Using Custom SQL with Flat Data Sources

Published: 17 Sep 2014
Last Modified Date: 21 Apr 2019


Cannot use custom SQL when connecting to Microsoft Excel, Access or text file data sources.


  • Tableau Desktop 8.2 and later, but earlier than 2019.1 (See Additional Information)
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Text Files


  1. From the Home page select Connect to Data.
  2. Select Microsoft Excel.
  3. In the Open dialog box, select the desired Excel file.
  4. Click the down arrow next to the Open button in the dialog box and select Open with Legacy Connection.
  5. On the left hand side of the Data pane, click New Custom SQL.


The ability to create a data connection with custom SQL to a flat data source such as Excel, Access, or text files is currently not built into the product.

Additional Information

Note: Starting in Tableau 2019.1, you can no longer create a new Legacy Excel or Text connection. Existing workbooks created with these legacy connections will continue to work until 2019.2, when all support for legacy connections will be removed. See the Legacy Connection Alternatives document in Tableau Community for alternatives to using the legacy connection.

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