Embedding Tableau in Salesforce Dashboards - Senturus


Embedding Tableau in Salesforce Dashboards

January 16, 2018

Dashboards, Reports & Visualizations, Tableau

A How-To Primer with Demos

On September 22, 2020, Salesforce released the Tableau Visualization Lightning Web Component. This easy to configure Salesforce app enables the same functionality as the legacy approach, but in a vendor supported implementation package.

Below is the legacy approach to implementing a Tableau and Salesforce integration before those two companies merged. This page is provided for legacy reference purposes.

Turbocharge Salesforce – and your sales team – by inserting Tableau analytics directly into Salesforce dashboards. Our brains process visual data (think Tableau) better and faster than text-based data (think Salesforce). By integrating the two tools, sales gets an at-a-glance overview of their accounts and opportunities instead of being forced to scroll through text. And it saves time: no need to go outside SFDC to run a Tableau report.

In this webinar recording we show you how to embed Tableau into Salesforce using the free SFDC Canvas and Tableau Sparkler adapters. Using https encryption, Canvas allows parameters to be securely passed back and forth so that Tableau vizzes are automatically customized to each account or opportunity. And the icing on the cake: these adapters are free!

During this hour-long recording, you’ll get

  • A demo of a Tableau dashboard embedded in SFDC
  • How vizzes are created and refreshed automatically for any account
  • How easy it is for users to interact with a Tableau visualization from a dashboard, clicking through to opportunities and different accounts
  • Instructions of what it takes to make this integration happen using Salesforce Canvas and Tableau Sparkler
  • Tips on where it gets tricky and what to avoid

You may also be interested in our webinar recording to Learn how to Use Tableau to Get to the Gold Hidden in Salesforce. It shows how to use buried leading indicators to help your sales team make better time prioritizations and your execs to make better sales strategy decisions.


Tableau, Salesforce


Michael Weinhauer
Practice Area Director and Solutions Architect
Senturus, Inc.

Michael Weinhauer heads up the Tableau Practice at Senturus. Michael comes to us from Oracle, IBM and SAP, where he spent over 20 years in different roles acquiring a wealth of hands-on, practical BI and big data experience. Michael’s team is also responsible for the development of the Senturus Analytics Connector for Tableau, which lets Tableau use Cognos or MicroStrategy as a data source.


  • Accessing Salesforce Data
    • Use Salesforce integrated reporting (no Tableau)
    • Manually extract data from Salesforce into flat files, pull into Tableau
    • Utilize Tableau’s direct connections to Salesforce cloud
    • Connect Tableau to a replica database of Salesforce data that you control
    • Connect Tableau to an integrated database that you control
    • Drill from a Tableau dashboard directly into the relevant Salesforce screen
    • Configure a Tableau URL action that combines your Salesforce domain with the relevant Salesforce record ID
  • Technique Capabilities Matrix
  • What If You Want Both? Enter Sparkler!
    • Analytics in the flow of the business process, at the point of impact!
  • Why Sparkler?
    • Security
    • Context
  • Top Level Sales View – Opportunities Dashboard
  • Accounts Dashboard
  • Opportunities Dashboard


  • What Is Tableau Sparkler?
    • Canvas is a Force.com framework for integrating 3rd party applications into the Salesforce platform
    • Sparkler is a Tableau created and supported Java adapter that enables embedded dashboards via Canvas
    • Free download from Tableau
      • Includes Sparkler adapter
      • Sample Tableau workbooks
      • Sample Visualforce pages
    • Tableau Sparkler Architecture
    • Do I Need Tableau Sparkler?
      • IF you use SAML authentication, AND both Tableau and SFDC use the SAME SAML authentication provider, you don’t have to set up Sparkler
      • In this case, just use the Visualforce pages and content; the applications will trust each other automatically


