Tableau Deep Dive: Improving Performance with Data Extracts – Part 3


In Part 3, and our final part of this series on Improving Performance with Data Extracts, we will aggregate a Tableau data extract to the Month level, and review how you can unpackage a .TWBX file.

If you have not read Part 2 of this series, you can do so by clicking here.

If you have not read Part 1 of this series, you can do so by clicking here.

Again, I hope you enjoy this series about data extracts in Tableau.

Best regards,


Aggregating a Tableau Data Extract to a Specific Level

Video Book Cover PageMuch of the content, datasets,  and Tableau Workbooks I am using for this blog post series comes from Tim Messar’s video book, Mastering Tableau 10. I cite Tim as the primary source for this blog post in the “sources” section at the end of this post (see video book cover, right).

Now that we understand how to aggregate a Tableau data extract is, let’s see how we can aggregate one to a specific level.

I will again be using the SQL Server AdventureWorks database to demonstrate creating Tableau data extracts. Also, I am using Tableau Desktop v10.4 to create the extract and associated screenshots for this example.

At the end of Part 2, we created a new .TDE file without the hidden fields and rename it to “Hide Fields – Aggregation” in my sub-folder (see screenshot below). Notice it was 1,732 KB (kilobytes or 1.73 MB) in size. Remember: The smaller the size of the extract file, the better our performance will be.

Now, let’s create another extract where the data is rolled up (aggregated) at the Month level.

Step 1: If you haven’t already done so, remove the existing original extract file again so we can recreate it.


Step 2: Now, I am going to use our basic report again to create our extract. If you have not hidden the unused fields, do so now.

NOTE: This report is created to illustrate the next step in our process and is not a meaningful report example.



Step 3: Notice all unused fields are now hidden (see screenshot below). Now, let’s right-click on the extract, select Extract Data…, and then select Aggregate data for visible dimensions check box. This will create a new .TDE file which includes only the visible dimensions.

The additional step we want to perform is to select the “Roll up dates to” checkbox and then from the dropdown list next to it, select Month. This will aggregate our data in the extract file we are creating to the Month level.

Step 4: We have created a new .TDE file aggregated to the Month Level and let’s rename it to “Sales Order Extract – Rolled Up to Month” (see screenshot below). Notice it is now down to 1,698 KB (kilobytes or 1.7 MB) in size. Remember: The smaller the size of the extract file, the better our performance will be.

Unpacking a Tableau Packaged Workbook (.TWBX) [3]

Packaged Workbooks

Workbooks often reference external resources. For example, workbooks might reference background images or local file data sources such as Excel, Access, and Tableau data extract files (.tde).

When you save a workbook, links to these resources are also saved. The next time you open the workbook, the views are automatically updated with any changes that may have occurred to the data and images. In most cases, you will want to save the workbook in this way. But if you plan to share the workbook with someone who does not have access to the referenced resources or to Tableau Server, you might want to save a packaged workbook instead.

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. These workbooks are saved with a .twbx file extension. Other users can open the packaged workbook using Tableau Desktop or Tableau Reader.

Unpackage a .twbx

Packaged workbooks can be unpackaged.

  • On a Windows computer, right-click the packaged workbook file (.twbx) in Windows Explorer and select Unpackage.
  • On a Mac computer, rename the file with a .zip extension (for example, from myfile.twbx to and then double-click it.

When you unpackage a workbook, you get a regular workbook file (.twb), along with a folder that contains the data sources and images that were packaged with the workbook (see screenshot below).


I hope you enjoyed this series on Improving Performance with Data Extracts. I encourage you to subscribe to my blog so that you can get notified of the next Tableau Deep Dive blog I published.

Happy vizzing,



[1] I relied heavily on the fantastic Tableau video book written by Tim Messar titled Mastering Tableau 10 (see cover image below). Click here to purchase your own copy of his book.

Video Book Cover Page

[2] Tableau Software, Extract Your Data, Tableau Software, Online Help, All Tableau Help > Tableau Help > Connect to and Prepare Data > Set Up Data Sources > Extract Your Data,

[3] Tableau Software, Packaged Workbooks, Tableau Software, Online Help, All Tableau Help > Tableau Help > Design Views and Analyze Data > Save, Revert, Export, or Print > Save Your Work > Packaged Workbooks,

[4] Sandberg, Michael, Tableau Boot Camp Additional Reference Material, City of Glendale, Arizona, September 28th, 2017.

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