Navigate your map: Handy map tools in Tableau

by Clare Fox

Hovering over a map in Tableau, a few different icons appear in the top left which help us navigate the map with ease.  For a long time, I never explored these icons and their functions, as it turns out they are extremely useful!

Geographical Search

If you click the magnifying glass icon at the top, a search bar appears.  This allows us to search for locations on the map.  When you start typing in the search bar, Tableau will automatically come up with suggestions below.

You can search for:

  • Continents
  • Countries
  • States or provinces
  • Counties
  • Cities
  • Postcodes

When you’ve found the location you’re looking for, hit enter and Tableau will pan and zoom to the location on the map, bringing us on to…


Clicking on the plus and minus buttons allows us to zoom in and out on the map.

Fix /Reset Map

This icon will look different depending on whether all your data points are in the view or if you have zoomed into specific ones. Once you’ve zoomed in the axes of your map will be fixed and the icon will look like this.  To reset this so that you can view all the data on the map again, hit this button:

Zoom Area

If you want to zoom to a specific area, use this tool. Click on it and then drag to create an area on the map you wish to zoom in to.


You can also pan across the map using this tool.  Hover over the arrow on the tool bar and select the pan tool, then click and drag across the map to pan.

Selection Tools

Tableau also offers three different selection tools in this menu to select specific data points. This is useful when we want to use a group of data points on the map to filter dashboards . These selection tools are:

Rectangular Selection

Click and drag to select data points within a rectangle on the map.

Radial Selection

This tools allows us to make a radial selection. Similar to the rectangular selection, once this option is selected, we can click and drag on the map to utilise this.

If we are zoomed in enough on the map, a particularly useful feature of this selection tool is that it can show us the distance of the radius.

Lasso Selection

The lasso selection allows us to draw a selection area free hand on the map. Again, all we need to do is select this tool in the tool bar, then click and drag to draw.

© 2022 The Information Lab Ltd. All rights reserved.