Tableau Dashboard Version Management with Git

How to Manage Tableau Dashboard Versions in Git When You Need to Know What Changed or How a Dashboard Broke. Plus, How it's Easier with Mighty Canary.

How many times has this happened to you? You spent valuable time creating a report in Tableau, then someone else came along and made a change to it. Maybe it was one small change, maybe it was a handful of changes – you don’t know. Maybe the changes broke something, and now you’re in a hurry to troubleshoot it.

Tableau definitely doesn’t make it easy for you to do that. There’s no “Compare Reports” feature or change tracking capabilities. There’s not even a change log. As a result, analysts spend way too much time manually comparing reports. You could get fancy and look at the raw XML but that's possibly more painful. 

On top of that, Tableau keeps only the last ten versions of a given report, limiting how far you can look back. If a report went through ten iterations, you wouldn’t even be able to see what it looked like before.

Using Git to manage and compare versions

A powerful source code versioning application like Git is one way to manage Tableau dashboard versions. You can keep as many versions of a report as you want, and with the tools provided by services such as GitHub and GitLab, you can easily compare two versions of a report if you need to. 

Of course, this method requires that you have access to GitHub or a similar service, and you’ll need to set it up so that your Tableau reports can be saved in a repository. For help with those tasks, visit github.

Downloading reports from Tableau

Tableau makes it pretty easy to download previous versions of a report – as long as you don’t want to go back too far! Just follow these steps:

  • From your Tableau workbook, click on the menu and select Revision History from the drop-down.

  • Find the first version you want to download, click the Actions menu (three dots) for that report, and then click Download.

    • Repeat the process for the other version you'd like to compare. 

      GIT Download

  • Your download will be in a .twbx file format. Open the .twbx file with an archive management application and locate the .twb file inside it. This is the file you’ll want to upload to your Git repository. Note - on mac, you can unzip the file simply by replacing the ".twbx" file extension with ".zip" and then double-clicking to open.

Comparing reports in GitHub

It takes just a couple of clicks to compare two versions of a report in GitHub:

  • If you don't already have a Github account, you can create one for free.

  • The easiest way to directly compare two versions of a file is from the Github desktop app which you can download here.

  • Once you have the desktop app up and running, you can create a new repository to house the files you'd like to compare.

Tableau Compare

    • Next, browse the files in your repository (the file should be empty by default). This is where you'll add the file you'd like to compare. In our case, we'll add the first version of our Superstore workbook.


  • Next, commit this version of your workbook file by clicking "Commit to main" in the lower left.

  • Now it's time to replace the file you just committed in order to compare the two revisions. You can get back to your repository by right-clicking the file name and clicking "Reveal in Finder." Now replace the existing file with the newer version (be sure the file names are exactly the same).

Replace the file

  • After you've done this, you should see a comparison of the two files. You can click the Split option (under the gear icon) to show a side-by-side comparison. Changes are highlighted in pink and green. Additions and deletions are highlighted in blue.

Additions and deletions


Other text comparison options

If a version control system like GitHub isn’t an option, you have a couple of other choices for comparing two versions of a report. You can view the XML contents of the .twb files you extracted in a text editor. Then simply copy/paste the XML code into the comparison tool of your choice. 

A couple of handy (and free) text comparison options:

Text Compare!


Read More

Be Proactive with Mighty Canary 

Mighty Canary helps you be more proactive in version management tasks like these.  You don't have to wait for the dreaded question, “Is this report accurate?” 

Communicate when a dashboard changed and how recent the data is. Push alerts and status messages to the dashboard automatically. See how it works >



HubSpot Video



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