  • Skills Required
    • Java CLI
      • Keytool used to create self-signed SSL certificates
      • Sparkler 
    • Apache Tomcat install and configuration (or other web app server)
    • OpenSSL
      • If creating RSA keys for Tableau
    • Salesforce administration/Visualforce application configuration
    • Tableau Desktop
    • Tableau Server configuration and administration
    • Linux
  • Install Components
    • Java
      • Sparkler is a Java application
      • Used to create self-signed SSL certificates
    • Apache Tomcat
      • Open source application server
      • You can use any application server
    • Sparkler (Salesforce Canvas)
      • Runs as a Java application within Tomcat
    • OpenSSL
      • Used to create RSA keys for Tableau
    • Enable SSL on Tomcat
      • Get/create certificate using Java keytool utility
        • Warning: do not COPY text, it will fail!
        • Critical: CN MUST MATCH fully qualified machine name
          • g. request URL=https://tableau.mycompany.com
          • CN=tableau.mycompany.com
        • Enable SSL in configuration (conf\server.xml)
          • Uncomment SSL section, set ports, location of keystore and keystore password
        • Tomcat Self-Signed SSL Certificate
        • Test Tomcat SSL
        • Enable SSL on Tableau Server
          • Get/create Certificate using openSSL
            • If creating self-signed, refer to this guide
          • Add certificate to Java keystore
          • Install certificate
          • Enable SSL in Tableau Server configuration
          • Use Configure External SSL on Tableau Server help
        • Tableau Self-Signed SSL Certificate
        • Configure SSL in Tableau
          • Must be done via TABADMIN (don’t edit text file)!
          • “tabadmin set wgserver.trusted_hosts “MWEINHAUER, localhost””
        • Test Tableau SSL
        • Configure Tableau Workbooks
          • Included with download from Tableau
            • Accounts
            • Opportunities
            • Account Dashboard
          • Fix data fields
          • Other tweaks
        • Publish Tableau Workbooks to Server/Online
          • Create extract
          • Set refresh schedule


  • Tableau Sparkler Architecture
  • Deploy Sparkler on Tomcat
    • Copy .war file into Tomcat webapp directory
    • Tomcat will see the file and automatically deploy the application using the name of the file
  • Configure Sparkler (sparkler.xml
    • Debug level
    • Sparkler status page
  • Test Sparkler Adapter
  • Salesforce Configuration
    • Create Visualforce connected app in Salesforce
    • Create Visualforce pages and/or use provided samples
    • Setup > App Setup > Develop > Visualforce Pages
    • Create Visualforce pages or use provided samples
    • Create Tab pages (Tabs contain Visualforce pages)
    • Setup > App Setup > Create > Tabs >Visualforce Tabs
    • Create page layouts embedding content
    • Clone existing pages and modify
    • Setup > App Setup > Customize > %PAGENAME% > Page Layouts
    • Create page layouts embedding content
    • Visualforce pages section – drag and drop into layout
    • Create page layouts embedding content
    • Assign to role(s)
  • Challenges/Caveats
    • Clustered environments
    • Auth providers – SAML/Online/Trusted Tickets
    • Proxies/VPN
      • Needed for remote access to Tableau
    • Mapping Tableau/SFDC users
    • Certificates
      • Canvas apps must be both secure and trusted
      • Any browser warnings will result in failure to render
    • Visualforce pages
      • Parameters
    • Customizing Tableau content
      • Fields must be mapped correctly
    • Linux
  • Support
    • Limited to Tableau and Sparkler Adapter
      • Limited knowledge of Sparkler by support team
    • Won’t help with routing, network, firewalls, load balancing
    • Won’t help with Java, app server or browser
    • Won’t help with Salesforce
  • Summary
    • There are many ways to access Salesforce data from Tableau, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
    • Tableau Sparkler enables leveraging the power of Tableau visualizations directly in Salesforce, providing analytics within the flow of the business process, at the point of impact!
    • Using Tableau with a combined data source allows organization to truly unlock the power of both applications!
    • Installation of Sparkler is not straightforward or easy, but the benefits are significant!