Tiny Tableau Tip: how to use a colour palette with a dummy field

by Hanna Nykowska

There were a few blog posts on dealing with colours in Tableau, but how can you use the saved colour palettes without picking the screen colour or copying the hex codes? Keep on reading.

Whenever you want to change a colour of the marks but you don’t have any field on the colour, this is what you end up with:

If you click on More colors… you will see a colour picker (1):

not a list of custom colour palettes (2):

So how do you go from (1) to (2)?

1. Create a dummy field

You can either create an ad-hoc calculation on the marks card. Double-click on the empty space on the Marks card and just type in:


This will automatically assign it to detail.

The alternative is to create a calculated field, call it whatever you like (eg. Dummy) and type in as above.

2. Put the dummy field on Color

Whichever method you’re using (ad-hoc or saved calculation), drag it onto Color.

3. Choose a colour from a colour palette

Now, you can go to Color -> Edit Colors and you end up with (2)!


There’s something to have in mind, whenever you’re using an ad-hoc calculations with colours, the colour palette will default to automatic palette when uploaded on Server. The walkaround is to save the calculation and problem solved 🙂

For continuous options (don’t know why would you want that), use 0 instead of .


Hanna Nykowska

Fri 24 May 2019

Thu 23 May 2019

Sun 19 May 2019