By Ramanathan Somasundaram,
Director – Data Analytics Services & Solutions Engineering.

Migrating from Tableau On-Premises to Tableau Cloud can significantly enhance your organization’s data analytics capabilities. While automated tools and solutions can streamline the migration process, there are scenarios where a manual approach is necessary or preferred. This deep dive into the manual method for Tableau Cloud migration provides a comprehensive guide to ensure a successful transition.


The manual migration method involves a series of steps to transfer data, workbooks, dashboards, and configurations from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud. This approach requires meticulous planning and execution but offers a high degree of control and customization. It is particularly beneficial for organizations with unique needs that cannot be fully addressed by automated tools.

Benefits of Manual Tableau Migration

The manual method for Tableau Cloud migration allows for tailored migration processes to meet specific organizational needs, offering unparalleled customization and flexibility. It enables organizations to make on-the-fly adjustments during the migration process and is cost-effective as it eliminates the need for expensive migration tools or licenses. This method also provides a deep understanding of the migration process, which can be beneficial for troubleshooting and optimization post-migration.

Steps for Manual Migration

Preparation and Planning

The first step in the manual migration process is to thoroughly assess your current environment. Inventory all Tableau Server content, including workbooks, data sources, and dashboards. Document user roles, permissions, and configurations. It is also crucial to back up all Tableau Server data to ensure data integrity. Next, define the migration scope by identifying which content will be migrated, determining the timeline and resources required, and communicating the migration plan with stakeholders.

Setting Up Tableau Cloud

Provisioning the Tableau Cloud environment is the next step. Create a Tableau Cloud account and set up the necessary sites and projects. Configure user permissions and access controls to ensure secure access. If required, set up SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) for secure single sign-on (SSO) to manage user authentication securely. Ensure that all users can authenticate to Tableau Cloud.

Data Preparation

Data preparation involves cleaning and standardizing your data. Ensure that data sources are clean and standardized to avoid compatibility issues during migration. Remove any obsolete or duplicate data. Export data sources from Tableau Server and validate their accuracy and completeness to ensure they are ready for migration.

Migrating Content

The actual migration involves several steps. First, open each workbook in Tableau Desktop and update data source connections to point to Tableau Cloud. Republish workbooks and dashboards to Tableau Cloud. Publish data sources to Tableau Cloud and ensure that all workbooks reference the new data sources. Manually recreate custom views in Tableau Cloud and set up subscriptions and alerts as required.

Setting Up Tableau Bridge

If your migration involves live connections to on-premises data sources, you will need to set up Tableau Bridge. Download and install Tableau Bridge on a machine within your network and authenticate it with Tableau Cloud. Add and configure on-premises data sources in Tableau Bridge and assign them to the Bridge for continuous data refresh. Set up refresh schedules for each data source to ensure up-to-date information.

Validation and Testing

Validation and testing are critical to ensure the success of the migration. Compare data in Tableau Cloud with the original data in Tableau Server to validate data integrity. Test all workbooks, dashboards, and data sources to ensure they function correctly. Validate user permissions and access controls. Involve key stakeholders and end-users in User Acceptance Testing (UAT) to gather feedback and make necessary adjustments.

Post-Migration Activities

After the migration, provide training to users on accessing and using Tableau Cloud. Set up support channels for troubleshooting and assistance. Monitor Tableau Cloud performance and address any issues that arise. Optimize workbooks and data sources as needed. Document the migration process, configurations, and any changes made to ensure that all documentation is accessible to relevant stakeholders.

Common Challenges and Solutions

One common challenge is ensuring seamless connectivity between Tableau Cloud and on-premises data sources. This can be addressed by using Tableau Bridge to maintain live connections and scheduling regular data refreshes. Another challenge is migrating user accounts and permissions accurately. Conducting a detailed audit of user roles and permissions pre- and post-migration can help ensure accuracy. Maintaining optimal performance for large datasets and complex workbooks is also challenging. Optimizing data sources, reducing extract sizes, and simplifying calculations can help. Ensuring consistency in the look and feel of dashboards and reports post-migration can be achieved by reviewing and adjusting visual elements in Tableau Cloud and gathering user feedback for improvements.

The manual method for Tableau Cloud migration, while labor-intensive, offers unparalleled control and customization. By following a structured approach and addressing common challenges proactively, organizations can ensure a successful migration. Leveraging the flexibility and advanced features of Tableau Cloud, you can significantly enhance your data analytics capabilities and drive data-driven decision-making across your organization.

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