The best Tableau extensions you need to know
- In 2017, Tableau launched its Tableau Extensions API and, since then, the market has been growing;
- Tableau extensions can be divided into two groups: network-enabled extensions and Sandboxed extensions;
- Discover the best Tableau extensions you need to know (including Write-Back).
In October 2017, Tableau launched the initial release of their Tableau Extensions API. This was Tableau’s first step toward providing support for dashboard extensions. A lot has been improved since then, and today there is an incredible range of extensions available in the Tableau gallery.
Extensions let you add unique features to dashboards or integrate them directly into applications outside Tableau. This is a complete game-changer for the implementation of certain use cases that could not be fulfilled out of the box up to now.
Tableau extensions are web applications that can be hosted in your network, outside on a third-party server, or in a secure sandboxed environment hosted by Tableau. Officially Tableau has its extensions divided into two groups, Network-enabled extensions and Sandboxed extensions.
1. Network-enabled extensions
Network-enabled extensions are extensions located on web servers and can be inside or outside local networks, having access to the web. These extensions offer brand new capabilities to Tableau dashboards since network-enabled extensions can connect to other apps and services. However, you should evaluate them carefully before adopting or deploying them since network-enabled extensions connect to outside resources.
2. Sandboxed extensions
Sandboxed extensions are hosted by Tableau and run in protected environments, meaning they don’t have access to other services or resources on the web. So with sandboxed extensions, you ensure the most security and eliminate the risk of data extrusion or loss. Besides these security measures, sandboxed extensions’ environment is even secured by a third-party consultant that delivers extensive penetration testing.
However, some extensions do not fit directly into any of these categories and having said this I will now reveal, in my opinion, the best Tableau extensions you need to know about. Check our list:
Developed by: The Information Lab
You know that customer who sees the best dashboard ever done in Tableau and the first question they ask is “Can I export this data to Excel?” This extension is for those customers. So, the answer is: “Yes, dear customer, it’s possible, it’s easy and it’s super-clean.”
With the Export All extension, you can place a simple button on your dashboard, select the sheets and columns that you want to export and with a simple click, download a clean, organised Excel file.
One very important aspect of this extension is the use of local processing ability to process data from the dashboard and generate the Excel file. This means that your data never leaves your machine, which guarantees its safety and complete control. Check the website.
Type: Network-enabled & Sandboxed
Developed by: Apps for Tableau
Can you imagine working in Tableau and having Excel features to handle your tables? Yes, it’s possible with the SuperTables extension.
The main objective of SuperTables is to give Tableau users maximum flexibility in managing tables. Among several options, this extension adds to Tableau’s capabilities the Inline Filter, Grouping, Column Order, Hiding Columns, Pivoting, Aggregate Rows and many more features. In its enterprise version, there is also the ability to customise the appearance of SuperTables by editing the extension’s CSS.
SuperTables is a great extension for increasing the adoption of Tableau as a BI tool for your organisation, as it makes the typical transition from Excel to an analytics tool easier.
ARRIA – Intelligent Narratives for BI
Developed by: Arria NLG
Sometimes graphic visualizations to show data are not enough for end-users to understand what is happening. This is for a variety of reasons, whether due to the complexity of the analysis, the inexperience of the users or the convenience. We must not overlook the issue. Not understanding the analysis can interfere with the adoption of the analysis tool.
However, there are many ways to mitigate this risk, and one of these is to use this Tableau extension. ARRIA lets you add a natural language explanation of your data displayed in the dashboard! Configure ARRIA to interpret your data and add analysis to your dashboard in one click. This feature is called ARRIA Apps.
In addition to the explanations allowed by ARRIA Apps, this extension also offers us, through the ARRIA Answers feature, the ability to directly, using natural language, query the data and receive dynamic, AI-driven responses. This feature adds the flexibility to interpret the data, explain and synthesise the information, and highlight relevant facts.
Developed by: Xpand IT
Last but not the least, Write-Back for Tableau!
Tableau is an amazing tool for analysing and exploring data, but have you ever come across a use case where you need your users to input data directly into a dashboard? There are many examples, such as forecasting, planning, adding comments and indeed any other actionable process.
This extension allows you to easily implement these use cases and is agile and easy to set up while at the same time ensuring multiple corporate features.
Another important aspect is how easy it is to set up and configure with Write-Back Manager, which quickly lets you do a production configuration or simply run a trial. Besides this, Write-Back is constantly releasing updates and bringing new features to their product, and there is reliable documentation and great support available, meaning you will always have someone at hand to help. But this is not all that makes this extension amazing in terms of the features and capabilities it adds to Tableau. Let’s take a look at what makes Write-Back special in terms of categorisation.
Write-Back is one example of an application that does not fit directly into either of the two previous categories. This is because Write-Back runs in your local environment, so Internet access is not required, but it does require access to another resource, namely the database that is used to store datasets.
For you, this means:
- You have total control over what Write-Back can access, as you can apply your own network policies. Write-Back does not require Internet access so your data is always safe.
- You can still configure Write-Back to leverage your own database.
In conclusion, Write-Back is not just an extension, it’s a mindset change and the gateway to an infinite possibility of use cases.