Working With Tableau Bridge

Authors: Nishu Singh & Nishanth Mannem


Tableau Bridge is a Windows-based tool that is deployed on the same network as on-premises data. Tableau Bridge connects to the Tableau online site behind the firewall to get data, do scheduled extract refreshes, and run live queries on cloud-based data.

Tableau Bridge is a powerful tool that lets you connect to your published data sources by querying local data and securely transmitting it to Tableau Online. This keeps information up to date. 

Tableau Online can’t access data directly due to data being held in a private network behind a protected firewall. On-premises and virtual cloud data are both stored on a private network. Tableau Bridge is used to keep data updated in Tableau Online by connecting it to Tableau Online. 

Image Source: Tableau

Tableau Bridge is available to any Tableau Online authorized user, but it is particularly useful for site managers and data source owners inside an organization because it can be used to manage clients, publish and manage data sources, and support live and extract connections.

Installing Tableau bridge

Tableau Bridge connects to data maintained on-premises for new updates and modifications, which can be achieved via life or extract connections. The bridge is used to provide scheduled refreshes for data sources. 

It is free software that can be downloaded from the Tableau website’s Product Downloads and Release Notes page. Once downloaded we need to run the installer and complete the installation procedure. 

Steps to Connect to Tableau Bridge

To connect to data sources, you’ll need to start Bridge, as the client is necessary for Tableau Online and Tableau Bridge connectivity. 

  1. Select Server on the main menu.
  2. Click on Start Tableau Bridge Client.
  1. Log in to Tableau Online using Tableau Bridge.

After giving Tableau Online credentials, a pop-up appears on the window screen showing Tableau Online client name and Tableau Bridge connection status. There is no data source linked to Tableau Bridge yet to refresh using the bridge client. 

There are two types of application and client-mode services, and both work in different ways. The mode to utilize is governed by the Windows user account it runs under, your Tableau Online site settings, and your overall data update requirements.

Application mode runs as a Windows application, and when a dedicated user logs on to Windows, it allows for scheduled updates of live queries and data sources, but the service mode that runs as a Windows service is always running as a Windows service: The user account must be a member of the local Administrators group. It will be updated but will be interrupted when the user logs off. 

Data source intro 

We are using the dataset that shows the Covid vaccination statistics for different countries. The data is gathered from OWID (Our World in Data) GitHub repository, which is updated daily.

Steps to Publish a Bridge Data Source

From the Tableau Desktop menu, under Server, the user has the option of publishing their data source and selecting the data source to publish. 

In the pop-up that appears, users can choose a project, enter the name, description, and tags. There is also an option to set up custom permissions specifically for the data source.

  • Project: Give name to the project that is to be published on Tableau Online.
  • Name: The name of the data source.
  • Add Description and Tags if necessary.
  • If necessary, configure custom permissions for the data source.
  • When Edit is selected, Authentication can be used to select Embedded password or Server Run As account, depending on the data source selected.

Click ‘Publish’, the data source will be published to Tableau Online.

Once the data source is published to Tableau Online, a published complete message appears in the account as shown below. 

Click on the Explore button in Tableau Online and open the default folder to access the published data source in the Tableau Online account. 

Steps to Set up Bridge Refresh Schedule

The majority of the time, setting up a schedule is done when publishing data and it may be done from the same dialogue box. In the Publishing Complete dialog box, Clicking on the Schedule Extract Refresh button will let us schedule an exact refresh but we can do it through the dashboard interface as mentioned below. 

  1. Click on three dots that appear on our published data source. 
  2. Click on Schedule with Bridge (Legacy)
  1. In the Create Extract dialog box that appears, set a schedule for refresh by filling out the options.
  1. Select a computer on your network where a Bridge client is installed and you’re signed in to: Select the computer on which Tableau Bridge is installed and is signed in using Tableau Online credentials. 
  2.  Configure the refresh schedule: This allows scheduling the extract refresh of published data sources. 
    1. Refresh Frequency: This option gives flexibility to set refresh frequency on Hourly, Daily, Weekly, and Monthly basis.  
    2. At: Give time for the refresh. .            
    3. On: Select on which day of the week refresh can occur.

For illustration purposes, we have scheduled it to refresh every day of the week at 4:00 PM.

  1.   Click the Create button on the dialog box.

Open the Bridge client on the installed computer to embed your database credentials in this data source’s connection.

The refresh created can be accessed in the Extract Refreshes section of the data source folder on the Tableau Online account.


Tableau Bridge is the perfect way to integrate your local data with Tableau Online.

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