Activating Tableau Desktop in Citrix

Published: 11 Apr 2017
Last Modified Date: 06 Dec 2019


How to activate and set up Tableau Desktop in a Citrix virtual environment. 


  • Tableau Desktop
  • Citrix


Setting up and using Tableau Desktop in a virtual environment like Citrix has changed with Tableau Desktop 10.5.  Tableau Desktop 10.5 now has an option for a virtual Desktop.


Prior to Tableau Desktop 10.5, Citrix Servers should install Tableau Desktop and activate a key on each server in the farm. In Tableau Desktop 10.5 and higher, the Citrix Servers should have an installation of Tableau Desktop with the ATR set (virtual Desktop) but no key activated.  Each user will be entering a key and registering the product.


After you install Tableau Desktop, you will need to activate the product using the product key. The Tableau activation process uses the Internet to connect to the Tableau licensing service to track product usage. If the Citrix server is not connected to the internet, you might need to perform an offline activation. For more information, see the Activating Tableau Desktop article, which includes offline activation instructions.

Virtual Persistent versus Virtual Non-Persistent Environments

1. Virtual Environment in Tableau 10.4 and earlier

Citrix must be installed on a persistent virtual machine and you will need to ensure that there is only one named user for each Tableau Desktop product key, and that the system is auditable.


Each user that opens the application for the first time is required to register.

Re-provisioning in a Virtual Persistent Environment

Before re-provisioning a Citrix server, make sure to deactivate Tableau Desktop. For more information about deactivating Tableau Desktop, see the Move or Deactivate Tableau Desktop article. After re-provisioning the Citrix server, you must activate and register Tableau Desktop again.

2. Virtual Environment in Tableau 10.5 and later

Starting with Tableau Desktop 10.5, virtual desktop support is an “opt-in” feature that gives you the ability to optimize your installations of Tableau for non-persistent virtual desktops or for computers that are regularly reimaged.  For information on how to set up and configure Virtual Desktop Support, see Configure Virtual Desktop Support.

Virtual desktop Support, which enables non-persistent environments, allows you to reuse your license keys, without having to deactivate them before the Tableau Desktops are reused. You will still need to enter the product key to run Tableau after the desktop is recycled.

Activating Tableau Prep in a Citrix Environment

Tableau Prep has the ability to use the Virtual Desktop feature starting in version 2018.2.1

Additional Information

Prior to Tableau 10.5, if the Tableau Desktop license key does not get deactivated before re-provisioning the Citrix server, you might see a "max extra activations" error. For more information, see Error "max extra activations exceeded".

With Tableau 10.5 using the new Virtual Desktop option, there will be no need to deactivate license keys.  In addition, each user will activate their own key where previously, one key was activated across all servers in a Citrix farm. For more information, see Citrix Tableau Desktop at Tableau Community Forums. 

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