Tableau Server: Publishing Your Visualizations

Last updated: August 11, 2022

You can quickly and easily share your insights by publishing your visualizations to UW’s Tableau Server, enabling your teammates to securely interact with your work. When people can see and understand the data, they solve problems and discover opportunities. Enable your group to find answers in minutes, not months.

There are 4 steps to publishing on the UW Tableau Server:

  1. Develop your Visualization
  2. Set up Permission Groups
  3. Request a Project Folder
  4. Publish Your Work

1. Develop using Tableau Desktop

Create your dashboard or visualization using Tableau Desktop software. When you are ready to share your work with colleagues, you can publish to the UW Tableau Transitional Server.

To publish to the UW Tableau Server, you must use a version of Tableau Desktop that is compatible with UW’s Tableau Server. The important thing to remember is that your Tableau Desktop version should not exceed the latest version of the server. To find out the latest server version, click here: Latest Server Version

2. Set up Permission Groups

UW Groups are a core development building block at the University of Washington. Before you create groups to manage permissions, it may be helpful to first get acquainted with the UW Groups Service: UW Groups

Tableau developers/project-owners, you will self-manage who has access to your project’s visualizations. There are three roles to consider:

  • Viewer – the least privileged role; allows viewing workbooks and views, adding comments and tags, filtering, and exporting visualizations to pdf, cross-tab, and images.
  • Editor (creator) – includes all the permissions of the Viewer role, and can create views/workbooks/dashboards, download existing views/workbooks from the Server, use Web editor mode to change a workbook, but cannot publish changes to the Server.
  • Publisher – most privileged role; can do everything an Editor can do; can also publish views/workbooks to the Server, modify existing visualizations and re-publish these visualizations to the Server; manage content (move/delete).

To set up your groups, you’ll use the free UW Active Directory (AD) Groups service ( First choose your group names, you can use something like:

  • u_erateam_tableau-viewer
  • u_erateam_tableau-editor
  • u_erateam_tableau-publisher

It’s up to you what you name your groups. We recommend a group name that reflects your team, or your project’s specific name or purpose. To create the groups above, you will first need to have administrator privileges on the root (i.e. u_erateam). If you don’t have an existing root group, you can request help creating one at

Once your groups are created, you can use the UW Groups web interface to add netids to your groups to assign people directly to the publisher, editor, and viewer permission groups.

For more information about how to set up and manage permissions, click here: Managing Permissions on Tableau Project

3. Request a Project Folder on the UW Tableau Transitional Server:

Now that you have your permission groups configured, you’ll need to request a “project folder” on the UW Tableau Transitional Server. Your “project folder” on the server is your very own location to publish the data visualization you built on your desktop. Once you publish your work, you’ll be able to share it with your colleagues. Only the users (netids in the groups you created) will be able to see your work on the server.

The Transitional Server is a sandbox environment meant for quickly publishing and sharing Tableau workbooks with your colleagues on the web.

To request your very own project folder today, visit this web request form on IT Connect: Tableau Project Folder Request Form

4. Publish to the Transitional Server

Okay, you’ve tested your dashboard, set up permissions, and it’s time to share your work with your colleagues on the UW Tableau Transitional Server.

For more on how to publish to the Transitional Server read: Publish to the UW Transitional Server

What Other Server Environments Exist?

The UW Tableau Transitional Server is your sandbox for publishing your work and sharing with your colleagues. In addition to the UW Tableau Transitional Server, we also support two other Tableau Server environments, and it’s important that you know about them:

UW Tableau Production Server:

The Production Server is the server environment that hosts workbooks that are accessible through BI Portal and UW Profiles. Not all workbooks are destined to make it to the Production Server, and that’s by design! If your workbook displays departmental data that users across the institution don’t need to see, then it makes sense to keep your work in your project folder on the Transitional Server.

However, if you think your workbook might have a UW institution-wide audience, then it may be appropriate for the BI Portal or UW Profiles. If you want to schedule a consultation to see if your work belongs on UW Profiles or BI Portal, please write us at

UW Tableau External Server:

UW is a public institution, so in some cases you may want to share your work with a public audience, or even embed your workbook in a public-facing website. Publishing your work on the UW Tableau External Server allows you to do both.

However, we have to manage transparency with the privacy and sensitivity of our UW institutional data. You should never publish UW secure institutional data to Tableau Public (Tableau’s free public hosting site). Instead, please work with us to publish your work on the UW Tableau External Server. To learn more, check out our FAQ: How do I Publish Visualizations to the UW Tableau External Server?


First, check out our Tableau FAQ to see if we already have an answer to your question on IT Connect: Help: Tableau

Please write and put “Tableau publishing” in the subject line