Drag and Drop Labels in Tableau - Part 2 - Measure Label

by Liu Zhang
Tip Jar
Photo by Sam Dan Truong / Unsplash

Continue from the previous post, we will have a look at the the indication that Tableau offers when we drag and drop a Measure label into the view.

Similar to dimension labels, we need to remember: green labels create axes

Drag a measure label will give green color

Notice the measure is being aggregated in the view. Tableau's default treatment of measure labels are always in aggregation and shown as a bar chart.

If we drag another measure into the Rows shelf, we will introduce another axis, hence we will have a scatter plot.

Notice the data is aggregated, so to see more points, we need to drag something into the Marks card to break down the aggregation.

Every option except Tooltip will break down the points

Note: A Measure label onto a Measure label is a bit more complicated, we will do it in a separate blog post, Part 3.

Now we can play with various combination between dimension label and measure labels.

Measure label with dimension label:

Drag position

If we drag a measure label onto a dimension label, we will create axis within headers.


Note: Tableau will always position dimension label ahead measure label in the shelf. If we try to drag dimension label onto of the measure label, we will break the axis with headers.

Measure label with against dimension label:


We will have header in one, axis in the other, i.e. we will build a standard bar chart.


When you are not sure which shelf should you place your labels, those little indication will help you visualize the result. Trial and error is feasible with a small data set to figure out the correct way to position a label, but it will become an issue when the data set is large or live data from server where every action will create a server request and slow speed is inevitable.

Dragging a dimension measure with 3 millions entries into the shelf without thinking will likely cause Tableau to either freeze or crash, an experience learned from the hard way. So when handle a big data set, think wisely.

Looking for more guides, tips and tricks in Tableau or Alteryx? Go check out the other blog posts from the Data School.

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