Tableau Save as Previous Version feature
February 20, 2017
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Save for previous versionTableau Software is an R&D heavy company, they’re just continuously throwing new features and releasing new versions. But what if some of our colleagues or clients are still not upgraded to the latest Tableau Desktop version? How can we share our superb new workbook? XML Hacking? Jeff’s converter tool?

Forget all. Tableau Desktop can do it out of the box.

UPDATE: Two months after publishing this post from version 10.2.1 Tableau Software removed the DebugMenu command line option. So from here this is history.

Tableau Save as Previous Version

The “Save as version…” option is included in the DebugMenu, you just need to enable this hidden gem when you’re starting Tableau.

Save for previous version

Enable DebugMenu in OSX

The steps are easy:

  1. open a console (well, I hope it is always open).
  2. type open -a Tableau --args -DDebugMenu  and hit enter
  3. a wild DEBUG menu item fill appear

You can also add this paremeter to your Dock item. See for details.

Enable DebugMenu is Windows

Just start Tableau.exe with -DDebugMenu  command line option. You can also add it as an option to the desktop shortcut to enable debug menu all the time:

Enable DebugMenu on Windows

Enable DebugMenu on Windows

Debug menu does not have any negative effect, you can keep it enabled all the time.

Does it work? Does not? Let me know so I can help you.


Tamás Földi

Tamás Földi

Director of IT Development at Starschema
Decades of experience with data processing and state of the art programming. From nuclear bomb explosion simulation to distributed file systems. ethical hacking, real time stream processing practically I always had a great fun with those geeky ones and zeros.
Tamás Földi
  • Sean

    hi – thanks so much for this excellent tip. I’m trying to “downgrade” a 10.1 file to version 10.0. Unfortunately, the “Save as Version” looks exactly as your screenshot does — starting with v 9.3, and then heading older from there. any tips for getting to 10.0? I might experiment with saving as 9.3 and then reopening with 10.0 when I get the chance.

    • Ah ok, 10.0. You can do it with simple vizql command. Try open script window and find “save workbook” command. Add file name and target version, and press ok. I will complete my blogpost with that one as well.

      • Sean

        Thanks for this Tamas – I’d love to see an example written up in your blogpost, as I found the “save-workbook” command but I can’t get the command to run successfully. May be an issue with my filename structure – do you know the convention for that input? thanks again!!

  • Jerry Lobo

    This works!!!!! Awesome trick!! I am always cautious when i used to hack the XML but this seems so flexible

  • Madhura Dighe

    I’m trying to downgrade from 10.1.4 to 9.0. Tried every possible way its not working. Any suggestions?

  • Tim

    I can’t seem to get the DEBUG menu to show up in Windows on either 64-bit version 10.1 or 10.2. I’ve tried running it through the command line (c:Program FilesTableauTableau 10.2bin>tableau.exe -DDebugMenu) and through editing the shortcut path (Target = “C:Program FilesTableauTableau 10.2bintableau.exe” -DDebugMenu”) to no avail. Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

    • for the shortcut try to remove the trailing double quote, it seems you typed three instead of two

      for command line, hmm, for it works for both 10.1 and 10.2 (tableau.exe -DDebugMenu). I will try to make a quick video with one of these versions and upload it

      • Tim

        Thanks. A couple of colleagues were able to get it to work with their machines using the same version and build, but I still couldn’t do it following the same steps. I’m thinking it is something related to my computer, or Tableau installation. I’ll uninstall, then reinstall and try again.

        • Mike Gibbons

          Did reinstalling work? I am following the same steps and not able to get it to work.

          • Tim

            Nope. I’m stumped. But given Tamas’ comment in the thread above about the feature being removed from newer versions, I guess this is all moot.

          • I found an easy way to bypass Tableau’s attempt to block DebugMenu. Let me ask them if I can publish it. I can confirm that it works for the newer versions as well.

          • jj91709

            Hi Tamas, are you able to share how to do this? Thanks!

  • Mike Gibbons

    I can’t get the debug menu to show up in Windows 10 for Tableau 10.2.1 64 bit version either. I have tried both the shortcut and launching from prompt. Any idea of other steps? My shortcut is as shown below:

    “C:Program FilesTableauTableau 10.2bintableau.exe” tableau.exe -DDebugMenu

    Also launching from prompt as shown below:

    C:Program FilesTableauTableau 10.2bin> start tableau -DDebugMenu

    Neither is displaying a debug menu.

    • You should try in the shortcut:

      “C:Program FilesTableauTableau 10.2bintableau.exe” -DDebugMenu

      or in command prompt:

      C:Program FilesTableauTableau 10.2bin> tableau.exe -DDebugMenu

      Let me know if these help or not

      • Mike Gibbons

        Hey Tamas. Thank you for the reply. I tried both and neither are working.

        • Can you share your Tableau version and build number ? (help/about). I will check with that specific version/build and let you know.

          • Mike Gibbons

            10.2.1 (10200.17.0328.0755) 64-bit. Thank you again for all of your help.

          • Yes, you’re right. Tableau removed the DebugMenu feature from newer versions… It might be related with my blog post as this was released in February while Tableau 10.2.1 was released in April.

            Sorry then, I’ll check what can I do

          • Mike Gibbons

            Ahhh makes sense. At least I feel better about it not working and me not being an idiot =) Thanks again man, appreciate you taking a look.

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