Tableau Installation and Configuration on Mac and Windows

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31st May, 2022
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09th Aug, 2019
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Tableau Installation and Configuration on Mac and Windows

Tableau is one of the most widely used data visualization tools across the industry.  It is primarily used for business intelligence. In today’s world where organizations have a large amount of data coming from different sources & platforms, it is very important to understand the trends which help businesses to drive strategy and take some important decisions. The data visualization tool plays a key role in that area. In the end-to-end analytics platform Tableau is the most powerful, secure, and flexible platform. Organizations use Tableau to create an impact on the visual views of the data. The basic purpose of this platform is to analyze varieties of structured data & convert it into highly interactive visualizations, dashboards & Stories which the end-user can easily understand and take impulsive decisions useful for the future. It empowers the end-users to get the analysis done quickly, and confidently combine, shape, clean and operationalize their data flow in a creative output which is visually effective.

This article is going to cover step by step guide to install Tableau. Before going into details for installation, it is important to understand the various components of the Tableau software suite. There are six different components of Tableau:

  1. Tableau Server: It serves the purpose of a centralized repository for dashboards and data sources used in any organization. Tableau desktop publishes dashboard and data sources on the Tableau server. Tableau Server is a key component for control and compliance perspective as well. Industry-specific compliance requires to have an on-premises version of the server to have physical control of the content. This is important for auditing purposes. Tableau server also easily integrates with windows active directory which helps in enabling single sign-on for organizations as well.
  2. Tableau Desktop: This is the main component used by developers to create interactive dashboards and workbooks. It can connect to any data source and does the transformation required to meet the business needs of customers. We can add customized filters and also do some additional calculation while creating dashboards in Tableau desktop.
  3. Tableau Public: This helps users to publish their dashboards on Tableau public server hosted and owned by Tableau software. Any organization/individual can create their public profile on Tableau software and leverage that profile to publish local dashboards.
  4. Tableau Reader: This comes as a free offering from Tableau to view and interact with dashboards created by Tableau desktop.
  5. Tableau Online: This is a cloud-based offering from Tableau. Any organization who does not want to have a tableau server hosted on-premises, can go with Tableau online.
  6. Tableau Mobile: This is available as both android and iPhone apps. We can use this app to view dashboards if we have Tableau online subscriptions or user access to organizations Tableau server.

Key FeaturesOther FeaturesOperating SystemLicense
Tableau DesktopCreates dashboards and stories locallyTableau Personal: limited data sources, non-connectivity to Tableau Server.
Tableau Professional: Full enterprise capabilities.
Windows, MacPersonal: $999
Professional: $1999
Tableau PublicA massive, public, non-commercial Tableau ServerAll data published in public-Free
Tableau OnlineCreating Dashboards and stories on the CloudLive connections-$500 per year

Tableau ReaderView dashboards and Sheets locallyCannot modify workbooks or connect to the serverWindows, MacFree
Tableau ServerConnect to Data sources and share DashboardsUsers can directly interact with Dashboards via a browserWindowsCore Licensing

We are going to cover installation for Tableau Server and Tableau desktop in detail here.

Tableau server Installation on Windows

Tableau server can run on a multi-node cluster as well on Virtual machines as well. Here we will be covering installation on a single-node machine.

The minimum hardware requirement for Tableau server(Single node) :

  • Processor speed: 8 core, 2.0 GHz or higher processor
  • 32 bit/64 bit architecture: 64-bit
  • RAM: 32 GB memory
  • Hard Disk: 50 GB disk space should be available

Operating system requirements :

  • The operating system which supports Tableau server installation are as follows: Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows server 2019, CentOS 7, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7, Oracle Linux 7

Installation Path: The Tableau server gets installed in the system drives where windows operating system files also exist. If by default, the system drive is the C drive, then the installation path will be as follows:

  • C:\Program Files\Tableau\Tableau Server\packages
  • C:\ProgramData\Tableau\Tableau Server

Some organizations install tableau server on different location as well. We can provide the location different than the system drive by browsing install location which will automatically add  \Tableau Server to it and will install the files under it.

Let’s now go to installation for version (2018.2) of Tableau Server.

Step 1: Get the product key of the software using the user id and password that you must have received while purchasing Tableau. Then go to the Customer Portal and get the product key.

Step 2: Get the Admin rights for the computer on which we are installing Tableau software. The developer should be a member of the administrator's group in local users and group management.

