Error "SQL Server does not exist or access denied" Opening Workbook or Accessing Dashboard

Published: 02 Jun 2014
Last Modified Date: 26 Oct 2017


When you try to open a workbook in Tableau Desktop or view a dashboard on Tableau Server, the following error might occur:
TableauException: [Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][DBNETLIB] SQL Server does not exist or access denied.
[Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][DBNETLIB]ConnectionOpen (Connect()).
Unable to connect to the server <server name>. Check that the server is running and that you have access privileges to the requested database.


  • Tableau Server
  • Tableau Desktop
  • Microsoft SQL Server


The following troubleshooting steps might resolve the issue.
  • On the computer running Tableau Server, download and install the Microsoft SQL Server driver from the Tableau Drivers & Activation page. If running Tableau Server in a distributed environment, install the drivers on all computers running Tableau Server, including workers. After downloading and installing the driver, restart Tableau Server. For more information, see tabadmin restart in Tableau Help.
  • Confirm that the SQL Server database mentioned in the error message is running.
  • Make sure that nothing is preventing Tableau Desktop or Tableau Server from communicating with SQL Server, such as a firewall.
  • Check the SQL Server log files to verify that the user or Tableau Server Run As User has permission to access the database. For more information, see Run As User in Tableau Help.


Tableau Desktop or Tableau Server is unable to communicate with the SQL Server database.

In addition, the computers running Tableau Server do not have the new version of the Microsoft SQL Server driver, and are using the default SQL Server driver installed with the Windows operating system. The default SQL Server driver works with many Microsoft SQL Server features, but advanced features of the newer versions of Microsoft SQL server are not compatible with the default SQL Server driver.
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