to convert to. Then click "Save as a TWB" and it will download in your download folder.

Once you have the new TWB file downloaded, open the TWBX file with a zip file utility, for example 7-Zip. Delete the TWB file that is in the zip file and add the new TWB file that you just downloaded. You should now be able to open the TWBX file in an older version of Tableau.

Note - I have added functionality for Tableau 10 (currently through 10.2 beta). I have tested various conversions, different connection types and multiple connections. This may change with future releases as new functionality in the XML or other changes may affect the conversion.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any questions feel free to email me at Jeff@DataPlusScience.com

Jeffrey A. Shaffer
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