What Are Tableau Collections and How Do I Use Them?


What Are Tableau Collections and How Do I Use Them?

Collections were released back in version 2021.2 and are a very useful and somewhat underrated feature, in my opinion. So, let’s take a look at how to make the most of this feature in your organisation today.

What Are Collections?

Collections are a feature in Tableau Cloud and Tableau Server that allow users to create groups of existing content that have been published to your site. They can be shared or private so you could use this feature to group together content for certain departments/teams, or to form a collection of content that is important for an individual user. Collections make content easier to find and improve navigation.

“But isn’t that just a project folder?” I hear you cry. Well no, they are a distinct feature and differ to projects in a number of ways:

  1. You can have the same dashboard in multiple collections without duplicating it, but you cannot have the same dashboard in multiple projects
  2. Anyone can make a collection. Your viewers can create their own collections without admin needing to get involved
  3. A single sheet/dashboard of a workbook can be added to a collection. If workbooks contain multiple sheets you don’t have to add to whole thing to your collection.

How Can Collections Help My Business?

Organising your content is vital to ensure maximum engagement from your end users, if people can’t find the relevant dashboards then they can’t use them! While some people will be comfortable exploring content and will make sure that they favorite their key workbooks, others might need a little help. Collections are most useful in larger organisations with lots of content. I have seen a number of clients whose end users find the volume of content overwhelming and are therefore reluctant to engage, collections help overcome that barrier.

On the technical side, by removing the need to duplicate your workbook in multiple project folders, collections can also help you reduce the resources and storage used.

How To Use Collections Effectively?

There is no set way to use collections and, as you are not moving, copying or editing your content, it is easy to create and delete collections as you go, which means you can be flexible in your approach. To get started, I would suggest thinking about how the business teams or departments are organised and consider how they currently interact with your Tableau environment.

If engagement is high, then perhaps you can demonstrate this feature to all users and encourage them to set up their own private collections (often good in smaller organisations). If some users have low engagement then I would recommend finding team/department “leaders” that can own an area specific collection (for example one collection for marketing, another for HR). This lead does not necessarily need to be a manager but someone to promote uptake of the feature. By delegating this task, administrators can be confident that users have content in their collections which is useful and relevant to their role which should in turn increase engagement as users will be able to easily find useful content.

The availability of the collections feature can be controlled by the administrator, when switched on they will be found on the task bar on the left-hand side. Collections are, by default, private to the person that created them but admins and collection owners can add other users to the permission setting. Another reason collections are great is there is no need to worry about how this will affect your permission structure as workbooks can be added to collections but permissions remain secure to the workbook level.

If this sounds like something you want to make the most of then reach out to us and we can discuss our governance consulting services.

More About the Author

Kirsty Wall

Analytics Consultant
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What Are Tableau Collections and How Do I Use Them? Collections were released back in version 2021.2 and are a very useful and somewhat underrated feature, in my opinion. So, let’s ...

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