Step 3: Get the installation files for Tableau server. We can download installation file by visiting Download Tableau Server-Windows

Step 4: Run the installation files with admin rights, the below screen will come up where you can change the installation drive, by default it will be installed in system drive:

Tableau server Installation on Windows

Step 5: Once we click next, the below page will appear where we can choose installation type, in this article we will be covering new Tableau server installation:

Tableau server Installation on Windows

Tableau server Installation on Windows

Step 6: After we click on the install button, the installation process will be kicked off and once the installation is completed clicking next will start Tableau Service manager. It may take some time to start TSM.

Step 7: Once TSM process gets launched by a setup process, the below screen will come up. We need to log in using the same admin credential which we have used for running installing set up

Tableau server Installation on Windows

Step 8: Once we login to TSM, it will ask for a product key to activate the tableau server:

Tableau server Installation on Windows

The product key is used to activate both server and setting license type which can be user-based or core-based. It requires an active internet connection but there is an alternative way to activate tableau offline as well. You can read Activate Tableau Offline

Step 9: The next step is configuring the basic settings on the Tableau server after activation and successful registration of product key. We can set how we want to authenticate users either local or active directory, setting under which account tableau server should run, setting default port and whether we want to include sample workbook or not.

Tableau server Installation on Windows

Step 10: Setting the authentication type is very critical in the entire set up. By default the authentication type is local. The other option is active directory authentication. If we select an active directory option, then we need to enter a domain name in the fully qualified name and in the NetBIOS section we can enter the domain’s nickname:

Tableau server Installation on Windows

Step 11: We can run Tableau server either under NT AUTHORITY\NetworkService or custom service account. We need to provide a domain name with the user name for the custom user account.

Tableau server Installation on Windows

Step 12: Setting default port for Tableau server: By default, it takes port number 80 if there is no other application running on the same port. If the port is not available, we need to find out which other application has claimed port number 80. Usually, IIS runs on the same port. IT infrastructure team can help us in getting a new port if 80 is not available:

Tableau server Installation on Windows

Step 13: Once we click on the initialize button in step 9, Tableau server will start saving all the configuration settings set in previous steps :

Tableau server Installation on Windows

Step 14: Once the initialization gets completed, the below screen will appear and clicking on the continue button will take you to the final step where you need to configure administrator user for running Tableau server:

Tableau server Installation on Windows

Step 15: Tableau server set up at last step launches a browser and opens a page where we need to set administrator user for Tableau server. The administrator does take care of all tasks like managing sites, users administration, groups and project management. Even for changing, any configuration setting can be done only by the administrator. In the case of active directory authentication, the administrator must belong to a user in the same directory. For local authentication, we need to provide a username and password. This account is very critical as it provides a single entry point to Tableau server in case of any issue in server.

Step 16: Once we are done with the setting of administrator users, we can log in to the Tableau server using web interface. We can then start publishing the workbook to the server using Tableau desktop.

Tableau server Installation on Linux/Ubuntu:

With the growing demand for Tableau server running on Linux/Ubuntu, it is now supported on Linux as well. In a recent survey, it has been found that 25% new server installation happened on Linux server. Let us now cover the step by step process for installing Tableau Server on Linux :

Tableau server Installation on Linux/Ubuntu

  • Only the below version of Linux are supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.3 and higher, CentOS 7.3 and higher, Oracle Linux 7.3 and higher, and Amazon Linux 2.Version.The latest versions of Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 LTS only. Non-LTS releases are not supported. The installation tasks will be run as root. We can run this by Sudo command or we can run commands directly as the root user.
  • Log in with the user having Sudo access to the system and navigate to the location where you’ve copied the installation package. Now you will be using the package manager to install Tableau Server. We have different commands for RHEL and Ubuntu:
On RHEL/CentOS we can have below commands
sudo yum update
sudo yum install tableau-server-<version>.x86_64.rpm
On ubuntu we can run below commands
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y install gdebi-core
sudo gdebi -n tableau-server-<version>_amd64.deb
  • Next step is initializing TSM. We need to navigate to script location:
cd /opt/tableau/tableau_server/packages/scripts.<version>
  • If the system is connected to the internet, then we can run the command given below to start TSM: sudo ./initialize-tsm --accepteula and in case of a system connected to the internet through the proxy server, we can run the given below command:

sudo ./initialize-tsm --accepteula --http_proxy=http://proxy.example.lan:80/ --https_proxy= http://1.2.3.4:443/

In the above example, we can replace hostname proxy .example.lan and IP address 1.2.3.4 with our hostname and IP address.

