Salesforce Connector for Tableau

In this article you will learn how to integrate Salesforce data in Tableau without coding in just a few clicks (live / bi-directional connection to Salesforce). Salesforce Connector can be used to extract/load large amount of data from/in without any programming. You can use simple Table mode or Query mode with full SOQL query language support ( Object Query Language)..

Using Salesforce Connector you will be able to connect, read, and write data from within Tableau. Follow the steps below to see how we would accomplish that.

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Create Data Source in ZappySys Data Gateway based on ZappySys Salesforce Driver

  1. Download and install ZappySys ODBC PowerPack.

  2. Search for gateway in start menu and Open ZappySys Data Gateway:
    Open ZappySys Data Gateway

  3. Go to Users Tab to add our first Gateway user. Click Add; we will give it a name tdsuser and enter password you like to give. Check Admin option and click OK to save. We will use these details later when we create linked server:
    ZappySys Data Gateway - Add User

  4. Now we are ready to add a data source. Click Add, give data source a name (Copy this name somewhere, we will need it later) and then select Native - ZappySys Salesforce Driver. Finally, click OK. And it will create the Data Set for it and open the ZS driver UI.

    ZappySys Data Gateway - Add Salesforce Data Source

  5. Now, we need SalesForce Connection. Lets create it. ODBC SalesForce Driver - Create Connection

  6. Now, When you see DSN Config Editor with zappysys logo first thing you need to do is change default DSN Name at the top and Click on Preview Tab, Select Table from Tables Dropdown or you can enter or modify a SOQL query and click on Preview Data.
    This example shows how to write simple SOQL query (Salesforce Object Query Language). It uses WHERE clause. For more SOQL Queries click here.
    SOQL is similar to database SQL query language but much simpler and many features you use in database query may not be supported in SOQL (Such as JOIN clause not supported). But you can use following Queries for Insert, Update, Delete and Upsert(Update or Insert record if not found).

    SELECT * FROM Account WHERE Name like '%Oil%'
    ZappySys ODBC Driver - Select Table and Preview Data
  7. Click OK to finish creating the data source

Read data in SQL Server from the ZappySys Data Gateway

  1. To read the data in SQL Server the first thing you have to do is create a Linked Server. Go to SQL Server Management Studio and configure it in a similar way:
    SSMS SQL Server Configure Linked Server

  2. Then click on Security option and configure username we created in ZappySys Data Gateway in one of the previous steps:
    SSMS SQL Server Configure Linked Server User Name

  3. Optional: Under the Server Options, Enable RPC and RPC Out and Disable Promotion of Distributed Transactions(MSDTC).

    RPC and MSDTC Settings

    You need to enable RPC Out if you plan to use EXEC(...) AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME] rather than OPENQUERY.
    If don't enabled it, you will encounter the Server 'MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME' is not configured for RPC error.

    Query Example:

    EXEC('Select * from Products') AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME]

    If you plan to use 'INSERT INTO...EXEC(....) AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME]' in that case you need to Disable Promotion of Distributed Transactions(MSDTC).
    If don't disabled it, you will encounter the The operation could not be performed because OLE DB provider "SQLNCLI11" for linked server "MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME" was unable to begin a distributed transaction. error.

    Query Example:

    Insert Into dbo.Products
     EXEC('Select * from Products') AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME]

  4. Finally, open a new query and execute a query we saved in one of the previous steps:


    SSMS SQL Server Query Data Results

Create Linked Server using Code

In previous section you saw how to create a Linked Server from UI. You can do similar action by code too (see below). Run below script after changing necessary parameters. Assuming your Data Source name on ZappySys Data Gateway UI is 'SalesforceDSN'

    USE [master]
    --Run below code in SSMS to create Linked Server and use ZappySys Drivers in SQL Server

    //Replace localhost with IP/Machine name if ZappySys Gateway Running on different machine other than SQL Server
    //Replace Port 5000 if you configured gateway on a different port

    --1. Configure your gateway service as per this article
    --2. Make sure you have SQL Server Installed. You can download FREE SQL Server Express Edition from here if you dont want to buy Paid version

    --Uncomment below if you like to drop linked server if it already exists
    --EXEC master.dbo.sp_dropserver @server=N'LS_SalesforceDSN', @droplogins='droplogins'

    --3. Create new linked server
    EXEC master.dbo.sp_addlinkedserver
      @server = N'LS_SalesforceDSN'  --Linked server name (this will be used in OPENQUERY sql
    , @srvproduct=N''
    , @provider=N'SQLNCLI11'
    , @datasrc=N'localhost,5000' --//Machine / Port where Gateway service is running
    , @provstr=N'Network Library=DBMSSOCN;'
    , @catalog=N'SalesforceDSN' --Data source name you gave on Gateway service settings

    --4. Attach gateway login with linked server

    EXEC master.dbo.sp_addlinkedsrvlogin
      @rmtsrvname=N'LS_SalesforceDSN'  --linked server name
    , @useself=N'False'
    , @locallogin=NULL
    , @rmtuser=N'YOUR_GATEWAY_USER' --enter your Gateway user name
    , @rmtpassword='YOUR_GATEWAY_PASSWORD'  --enter your Gateway user's password

    --5. Enable RPC OUT (This is Optional - Only needed if you plan to use EXEC(...) AT YourLinkedServerName rather than OPENQUERY
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'rpc', true;
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'rpc out', true;

