How to Replace a Data Source in Tableau

Published: March 18, 2024 - 5 min read

Julian Alvarado

Knowing how to effectively update or replace a data source in Tableau can save you precious time and ensure your visualizations stay current.

Whether you’re updating a dataset with additional rows of data or switching to a completely new database, follow these steps to ensure a seamless transition without losing your work.

Tableau Replace Data Source: Getting Started

Before jumping into Tableau, consider the journey your data takes to get there.

Frequently, teams rely on updated spreadsheets or databases. Coefficient effortlessly ensures your source spreadsheets in Excel or Google Sheets remain live and updated, seamlessly integrating with your broader data ecosystem, including the data you have in Tableau.

Other considerations for a pain-free data source replacement include:

  • Ensuring Data Compatibility: Ensure the structure, types, and formats of your new data align with your Tableau workbook’s current setup and dashboards.
  • Updating Calculations and Relationships: Adapt calculations, parameters, filters, and relationships to suit the updated data source. This might involve refining formula references or redefining dynamic relationships.
  • Automating Updates: Use a tool that routinely refreshes your data, so everything stays current without extra effort. Coefficient does this well, making sure your data is always ready for action in Tableau or spreadsheets.
 Illustration of a tool like Coefficient routinely refreshing data to keep it current for Tableau or spreadsheet use.

Klaviyo, for example, embraced Coefficient and revolutionized their reporting process. By leveraging Coefficient’s power directly within their spreadsheets, they eliminated the hurdles of ad-hoc data requests and manual reporting that requires a build in their BI system, Tableau.

This transition to automated analytics, integrated seamlessly into their Excel or Google Sheets workflows, led to substantial time and effort savings for the team.

Now, let’s walk through how you can replace a data source in Tableau.

Step-by-Step Guide: Replacing a Data Source in Tableau

Step 1: Accessing Your Tableau Workbook 

Open your Tableau Workbook and confirm your data source. In this example, we’re using a basic graph connected to a data source titled “vgsales.”

Process of opening a Tableau Workbook to confirm a data source connection, illustrated with 'vgsales' as an example.

Step 2: Adding a New Data Source 

Navigate to the top menu and click ‘Data’ > ‘New Data Source.’ 

Steps to navigate the top menu in Tableau and click 'Data' > 'New Data Source' for updating data connected.

Given the frequent need to update your data sources, wouldn’t it be efficient if your spreadsheet data could automatically refresh itself?

Coefficient automates this process, directly importing live data from your business systems into your spreadsheet, reducing the need for manual updates.

Upon selection, navigate to where your updated data source file is saved.

Note: Automating data refreshes from within your spreadsheets can simplify this step, allowing you to focus on analysis rather than data management.

Select the file type and navigate to where your updated data source file is saved.

Process of selecting an updated data source file, such as 'vgsalesUpdated', for analysis in Tableau.

In our example, our file is “vgsalesUpdated.”

Action of right-clicking on the old data source and choosing 'Replace Data Source' to update data in Tableau.

Pro-tip: Imagine if your source data automatically received updates directly from your CRM, Marketing, or Sales platform. Coefficient makes this a reality, offering a no-code solution that bridges your business systems with your spreadsheet tools, ensuring data in Tableau is always up-to-date.

Step 3: Replacing the Old Data Source (Timestamp: 1:35)

Right-click on the old data source and select “Replace Data Source”.

Selecting a newly added data source as the replacement through a dialog box in Tableau.

Step 5: Selecting the Replacement Data Source (Timestamp: 1:44 to 2:06)

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Choose your newly added data source as the replacement in the dialog box that appears.

Confirmation of successful data source replacement in Tableau indicated by a green checkmark.

Note: Tableau will alert you if there are any formatting issues between your old and new dataset. When updating your data source in Tableau, ensuring that column names and data types match is crucial to avoid errors.

Coefficient streamlines this process by automatically updating your spreadsheets, keeping column names and formats consistent. This eliminates the risk of errors when replacing a data source.

Step 4: Verifying the Replacement 

Click the ‘Ok’ button.


If the replacement was successful, your new data source will have a green checkmark.


Tableau Replace Data Source: Common Challenges and Solutions

Missing Fields: Occasionally, the new data source might lack fields that were present in the original, leading to errors or incomplete visualizations.

Solution: Before replacing your data source, conduct a field audit between the old and new sources. Use Tableau Prep to create calculated fields that mimic missing data or restructure the new data source to align with the original.

Data Type Discrepancies: Differences in data types between the original and new data sources can lead to incorrect data interpretation or visualizations.

Solution: Ensure consistency in data types during the preparation phase. Tableau’s Data Interpreter can help identify and suggest data type corrections. For manual adjustments, use the “Change Data Type” option in Tableau Desktop to align data types before replacement.


Mastering the task of replacing data sources in Tableau ensures that you always operate with the most current and accurate datasets.

Coefficient automatically updates your spreadsheets with the latest data from your business systems. And, provides seamless workflows between Tableau and your spreadsheets. This reduces the need for frequent data source changes in Tableau and ensures your dashboards are always up to date with the latest information.

Try Coefficient for free today and enhance your Tableau experience with real-time data refreshes and automatic data import features.

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Tired of spending endless hours manually pushing and pulling data into Google Sheets? Say goodbye to repetitive tasks and hello to efficiency with Coefficient, the leading spreadsheet automation tool trusted by over 350,000 professionals worldwide.

Sync data from your CRM, database, ads platforms, and more into Google Sheets in just a few clicks. Set it on a refresh schedule. And, use AI to write formulas and SQL, or build charts and pivots.

Julian Alvarado Content Marketing
Julian is a dynamic B2B marketer with 8+ years of experience creating full-funnel marketing journeys, leveraging an analytical background in biological sciences to examine customer needs.
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