Connecting to data in Tableau

Find out how to connect to any data source in Tableau

One of your first steps before you can do anything in Tableau is to connect to some data. Tableau makes this really easy and enables you to quickly connect to almost any data source.

In this quick beginners tutorials we show you how easy it is to connect to data in Tableau and then go into details of how to connect to specific data sources and to prepare your data in later tutorials.

The video below shows how to connect to data in Tableau:

And here are the step by step instructions:

  1. When you open a new Tableau Workbook you’re taken to the Tableau start page.
  2. On the left hand side is a blue menu with all the data sources you can connect to, simply select your data source (or expand the menu to see more) and then follow through the steps to connect to the data you want to use.
  3. If you’ve closed the start page and haven’t yet connected to a data source there will be a link in the data pane to ‘Connect to a data source’ clicking this will open the same data source menu as you see in the front page.
  4. You can also open this menu in the following ways:
  5. Go to Data in the top menu and click New Data Source
  6. Press CTRL + d (or equivalent on a Mac)
  7. Click the New Data Source button on the toolbar
  8. Each of the options in the previous step are also available if you’ve already connected to one data source and want to connect to an additional one.
  9. Once you select your data source Tableau will take you step by step through connecting to it, if you selected a file this will usually be a case of navigating to and selecting your file however if you’ve selected to connect to a database or system you’re likely to at least enter the connection details and your username/password. We cover this in more detail in the separate tutorials for each data source.

What next?

Check out the following tutorials and courses on connecting to data in Tableau: