Emojis do not display as expected in Tableau Desktop "unknown character" when connecting to MySQL

Published: 21 Oct 2020
Last Modified Date: 08 Oct 2021


Emojis and/or mathematical alphanumeric symbols display as squares or ? in Tableau Desktop. MySQL encoding is set to utf8mb4.


  • Tableau Desktop


As a workaround, connect using a JDBC driver from Tableau Desktop to pull in the columns that are using characters "utf8mb4 encoding" that the native driver cannot parse.

1. Downloaded and install the right JDBC driver for the appropriate OS. Note:JDBC drivers are self-contained .jar files. Place the .jar files in the folder for your operating system. 
2. Connected to MySql from Tableau Desktop using Other Databases (JDBC). URL field example:
Detailed information can be found here :



This is a limitation of the MySql8 driver. 

Additional Information

It is possible to Add another connection to the same MySQL table in in the Data Source page using Tableau Desktop the MySQL connector, so to use only fields containing emojis/special from the data source using the JDBC connector.
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