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Tableau Subscription and Report Scheduling

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Tableau Email Subscription - Table of Contents

Using Subscriptions to Deliver Reports via E-mail

The Subscriptions feature is considered to be one of the most important features in Tableau’s interactive data visualization product.  It is by far the easiest way to ensure that you review the most critical and valuable information on a regular basis. The information is shared via email once you have subscribed to a dashboard.

In Tableau, you can easily subscribe to reports that you need on a recurring basis.  Subscribed dashboards/sheets will be delivered to your inbox in the form of a PNG image linked to jump directly to the interactive version of the dashboard.

Busy managers sometimes like to have their reports delivered. Tableau supports this through subscriptions. The user will be notified via e-mail when the report is updated. These schedules are defined by a server administrator, allowing administrators to ensure that any additional server load is balanced appropriately. Subscription e-mails also contain links to their live and interactive counterparts located on the serve.

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Subscribe to a Report

To Subscribe to a Report a user follows these steps:

  • Log into the tableau server.
  • Open the view or dashboard to which you wish to subscribe, or subscribe to an entire workbook by opening a single view or dashboard belonging to that workbook.
  • Click the subscribe icon on the top right corner of the dashboard. This is represented by the small e-mail icon on the left side of the download link.
  • This causes the subscribe dialog box to appear.

Select or enter the following values:

  • To – verify the e-mail address associated with your account.
  • Subject – enter the desired subject for the subscription e-mail.
  • Schedule – select the schedule you’d like your snapshots to send on. These schedules are created and maintained by tableau server administrators.
  • Content – choose whether to subscribe to the current sheet only or all sheets in the workbook.
  • Click on subscribe to finish.

[ Related Page: How to build your first advanced dashboard in tableau? ]

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For TABLEAU Server users to receive subscriptions, the following things need to be in place:

  • Email settings configuration: As the system administrator, you can configure the basic SMTP server settings for subscriptions on the Alerts and Subscriptions tab in the Configuration dialog box, which is available during Setup. This is the “from account” Tableau Server uses to email subscriptions to service users.
  • Credentials embedded or not required: From Tableau Server’s perspective, a subscription includes a workbook, data, and a schedule. To deliver the data piece, the Tableau Server needs to be able to access the data with no end-user involvement. This can be accomplished by using either a workbook with embedded database credentials, a Tableau Server data source, or by using data that doesn’t require credentials, such as a file that’s included with the workbook at publishing time. Workbooks that prompt for credentials for live database connections can’t be subscribed to.
  • User requirements: If a user can see a view or workbook on Tableau Server and it has the subscription icon () in the upper right corner, he or she can SUBSCRIBE TO IT. The ability to see a view or workbook is controlled by the View permission. A user must also have an email address. If Tableau Server doesn’t already have an email address for a subscribing user, it prompts for one at subscription sign-up time. Users can change their delivery options, unsubscribe, or update their email address on their USER PREFERENCES PAGE.
  • Trusted authentication: If you are using a restricted ticket (the default) to render an embedded view, subscriptions are disabled.

[ Check out Sharing Connections, Data Models, And Data Extracts in Tableau ]

How To Configure and Subscribe to Tableau Views & Workbooks?

Step 1: Configure the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server in Tableau from the Configuration Alerts and Subscriptions Section. Restart the server once the configuration is done.
The following screenshot shows a configuration for Gmail.

 Tableau Views & Workbooks 

Step 2: Log in to the Tableau Server and Create a New Schedule (Admin > Schedules >New).

Create a New Schedule

Step 3: Open the workbook you wish to subscribe to. Click on the subscribe icon (email icon just beside the download link on the top left of the screen).

Select the desired schedule from the drop-down menu.

The content will give you two options:

  1. Current sheet
  2. Entire workbook.                                   
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Select the one you need to view on a regular basis.  You can view the option from the image below:

subscribe window

Administrators Subscription Management

Allowing subscriptions on the tableau server requires a few additional steps to be performed by an administrator. You can change these in the tableau server configuration to enable subscriptions using the following steps:

  • Log into the tableau server machine, stop the server, and open the tableau configuration utility.
  • Click the e-mail alerts/subscriptions tab.
  • Check the enable email subscriptions.
  • In the SMTP server section, ensure that an SMTP server and port is specified. Enter a username and password if required by your SMTP server.
  • Enter a sent e-mail from an address. This e-mail will send out all subscription e-mails.
  • Enter your tableau server URL 
  • Click ok to finish.
  • Start the server.

[ Check out Managing Tableau Server in the Cloud ]

Creating Subscription Schedules

Administrators have to enable the subscription notification system on the tableau server in order for the feature to be available to users. To create subscription notification schedules, the administrator should follow these steps:

  • Log into the tableau server using a system admin account.
  • From the Admin tab, click schedules=>new.
  • Then ‘create new schedule’ page appears.

Define the desired schedule, ensuring the scheduled scope is a set of subscriptions, and click on the create schedule button to finish the definition.

The Schedules page shows a list of schedules, including their name, type, what they’re for (scope), a number of tasks, behaviour (concurrent or serial processing), and when they are scheduled to run.

1. To create a new schedule, click New Schedule:

create a new schedule

2. To modify an existing schedule, select it, then click Edit:

To modify an existing schedule

3. Specify a descriptive Name for the schedule (for example, Every Saturday Morning, End of the Month).

4. Choose a Task Type the schedule will handle—either refreshing extracts or delivering subscriptions.

Task Type

[ Also Check out Tableau Charts and Graph Types ]

5. Optionally define a Default Priority from 0 to 100. This is the priority that will be assigned to the tasks by default. If two tasks are pending in the queue, the one with the higher priority runs first. See MANAGE REFRESH TASKS to learn more about modifying a task’s priority.

6. Choose whether the jobs in the schedule will run at the same time (Parallel, the default) or one after the other (Serially).

7. Finish defining or editing the schedule. You can define an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly schedule.

editing the schedule

8. Click Save

Your users will now have the option to subscribe to workbooks and views using the schedule(s) you’ve defined. Like all the scheduled tasks you have the option to initiate them manually by using the run now option on the schedule page.

In the last two posts, you’ve learned how to install a tableau server and were introduced to the features available to tableau server users.

The next post is geared towards administrators who are charged with the responsibility of keeping information up-to-date and maintaining the environment. You will learn how tableau’s command-line tools (tabadmin and tabcmd) can help you automate repetitive administrative tasks.


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Last updated: 03 August 2023
About Author
Remy Sharp

As a Senior Writer for Mindmajix, Saikumar has a great understanding of today’s data-driven environment, which includes key aspects such as Business Intelligence and data management. He manages the task of creating great content in the areas of Programming, Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Oracle BI, Cognos, and Alteryx. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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