Working with Tableau Logs: A Comprehensive Guide

Nicholas Samuel • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Tableau Log

Tableau Server and Tableau Desktop generate log files for every activity that you perform. The log data is very important for anyone who wants to know what is happening behind the scenes. They contain information like what is happening in the server, the services or processes that are running, and the errors and warnings that have been generated. 

When using Tableau for Data Analysis, you will normally want to get this information from time to time. The information is useful for troubleshooting purposes once you encounter issues with Tableau.

The amount of information written to the logs depends on the service that is writing the logs, the configured logging level, and what the server is doing. When using Tableau, you’ll have to view the log files. In this article, you will learn about working with the Tableau Log files in detail. 

Table of Contents

What is Tableau?

Tableau logo
Image Source: Tableau

Tableau is a Business Intelligence software that empowers organizations to visualize their business data and helps them make efficient data-driven business decisions. Tableau was established primarily by keeping collaboration in mind.

Tableau houses tools that allow you to build attractive and interactive Dashboards for collaboration, thereby giving you a complete overview of your data. With the help of these Dashboards, employees from all departments can collaborate with each other effectively and seamlessly. 

Tableau allows you to integrate your data from multiple data sources like Microsoft Excel, CSV files, MS SQL Server, Oracle, Google BigQuery, Windows Azure, ODBC/JDBC, etc. You can create various visualizations like bar charts, scatter plots, box plots, pie charts, maps, etc.

Tableau is widely used all over the world for creating highly useful Reports and Dashboards. Tableau can be used online and is compatible with Desktops, Tablets, Mobile phones, etc. Learn more about Tableau and its usage from their official documentation

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What is Tableau Log Locations?

Tableau logs
Image Source: Tableau

By default, Tableau writes most of its log files in its data directory. You can find the directory in the following location:

C:ProgramDataTableauTableau Serverdatatabsvclogs

Each instance of the service has its own folder, with a name that specifies the service name and version code. An example is given below:

C:ProgramDataTableauTableau Serverdatatabsvclogsbackgrounder

Other than the logs for every process or service, a config subfolder is created to store configuration information for the service. This is shown below:


If your Tableau Server develops an issue, Tableau support may require you to gather the logs, upload them, and send them over to the Technical team. 

Reporting issue to Techical support using Tableau Logs
Image Source: Tableau

There are a number of logs that are not part of the above set of logs and they are not written to the normal log folders. They include the following:

  • TSM log-The tsm.log file can be found under C:Users<user>.tableautsm .
  • install log-By default, you can find the app-install.log file under C:ProgramDataTableauTableau Serverlogs.
  • upgrade log- By default, the app-upgrade.log file is stored in C:ProgramDataTableauTableau Serverlogs.
  • Shell script logs- By default, Tableau Server scripts are found in the scripts directory.
  • Serverpackagesscripts.<version_code>) and others generate logs every time a script is executed. The script logs are stored in the following directory: <install_drive><installpath>logs

But by default, they are stored in the following directory:

C:ProgramDataTableauTableau Serverlogs

Understanding Tableau Log Contents

Contents of Tableau Logs
Image Source: Vizninja

Every process running on Tableau writes information to its own log file. So, each log file gives detailed information about each process. Together, the log files contain detailed information about the internal communications between the Tableau Server components when performing automated tasks or processing user requests. 

The logs only contain technical information that is good for troubleshooting. Examples include the actions of different processes, the status of various components, queries to the database, communication attempts, and request timings.

Log files store some specific data like the names of database servers, their ports and IP addresses, IP addresses or names of Tableau Server computers, and names and URLs of the views and workbooks accessed by the users. 

Note that log files don’t store sensitive customer data like query results, passwords, and data shown on views. Tableau users can use the tsm maintenance ziplogs command to create a zipped archive of the log files. You should add the Tableau server repository data if you have used the -d option. 

The repository stores metadata from Tableau Server such as projects, usernames, groups, Tableau Server permissions, extract refresh schedules, etc. It also stores the connection and layout information for the workbooks, but it doesn’t store data such as passwords, data displayed on views, or the actual database data. 

The data shown on views is obtained from databases and extract files and then cached in memory. This data isn’t saved in the logs. The extract files are kept on the Tableau Server computers with a .hyper extension inside the dataengine folder. However, they are not added to the zipped log archive. 

A typical Tableau log looks as follows:

{“ts”:”2021-02-19T16:22:57.834″,”pid”:10221,”tid”:”5a1628″,”sev”:”info”,”req”:”-“,”sess”:”-“,”site”:”-“,”user”:”-“,”k”:”open-log”,”v”:{“path”:”/Users/tfoldi/Documents/Tableau Repository/Logs/log.txt”}}

To view the log file contents, you can use a number of tools to visualize them clearer and in a more human-readable way. 

All the log entries are JSON objects that are separated by new lines. Each entry has the following components:

  • a ts (timestamp)
  • pid (process id)
  • tid (thread id within the process)
  • sev (severity)
  • req (request identified)
  • sess (Server vizql session/Desktop session)
  • site (site in Server)
  • user (user in Server)
  • log keys (k) 
  • (v) values. 

In some cases, the log entries may have ctx for contextual information (such as who called a particular service) and a for “ART Logging” (it logs memory and CPU counters). 

The most important of all these are keys and values. They tell us the type of operation (key) that produced which log message (value). The log message is a nested JSON object, and different keys give different value objects in different structures. 

The Limitations to Tableau Logs

Although Tableau logs are useful, especially for troubleshooting, they pose a number of challenges to the users. These include the following:

  • Tableau log entries are not made in a clear format. This makes it difficult for you to extract relevant information from the log entries. 
  • The entries made into the Tableau logs are not easy to read and interpret. This makes it difficult for the user to identify the cause of problems when troubleshooting Tableau issues. 
  • One may need to use a third-party tool to present the Tableau log entries in a human-readable format. 


When working with Tableau, error detection and monitoring become easier with Tableau Logs. After reading this article, you should now be able to configure your Tableau Logs and work with them.

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