Tableau Tip Tuesday: An easy way to keep your formatting

by Samuel Shurmer

I was recently at the London TUG (Tableau User Group), where I was presented with a tip by Corey Jones, a 2018 iron viz finalist, that can make significant speed and ease when building highly formatted tables. While there are some blogs on this already, it is a tip that should be on as many blogs as possible.

Often you need to swap fields, but this can cause an issue that you will lose the current formatting set up, something that is surprisingly useful when changing fields on the fly or you’re not sure which fields you are using in the view but need a quick mock-up.

Currently, to change these fields you would replace the pill in the following method, but this would cause you to lose the current formatting (it reverts back to the workbook default):

Everyone loves comic sans, except Tableau, it seems

However, there is a way round this, without the need to remember exactly what you had done.

It’s quite a simple workaround, but one that very few seem to know.

So, if you have a Table within Tableau formatted like this:

A beautiful Table, cause that is what Tableau is for, right

As the GIF from the beginning shows, changing out the pills will revert back to the original; however, to get around this you changing the pills with the method below will let you continue to enjoy the glorious Comic Sans:

Now Tableau likes Comic Sans

So, it’s simple really.

Formatting doesn’t seem to format the field on the shelf itself; but instead formats the pill (as in the container of the field, the outer shell) on the shelf.

This, however, is removed when the pill itself is removed from the shelf. This gives off the conclusion that a new pill is created when inserted onto the shelves (though there is no conclusive opinion on this within the Tableau Community at the time of writing).

Hope you have all learnt something from this, it is a great method to keep formatting consistent, and even better if you need to change things in a rush, but that never happens in Data Vizulization…