    --Disable MSDTC - Below needed to support INSERT INTO from EXEC AT statement
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'remote proc transaction promotion', false;
    --Increase query timeout if query is going to take longer than 10 mins (Default timeout is 600 seconds)
    --EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_SalesforceDSN', 'query timeout', 1200;

Create View in SQL Server

Finally, use this or similar query in a view or stored procedure, which you will be able to use in Tableau. We will create a view to return invoices:

  1. CREATE VIEW vwApiInvoices AS

Read data in Tableau from SQL Server

Actually, we will be getting data from SQL Server which in turn will be getting data from ZappySys Data Gateway data source. Let's begin and see how to accomplish that:

  1. Open Tableau Desktop and click File > New
  2. To create new Connection click More > Microsoft SQL Server > Enter your credentials to connect to SQL Server (in our example before we used tdsuser): Tableau connect to SQL Server
  3. Once connection is created for SQL Server we can read Salesforce data 3 different ways:
    1. Query View which contains OPENQUERY to Linked Server for Salesforce data
    2. Use direct SQL Query using OPENQUERY
    3. Use Stored Procedure (Mostly useful to parameterize calls
  4. See below example to pull data from Salesforce in Tableau using SQL View approach: Create data source in Tableau
  5. Once your data sources are created you can click on Sheet1 and drag fields to create visualizations for Tableau Dashboard: Create data source in Tableau

Passing Parameters to Salesforce calls in Tableau (Dynamic SQL)

Now let's look at scenario where you have to pass parameters to build Dynamic Dashboard. You can try to insert Parameters in your Direct SQL when you build Dynamic SQL but we found some issues with that so we are going to suggest Stored Procedure approach. For more information on Known issue on Dynamic Metadata Check this post.
  1. First lets create a stored procedure in SQL Server for Parameter Example. Notice how we added WITH RESULT SETS in the code to describe metadata.
    --DROP PROC dbo.usp_GetInvoicesByCountry
    Purpose: Parameterize Salesforce call via SQL. Call ZappySys Drivers inside SQL Server.
    CREATE PROC dbo.usp_GetInvoicesByCountry
    	@country varchar(100) 
    DECLARE @sql varchar(max)
    --//Escape single ticks carefully
    SET @sql =  'SELECT OrderID,CustomerID,Country,Quantity FROM $
    WITH (Src=''$format=json@filter=Country eq '+ @country +'''
    DECLARE @sqlFull varchar(max)
    SET @sqlFull='SELECT * FROM OPENQUERY( [LS] , ''' + REPLACE( @sql, '''', '''''' ) + ''' )'
    PRINT @sqlFull --//For DEBUG purpose
    EXECUTE (@sqlFull) 
     (OrderID int,CustomerID varchar(100),Country varchar(100),Quantity int) --//describe first result. If you don't do this then wont work in Tableau 
    -- Example call
    EXEC dbo.usp_GetInvoicesByCountry @country='Germany'
  2. Once you create a stored procedure go to Tableau datasource and select Database which contains the stored procedure we just created.
  3. Now find your stored proc and drag it on the datasource pane. You will see parameters UI as below. You can create new parameter - Select New Parameter under Value Column. Parameterize Tableau Salesforce datasource (Stored Procedure Parameters)
  4. Thats it now you can reuse your parameterized datasource anywhere in Dashboard.
  5. If you have need to select Parameters from predefined values rather than free text then edit your parameter and select List option. Define values you like to select from as below. Allow Tableau Parameter selection from multiple values
  6. When you create Tableau Dashboard you will see Parameter dropdown (If you selected List) elase you may see Textbox to enter custom value. Tableau Dashboard Example - REST API Source with Parameterized Datasource

Firewall settings

So far we have assumed that Gateway is running on the same machine as SQL Server. However there will be a case when ZappySys ODBC PowerPack is installed on a different machine than SQL Server. In such case you may have to perform additional Firewall configurations. On most computers firewall settings wont allow outside traffic to ZappySys Data Gateway. In such case perform following steps to allow other machines to connect to Gateway.

Method-1 (Preferred)

If you are using newer version of ZappySys Data Gateway then adding firewall rule is just a single click.

  1. Search for gateway in start menu and open ZappySys Data Gateway.
  2. Go to Firewall Tab and click Add Firewall Rule button like below. This will create Firewall rule to all Inbound Traffic on Port 5000 (Unless you changed it). Allow Inbound Traffic - Add Firewall Rule for ZappySys Data Gateway

Method-2 Here is another way to add / edit Inbound Traffic rule in windows firewall. Use below method if you choose to customize your rule (for advanced users).
  1. Search for Windows Firewall Advanced Security in start menu.
  2. Under Inbound Rules > Right click and click [New Rule] >> Click Next
  3. Select Port on Rule Type >> Click Next
  4. Click on TCP and enter port number under specified local port as 5000 (use different one if you changed Default port) >> Click Next
  5. Select Profile (i.e. Private, Public) >> Click Next
  6. Enter Rule name [i.e. ZappySys Data Gateway – Allow Inbound ] >> Click Next
  7. Click OK to save the rule
SQL Server Firewall Allow Inbound Data Gateway


In this article we discussed how to connect to Salesforce in Tableau and integrate data without any coding. Click here to Download Salesforce Connector for Tableau and try yourself see how easy it is. If you still have any question(s) then ask here or simply click on live chat icon below and ask our expert (see bottom-right corner of this page).

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