When the sliver of thought — that we have seen all that Tableau can do — crosses our mind, just pay witness to a meteor shower of new features lighting the horizon up! Tableau is officially upgraded to 2021.3.

Tableau 2021.2 was a remarkable update in itself: it included ‘ask and explain data’ for viewers, allowing connected desktops, Collections, and many more valuable options and features.

So, what does the latest upgrade feature? In one go, the following list encapsulates the whole gamut of supplements:

  1. Improvements to Data Prep Experience
    1. Linked tasks
    2. Generate rows
  2. Improvements to Tableau Catalog
    1. Data quality warnings in subscription emails
    2. Inherited descriptions in web authoring
  3. Slack Integration
  4. Additional Features
    1. Customise the set of workbooks on the homepage
    2. Rename published data sources directly in Tableau Online or Server

Improvements to Data Prep Experience

Tableau Prep, an indispensable backstage prior to staging your real and original data show, has found a high-power addition. With Linked Tasks in Tableau Prep Conductor, one can now bring enhanced harmony to his data preparation. Creators with Data Management or DM can now schedule flows to run one after the other on Tableau Online or Server. This feature has a wide range of applications; for instance, if the sales data for a designated time is yet to show up on the system and fails at source for some reason and there are multiple flows connected to that data source, stale data issues will unnecessarily pop up in all the workflows. With linked tasks, this issue can easily be prevented from manifesting.

Linked Tasks on, it’s now simple to automate the orchestration of multiple flow jobs, ensuring they happen in sequence after each task completes successfully.

Essentially, if your data didn’t update and there are two workflows linked to the same datasets at different time intervals, they both run, consuming time and resources; the scenario can be avoided, and the other linked task can be stopped from running; thanks to the new feature.

A multitude of benefits come power-packed as the feature unfurls:

  • Authors of a flow can get alerted automatically provided any of the jobs fail and can set up an appropriate warning on the data for consumers well in advance.
  • Any flow can be scheduled by customers, or they can extract refresh to run when new data arrives, saving them time and resources.

Please see Image 1 to have a better understanding.

(Image 1: Linked Tasks on Tableau Prep)

Besides, Tableau Prep Conductor can generate a set of rows that are otherwise missing based on dates, date times, or integers. This is of huge importance as it allows users to fill gaps in data quite easily to ultimately ensure that processes downstream have all the requisite datasets to work on and create highly accurate and precise visualisations.

Please see Image 2 for a quick understanding of the feature:

(Image 2: Generate rows on Tableau Prep)

Improvements to Tableau Catalog

Next in the line comes improvements to Tableau Catalog. Two features need special mentioning:

  1. Data quality warnings in subscription emails, and
  2. Inherited descriptions in web authoring

Data quality warnings are of paramount importance.

Accurate warnings, when they are around, lends confidence to the customers that the right, trusted data is being utilised to arrive at sound business decisions. Formerly, this was restricted to Tableau Online or Server, but now it is delivered straight into your inbox bundled with the subscriptions to the dashboards you care for. The power of data visualization with visibility into the quality of the data feed add top-notch credibility and renders confidence to the customer who spends a good portion of the day paying attention to emails.

In the 2021.3 version, Data Quality Warnings are available in Web Authoring. This will soon be available in Tableau Desktop as well.

Slack Integration

Yes, Tableau notifications can now be directly accessed on Slack! Admins and Users will control what notification types can be dispatched on Slack. Notifications include:

  • Shared content
  • Data-driven alerts
  • @mention

This is just the commencement of the Tableau + Slack integration.

Other Stellar Features

Up until the upgrade, the same three sample workbooks have occupied the Desktop Homepage of Tableau. They may give a good starting point for new users to get acquainted with Tableau. But the datasets were always generic and did not get updated. Now with the customizable set of workbooks on the home page, this has undergone a radical change. (See image no.3)

(Image no.3)

Add to this the ability to rename published data sources directly in Tableau Online or Server on the data source page; the upgrade is a real treat to data rockstars. (See image no. 4)

Practitioners point out that The REST API can also be used when changing a large number of workbooks to minimise efforts.

(Image no.4)

No need to generate a newly published data source to change the name. No need to manually change all workbooks on the Desktop to use that newly published data source, which was highly frustrating!

So, welcome to Tableau 2021.3. Let us uncomplicate and perpetually so!

Co-Author : Rakesh Neelakandan