  • Once initialization is completed, we can close the terminal sessions: logout
  • Next step is activating and registering Tableau server. Navigate to web UI interface for TSM Web UI. In case of an authentication error, check if the user belongs to the tsmadmin group or not. It can be easily checked running following command in bash:

grep tsmadmin /etc/group - this will list down all users belonging to the tsmadmin group. We can also add the user to a tsmadmin group by running the below command: sudo usermod -G tsmadmin -a <username>. Once we added the user successfully we can run tsm login command.

  • After successful login to TSM, you can activate the key :

Tableau server Installation on Linux/Ubuntu

  • Once License activated, we can enter basic information and click on the register button as below :

Tableau server Installation on Linux/Ubuntu

  • The next step is configuring basic settings like authentication, port etc.

Tableau server Installation on Linux/Ubuntu

  • If we opt for active directory, then there are two options to connect either using simple bind or GSSAPI bind:

Tableau server Installation on Linux/Ubuntu

Tableau server Installation on Linux/Ubuntu

  • Once initialization is completed, the below screen will come up to confirm it :

Tableau server Installation on Linux/Ubuntu

  • Next step is creating administrator accounts for Tableau server. If we have used an active directory authentication, then we can run the below-given command to create the same :
    tabcmd initialuser --server 'localhost:80' --username '<AD-user-name>'.In case of local authentication we can create a custom user who will be working as admin using below command: tabcmd initialuser --server 'localhost:80' --username 'admin'
  • We can then check firewall settings which is an optional step but it is best to practise for security. There are two ports on which Tableau server run. The first port is a gateway port(80) and the other one is tabadmincontoller port(8850). Please find below commands to open these ports :
  1. Starting firewalld by sudo systemctl start firewalld
  2. Setting default zone as public by running command sudo firewall -cmd --set-default-zone=public
  3. Adding ports for the getaway port and tabadmin controller port by running command
    sudo firwall -cmd --permanent --add-port=80/tcp
    sudo firwall -cmd --permanent --add-port=8850/tcp
  4. Last step would be reloading the firewall and verifying settings
    sudo firwall -cmd --reload
    sudo firwall -cmd --list-all
  • The final step is validating Tableau server installation by installing the PostgreSQL driver which can help in viewing administrative views. First of all, you need to download the driver by navigating to Driver Download page. Once the driver is downloaded, you can install it by below command :

CentOS and RHEL ,we can download the .rmp and run below command :

  • sudo yum install tableau-postgresql-odbc-9.3.1.x86_64.rpm

Ubuntu need .deb file and below command :

  • sudo dpkg -i tableau-postgresql-odbc-9.3.1.x86_64.deb
  • Once the driver is installed, you can validate by visiting Administrative Views in tableau server.

Tableau desktop Installation on Windows

  • The first step is downloading installation files from Tableau Desktop Download
  • Run the .exe file once the installation file is downloaded

Tableau desktop Installation on Windows

  • Once you click the run button, the below screen will appear, you can read the license agreement and confirm the acceptance to proceed further

Tableau desktop Installation on Windows

  • Once the installation is completed. In the next screen, you can choose the trial version or if you have the product key, you can activate the product as well

Tableau desktop Installation on Windows

Tableau desktop Installation on Mac

Tableau desktop Installation on Mac

  • In the downloadable file section, we can select mac version of Tableau desktop

Tableau desktop Installation on Mac

For Mac: Open the Disk image file (.DMG) and double-click the installer package (.PKG) to start the installation.

With this installation, some data sources drivers get automatically installed for seamless integration with different data sources.

  • Once the installation is completed, we can register the product or start using the trial version

Tableau desktop Installation on Mac

Tableau desktop Uninstallation on Windows/Mac

  • The first step is deleting Tableau desktop from the applications folder.
  • The second step is deleting My Tableau Repository from Documents folder. It might be possible that doing the above step may delete user-related files as well. So we may choose another alternative to rename the folder to something else.
  • Then we can delete all files/folders beginning with “com.tableau” from Library folder under Preferences and Saved Application state respectively.
  • To delete hidden folders from mac, we can follow the below steps:
    • CMD-SHIFT-G or we can navigate to Go->Go to Folder.. From finder.
    • It will open the dialogue box in which we can type ~/Library/Preferences

If Tableau desktop being used by multiple users then we can repeat all steps except the first one for all users.

For Windows

  • Navigate to Control Panels-Programs-Uninstall Program
  • In the program list select Tableau Desktop and on right-click select uninstall
  • Navigate to installation path for Tableau desktop C:/Program Files/Tableau and delete the “Tableau<Version>” folder from there to uninstall it.
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Ashish Kumar

Senior Technology Specialist

Ashish is working as a Senior Technology Specialist in leading financial bank has more than 13 years of experience in developing enterprise applications