Installing Tableau Desktop

This is a guide to installing and running Tableau Desktop on your personal computer. Please note that all computers in the Map and Data Library (on the fifth floor of Robarts) and in the computer labs on the fourth and fifth floors of Robarts Library already have Tableau Desktop installed.

Tableau Desktop is a commercial program used to create data visualizations and interactive dashboards. This tutorial assumes that you are student, instructor or researcher at the University of Toronto, and can thus request a free, renewable, one-year license for Tableau Desktop from Tableau. If you are a member of the public, please consider using Tableau Public instead, which is free.

  1. Go to
    Note: This guide will assume that you are a student, but instructors and researchers (even those who do not teach) have access to free copies of Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder, Tableau’s data cleaning program. Here is the link for instructors and researchers. The pop up form is similar to the student one described below, but additionally asks "I plan to use Tableau Desktop for..." Under that popup, you can select "Teaching only," "Noncommercial academic research only," or both. Select the option that fits your needs best. You do not need to be an instructor to get a copy.

  2. Click on Get Tableau for Free.
    Tableau for Students official page

  3. A web form will pop up. Complete all of the requested information, using your official University of Toronto email address ( or

  4. Under School Name, start typing University of Toronto, and select the University of Toronto option when prompted.
    Form with example data filled in, and University of Toronto highlighted under School Information

  5. When the form asks you How will you be using your Tableau license, specify Learning on own unless you are specifically requesting it as part of a class.
    Drop down menu for How will you be using your Tableau license?

  6. Next, click on Verify Student Status.
    Tableau student verification form, with Verify using school credentials highlighted

    It will ask you for your UTORid and password to complete the verification process.

    Note: this form does not work correctly on some mobile devices or on certain browsers. We recommend Chrome.
    Also, for some students, the option to "Verify using school credentials" will not work. If that is the case, one solution is to go to ACORN, click on "Transcript & Enrolment Confirmation," and follow the instructions underneath "Confirmation of Enrolment Letter." Then, submit this letter on the Tableau Student page using "Verify with Document Review".

  7. You should receive an email from Tableau to your official University of Toronto email address within an hour.
    It may come from SheerID, the service Tableau uses to verify your student status. If it doesn’t appear, be sure to check your junk mail. If you still haven’t received the email after a couple hours, feel free to reach out to Tableau’s support staff.
    Sample email with product key and download links

  8. In the email, first select the product key and copy it. Then, click on the link to download the latest version of Tableau Desktop.

  9. Save the installer to your harddrive and follow all installation instructions.

  10. When prompted, paste in the license key to activate your one year license of Tableau.

  11. If there are no prompts for the license key, you can manually input it. You can do this by first clicking on 'Help'.

      Finding the 'Help' button on Tableau's homepage.    

      Following this, please click on 'Manage Product Keys...'. 

    Finding the 'Manage Product Keys...' on Tableau's homepage.

Once here, you will see the default trial key (14 day trial).  You will need to replace this with the product key given to you in Step 7. To do this, please click on 'Activate...'.

    Finding the "Activate..." button in "Manage Product Keys..."

Proceed by clicking the first option, which is 'Activate with a product key'. Please copy and paste the product key that was given to you. Upon returning to 'Manage Product Keys...' , you will see that the dates associated with License and Maintenance Expires would have updated  to a year after activation.

   Finding where to input your Product Key

Voila! Remember to update Tableau as new versions come out. In a year’s time, you can use this same process to get a new license key and renew Tableau Desktop.