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Explorer? Creator? Viewer? Demystifying Tableau’s Licensing Model.

It’s been just under 6 months that Tableau announced a ‘New Day for Data‘, announcing three key changes;

1. Introducing the new version of Tableau Desktop and Server, from 10.5 to 2018.1 – An amendment to the naming convention from major/minor releases to year of release/version number for that year. For example, 2018.2 was the 2nd version released in 2018.

2. Tableau Prep, previously code-named Project Maestro, was added to the Tableau suite of analytical tools, focussing on data preparation activities.

3. Changes to the subscription pricing model, with 3 brand new roles.

With the new license types which Tableau are offering, there comes a different method of thinking around Tableau Software.

The three new license types encompass the three different types of user we see using the Tableau platform.

First up we have the Tableau Creator license type.

These are users who would get access to Tableau Prep, Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server as standard. They are the types of users who build content, curate datasources and share their work with the wider community. They create.

What’s cool about Creators?

A huge leap Tableau has made with the Creator license type isn’t just with Tableau Prep; it’s with the addition of being able to create data connections todatabases from within the web edit in-browser interface. Huge.

Next comes the Tableau Explorer license type.

These are the users who don’t curate datasources, but might want to create content to explore their data to dig a little bit deeper to find that niche line of insight. And they might then want to share that work. This user gets access to Tableau Server as well as access to create content on existing datasources via the Web Edit function.

What’s different for an Explorer?

A user with the role of Tableau Explorer can interact and use visualisations on the Tableau Server, but only create new workbooks using Web Edit from datasources already on a particular site.

Finally, the Tableau Viewer.

This is the majority of your organisation, the people who want to see and understand what is going on with their business. These users have access to Tableau Server to consume, understand, filter and interact with dashboards and reports.

In conjunction with Tableau Prep, these new exciting features (my favourite is data connectors in web edit) truly do mean a new day for data.

If you want to learn more about these tools, or wish to keep an eye on what we’re up to, why not check out our Meetup page? http://til.bi/talkdata We’ll be hosting events and workshops at the new home for our Data School in central London.


Ravi Mistry

London, UK

16 thoughts on “Explorer? Creator? Viewer? Demystifying Tableau’s Licensing Model.

  1. Hi Ravi, cool article! May I please ask 1 question to you? Is viewer license concurent or user base? I have just purchased 100 viewer license for my company but more people is requesting for access. Can I just stick to 100 viewer license, and then I assign (let’s say) 120 user to the viewer role and let them “take turn” to use the license?

  2. I work in a company that already has chosen not to use Tableau as its standard visualization tool. I still want to have a license for myself. Can I sign up for an individual Creator license with no Explorers or Viewers, so $70/month only?

  3. I work for a small company. Is it possible to implement Tableau online with just one creator and 5 explorer’s but no viewers?

    1. Hi Thomas! Yes, this should be fine – you’re able to get this mix. We can help with this as Tableau partners, if you’d like?

      Hope this helps, and happy to talk further!


  4. Hey Ravi – do you know if you can use the new Desktop within Creator on two devices similar to the standalone Desktop license?


    1. Hey JD! Yes, from what I understand the rule of 2 activations of Tableau Desktop still applies with the creator license key. The thinking from Tableau is that you’ll be able to use one at work, and one at home to continue vizzing in your spare time!

      Hope this helps!


  5. Hello Ravi Mistry,

    I have one creator and 5 explorer license, I have created the 5 users with Viewer role, So is it going to use my 5 Explorer license, or it can work separate from 5 explorer users.

    1. Hi Jitesh,
      It will use one of the 6 seats you have – you will have the ability to upgrade up to Explorer (x5) and Creator.

      Hope this helps!

  6. Hi! I wonder if it is necessary to buy a Creator license or whether it’s possible to buy only Explorer licenses for the organization where I work. Are Explorer licenses independent or do they depend on the Creator license?


  7. Hi,

    With the new licensing model, Can I just purchase Explorer licence and go with creating reports as the new one has new data sources to connect to.

    Why should I go for Creator licence if my requirement is very minimal that I can handle only with Explorer and Viewers.

    What am I losing here if am not buying Creator and only Explorer.

    Rajeswari K

    1. Hi Raji,

      The issue here is the minimum spend, and the fact that in order to have a Explorer license, you must have at least 1 Creator (in order to install Tableau Server)

      The minimum amount of Creators is 1 (required for all Tableau deployments) and if you wish to add to this, you would need to purchase 5 Explorers. These Explorers are basically Tableau Server users who are able to use Web Authoring. For Viewers, the minimum purchase amount is 100

      I hope this helps.



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