Using the legend to set highlight colours; permanently.

by Samuel Shurmer

Quite often on Tableau, I find myself using highlighters to find or follow a value, or just allow myself to get to grips with how the data is structured and some basic facts from within the data. However, there are cases when you might envisage this as being part of your dashboard, or story, to highlight trends across values within the data set.

Nicely Highlighed

Currently, what most Tableau users would do is create a colour palette from scratch to work with this, find my previous blog on creating custom colour palettes here, or make it themselves using the legend. This, however, is quite a cumbersome process and can take out the other colours that you had assigned earlier on. Fortunately, last week Coach Andy taught us a better way…

And, it really couldn’t have been much simpler.

After dropping your desired field onto the colour mark, after which Tableau will also generate a legend (by default this is on the right-hand side). To change colours normally you would double click on the desired colour and update accordingly, like the below example.

Nice & Simple to change

However, as explained earlier, to change all of these to PERMENANTLY highlight certain marks would be an extremely long process. So, I’ll quickly explain the steps to get there;

Firstly, move over to the legend, where ever yours may be, and select the desired colour (or colours by holding ctrl (or cmd on Mac)) that you want to highlight.

This will create something looking like this:

Colour selectd, but if i click off it will go

To keep this permanent, right click while the desired marks are selected and select “assign highlight colours as permanent” and Voilà, just like that when you remove the “selection” you will see the highlighting is permanent.

Nice and Easy

Its as simple as that.