Approaching the end of our first week in the data school, we have been introduced to many new concepts in Tableau, one of them being tableau file storage, a topic on which I had no prior grasp upon. By writing this blog, I hope to enlighten the reader on this topic, and also further consolidate my own understanding.

Let’s get into it.

Tableau Extract (.hyper)
Tableau Data Extract Filetype

Figure 1. Tableau Data Extract Icon

First, we have the Tableau Extract file type, which contain the .hyper file extension. Extract files contain a local copy of a subset or entire data set of something you may be working on. This allows you to share data with suitable colleagues and even allow you to work offline. However, any changes you make to the data storage or any visualisations you have created will not be saved onto this file.

Tableau Data Storage (.TDS)
Tableau Data Storage File Type

Figure 2. Tableau Data Storage Icon

Next, we have the Tableau Data Storage file type, which contain the .TDS file extension. These files do not contain the actual data, but rather they contain the necessary information to allow you to connect to that data. It stores any relationships you may have created, as well as the changes you may have made to the default properties.

Tableau Extract Data Storage (.TDSX)
Tableau Data Storage Extract File Type

Figure 3. Tableau Extract Data Storage Icon

The Tableau Extract Data Storage file type uses the .TDSX file extension. This allows us to combine the properties of the previous two file types into a single zip file. Here we can store both an extract of the data and the data storage. The biggest use case for this file type would be when you would like to share both the data and how you connected to that data with suitable colleagues. Keep in mind that this file will be larger than the previous two.

Tableau Workbook (.TWB)
Tableau Workbook File Type

Figure 4. Tableau Workbook Icon

Now, the Tableau Workbook file type, containing the .TWB file extension, can allow us to connect to the original data, as well as the visualisations that have been created inside the workbook, including sheets, dashboards, and stories. This file type does not store an extract of the original dataset. Thus, it would be suitable to share with colleagues that already have access to the same dataset.

Tableau Bookmark (.TBM)
Tableau Bookmark File Type

Figure 5. Tableau Bookmark Icon

If you desire just to keep just one of the visualisations, you can use the Tableau Bookmark (.TBM) file type. This allows you to quickly share your creations with colleagues. However, it lacks all of the other properties of other file types.

Tableau Extract Workbook (.TWBX)
Tableau Workbook Extract File Type

Figure 6. Tableau Extract Workbook Icon

Finally, if you desire to keep everything, use the Tableau Extract Workbook file type (.TWBX file extension). This is a single zip file that stores extracts of the dataset, how you connected to that data, and anything you may have created from that dataset. This would be best suitable for sharing with others who do not have access to the original dataset. However, it would be the largest file type of all those aforementioned.

Ultimately, your decision on which file type to use is dependent on your situation, as they each have their own unique use cases.

If you’d like more information, check out this blog by Robin Kennedy from the information lab: https://www.theinformationlab.co.uk/community/blog/tableau-file-types-and-extensions/