Navigate Tableau Server

Unit 2: Navigate Tableau Server

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Sign in to Tableau Server.
  • Identify the parts of the Tableau Server user interface.
  • Explore content on Tableau Server.
  • Explain the differences between what admins see and other users see.

Sign In to Tableau Server

Before you can do anything else, you need to sign in to your organization’s instance of Tableau Server.

You can sign in to Tableau Server either from a web browser or using Tableau Desktop. 

To sign in from a browser, simply enter your organization’s Tableau Server address URL in the address bar.

web page for Tableau Server

If you’re a member of multiple sites, you’ll be prompted to select one when you sign in. From there, you’ll have access to the full Tableau Server experience on the web.


If you’re authoring in Tableau Desktop, you can sign in to Tableau Server to access published data sources for use in your Desktop visualizations, but you won’t get the full Tableau Server experience from within the web user interface. To do this, open the Server menu at the top and select Sign In. Enter the name or address of your server, and then click Connect.

Tour the Navigation Pane

The first page you see when you sign in is the Home page, which looks like this:

Tableau Server home page

If you have access to more than one site, you can use the site picker in the navigation pane to switch to another site:

Tableau Server site picker dropdown

The Navigation pane on the left also offers quick access to the following pages:

Favorites: All the content you’ve added to your Favorites

Recents: Recently viewed content

Shared with Me: Content that others have shared with you

Recommendations: Personalized suggestions based on relevance

Collections: Content that is organized in a meaningful way for the user (similar to a “playlist” one might use with a media application)

Explore: Where you can explore content (workbooks, views, metrics, data sources, and so on) across the site

External Assets: Databases, files, and tables that are outside the Tableau environment (available with the Data Management Add-on)

Explore Content Across Your Site

Let’s look at the Explore page in more detail.

Explore page on Tableau Server

Here, you can explore by content type (1), search for content across your site (2), access your settings (3), and use filters to hone in on what you’re looking for (4). Remember: Your site role and permissions determine the kind of content you can see and the options that are available.


A Tableau site is a collection of users, groups, and content (views, workbooks, and so forth) that’s walled off from any other groups and content on the same instance of Tableau Server.

Content Types

Let’s dig deeper into the types of content you’ll work with on a site. 

Content Type


Workbooks contain views, access to the data sources used, and any metrics created from those views.


Views are visualizations you can interact with to do data analysis.


Metrics are like “headlines” for your data where you can track KPIs from multiple views. They can be created from nearly any Tableau dashboard, allowing you to track business data just like stocks in an investment portfolio.

Data sources

Data sources consist of the data itself, which may be an extract or a live connection. 


Flows are a sequence of steps used to combine, shape, and clean data for analysis. A flow page is where you can schedule, monitor, and maintain the flow.

Data roles

Data roles are used to quickly validate field values in a data set. A data role page shows the custom data roles published to your site.

Remember that your site role and license determine which options, content, and sites are available to you, and not all users have the same privileges. For instance, let’s compare the experience of a server admin to that of a site admin. In this case, the menus you see depend on what kind of admin you are.

If you’re a site admin, the Navigation pane includes access to additional pages where you can configure users and groups, run schedules, monitor jobs, and assign tasks. This is also where you can monitor the site status.  

Navigation pane showing additional administrator options

If you’re a server admin, you see the same administrator pages, but you can also manage all the sites on the server. This option is accessed from the site picker at the top of the Navigation pane.

Site picker showing “Manage all sites” link at the bottom of dropdown

As you can see, Tableau Server is intuitive to navigate, so you can access up-to-date content and gain quick insights.


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