Data Does Not Refresh when Using Live Excel or Text File Connection

Published: 04 Aug 2014
Last Modified Date: 17 Jan 2019


When you have a packaged workbook (.twbx) connected live to Excel or Text files and you try to refresh the data, the data might not refresh.


  • Tableau Desktop
  • Excel files
  • Text files (.csv, .txt)
  • Packaged workbook (.twbx)


Option 1: Edit the connection to point to the original data source

If saving the work as a *.twbx file, extract the connection to the text file first. If the connection to the text file should be live, then always save the workbook as a *.twb file.
  1. In Tableau Desktop, select Data > <data source name> > Edit Data Source. This will navigate to the Data Source tab for this data source.
  2. Select Data > <data source name> > Edit Connection...
    • Note: The file path will include the TableauTemp folder rather than the original location of the file
  3. In Windows Explorer, navigate to the original data source file, and then click Open.
  4. In Tableau Desktop, click the  Extract radio button
  5. Navigate to any worksheet tab in the workbook, which will prompt Tableau Desktop to create the extract
  6. To refresh data, under Data, right-click the data source, and then select Extract > Refresh.
Option 2: Close the program where the text file is open and attempt refreshing again

Option 3: Create a new connection to replace the old connection
  1. Click Data at the top toolbar, and select New Data Source > Excel
  2. Select the correct file, and connect. This will create a second connection to the same file.
  3. Navigate to any sheet that uses the old data connection.
  4. Replace the old connection with the new connection. For detailed directions, see Replace Data Sources


This behavior is by design to allow workbooks to be shared with users that do not have access to the original data source. Please see Packaged Workbooks for more information:
"Packaged workbooks contain the workbook along with a copy of any local file data sources and background images. The workbook is no longer linked to the original data sources and images."
If the original data source is a text file, then Tableau Desktop will create a shadow copy of the text file in the TableauTemp folder. If the connection to the text file is live, then Tableau Desktop will change the file path to the TableauTemp folder.
  • Note: this change will not show until the workbook is saved, closed, and reopened.

Additional Information

If the file path in Option 1 > Step 2 is not pointing to TableauTemp, then there may be another underlying issues. For other possible scenarios, please see the Related Links section of this article.

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