Tableau via PowerShell, Part 1: Opening Workbooks


Tableau via PowerShell, Part 1: Opening Workbooks

by Joshua Poehls

In this mini-series I’m going to show you some cookbook style examples for using PowerShell to explore your Tableau workbooks. Follow along, this is going to be fun!

Tableau workbooks (TWB files) are just XML files. Packaged workbooks (TWBX files) are just ZIP files that contain a TWB and various assets, like data extracts for example.

This is wonderful because it means it is very easy to go spelunking through workbook files without a guide.

Opening Workbooks

I mentioned that TWB files are just XML files and that TWBX files are ZIP files that contain a TWB. This means we need different logic for opening a TWB vs a TWBX. Let’s write a simple little PowerShell function to fix that. We’ll call this function Get-TableauWorkbookXml and it will take a file path and return the workbook’s XML. It will abstract away the different ahandling of TWB and TWBX files for us.

If you find this helpful then check out TableauKit; a full on PowerShell module for working with Tableau files. It contains a new and improved version of the function below and much more.

function Get-TableauWorkbookXml {

        [Parameter(Mandatory=$true, ValueFromPipeline=$true)]

    begin {
        $originalCurrentDirectory = [System.Environment]::CurrentDirectory

        # System.IO.Compression.FileSystem requires at least .NET 4.5
        [System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("System.IO.Compression") | Out-Null

    process {
        [System.Environment]::CurrentDirectory = (Get-Location).Path
        $extension = [System.IO.Path]::GetExtension($Path)
        if ($extension -eq ".twb") {
            return [xml](Get-Content -LiteralPath $Path)
        elseif ($extension -eq ".twbx") {
            $archiveStream = $null
            $archive = $null
            $reader = $null

            try {
                $archiveStream = New-Object System.IO.FileStream($Path, [System.IO.FileMode]::Open)
                $archive = New-Object System.IO.Compression.ZipArchive($archiveStream)
                $twbEntry = ($archive.Entries | Where-Object { $_.FullName -eq $_.Name -and [System.IO.Path]::GetExtension($_.Name) -eq ".twb" })[0]
                $reader = New-Object System.IO.StreamReader $twbEntry.Open()

                [xml]$xml = $reader.ReadToEnd()
                return $xml
            finally {
                if ($reader -ne $null) {
                if ($archive -ne $null) {
                if ($archiveStream -ne $null) {
        else {
            throw "Unknown file type. Expected a TWB or TWBX file extension."

    end {
        [System.Environment]::CurrentDirectory = $originalCurrentDirectory

Let’s try it out from PowerShell.

Get-TableauWorkbookXml .MyWorkbook.twb

TWBX files are just as easy.

Get-TableauWorkbookXml .MyPackagedWorkbook.twbx

Cool, right? How about opening a bunch of workbooks at once? This is PowerShell after all.

Get-ChildItem *.twb* | Get-TableauWorkbookXml

Continue the adventure with Part 2: Saving Changes.

More About the Author

Joshua Poehls

Software Architect
TableauKit: A PowerShell Module for Tableau If you’ve been following my Tableau via PowerShell series then you already know there are a lot of cool things you can do with Tableau ...
Tableau via PowerShell, Part 2: Saving Changes This is part 2 of my mini-series on exploring Tableau workbooks with PowerShell. If you missed it, you should read Part 1: Opening ...

See more from this author →

Subscribe to our newsletter

  • I understand that InterWorks will use the data provided for the purpose of communication and the administration my request. InterWorks will never disclose or sell any personal data except where required to do so by law. Finally, I understand that future communications related topics and events may be sent from InterWorks, but I can opt-out at any time.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

InterWorks uses cookies to allow us to better understand how the site is used. By continuing to use this site, you consent to this policy. Review Policy OK


Interworks GmbH
Ratinger Straße 9
40213 Düsseldorf
Geschäftsführer: Mel Stephenson

Telefon: +49 (0)211 5408 5301

Amtsgericht Düsseldorf HRB 79752
UstldNr: DE 313 353 072

black. lives. matter.