Tableau Public is great for sharing your work. Many call it the YouTube of visualisations. Only I ran into a point: I could not show 'live' data. Until I found out that you can show live data in Tableau Public with Google Sheets. In this blog, you can read how and I will give you some examples.

Sometimes you want to update your dashboards on Tableau Public with fresh data. Think about sports scores, stock prices or other progress. In fact, for all non-recurring dashboards, you want the data to be refreshed from time to time. Unfortunately, most data sources require an extract (copy) before publishing to Tableau Public. That means you have to republish the entire dashboard when you have new data. The only data source where this does not apply is Google Sheets.

Tableau Public and Google Sheets can retrieve fresh data without republishing your dashboard. By publishing your Google Credentials to Tableau Public, your dashboard will be refreshed once a day. Additionally, as the owner of the dashboard, you can request fresh data in Tableau Public. Here's how:

Connect Tableau Desktop with Google Sheets

Logical first step. Connect to Google Sheets in Tableau Desktop. Click on "Connect to data". Under the heading 'To a Server' is Google Sheets. Click on it. You will be redirected to a Google login page. Give Tableau permission to view your files in Google (in consultation with your organisation and at your own risk). Then choose the Google Sheet with your data.


Create your dashboard and publish to Tableau Public

First, create your most beautiful dashboard with the data from Google Sheets. Then create an Extract of your data. After this you are ready to publish your dashboard to Tableau Public. In the top menu choose 'Server' > 'Tableau Public' > ' Save to Tableau Public as...'. A new popup will appear. In the pop-up, select the option 'Keep my data in sync with the data source and embed my credentials'. Make sure this is selected. This way, Tableau can retrieve new data from Google. That's it! Now you have live data in Tableau Public using Google Sheets.


Refresh your data

Tableau Public now retrieves new data from your Google Sheet once a day. The data is not completely live, but it is a lot better than republishing your entire dashboard. In Tableau Public, you can see at the bottom of the page when the data was last updated.


In addition, if you are the owner of the dashboard, you can request new data. By logging in, a new button appears: 'Request data refresh'. By pressing this button, Tableau Public will retrieve new data. Often it takes a few minutes and you have to refresh the page to see the result.


There are, of course, plenty of great examples. For example, I recently created a dashboard that shows the score in the Eredivisie every week. In addition to the score, the dashboard also shows the match of the week and the top scorers. Because the dashboard is linked to Google Sheets, the latest results are always shown.

I have also created a dashboard to show the score in my own football league. This is linked to a Google Sheet. The Google Sheet is in turn linked to a Google Form. Each week after the match, I fill in who was present and who scored. This gives us a great overview of the past seasons.

How do you use Live data in Tableau Public with Google Sheets? Let me know, I am very curious. Want to get better at Tableau? Take a look at our Tableau training sessions. And finally, my colleagues and Iwould love to help you with Tableau.