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Making tableau charts with interesting shapes and images.


As we all know tableau is a tool used for data visualization for a given dataset for analysis and creating deep insights.

What are filters in Tableau

Filters are a powerful tool for the data explorer. It allows you to use shapes in charts to make your data even easier and to mine . Tableau is fairly straightforward  with one small trick that is being used to understand this feature. When you use custom shapes as filters, they become much more approachable and user-friendly.

Default Shapes in Tableau

In the Marks card in Tableau, there are many different options given to the developers on how they want data to be displayed. One of the option is the Shapes. When you click down, on the drop down in the marks card, you will see different options. When you drag a field to the different areas of the Marks card, different results will show up in your worksheet because your default setting is Automatic. Tableau will determine what type of Mark is best for your field. If you do not like the default selection or if you’re going for a more specific representation of your data, you can select the drop down on your Marks card to choose how you want your data to be displayed . 

Figure 1

Once you’ve dragged your field onto the marks card, select Shape in the drop down. Now select what type you want to represent your data. If you drag a dimension to the shape Mark, then the different values within your Dimension will be represented with different shapes. We can see some of the shape option that Tableau provides in below. 


Adding custom shapes to Tableau 

The first step in creating custom shapes in tableau is by creating your own shapes or downloading the shapes from the free websites. These can be images of anything you need for your data, branding images or simple geometric shapes.

The custom shapes  are added by downloading an image to your computer and saving it in a particular folder.  The appropriate folder to save your custom shape image file is to "my Tableau repository".

This folder is created when you download Tableau. And it's within this folder we can find the lot of Tableau customization, including custom shapes. The figure 3 shows the folder  “my Tableau Repository”.

Figure 3

Once the shapes have been added to Tableau repository it is automatically added to the  shapes under custom folder in your Tableau repository.

The figure 4 shows the shapes field under marks highlighted in yellow.

Figure 4

The below figure5 shows the custom images that has been added to shapes under custom field in your Tableau.

Figure 5

These Custom shape filters can help simplify busy dashboards with multiple charts and views. They provide users an intuitive means of interaction and add a new pictorial element to the dashboard.

Now let us see how the custom shapes enhance the visualization of the data. Here are the data visualization created for representing gender category. This chart can be represented in two ways either by differentiating colors for male and female or inserting our custom shape image. But let's see how we add both colors and shapes to create a visual treat.

The figure 6 shows the female field is selected for pink female image and the male field is selected for blue male image. This is highlighted in yellow.

Figure 6

Once the shapes that are assigned to the chosen field , you can see the shapes that are added to your data visualization charts. Now the figure 7 will show the charts that has been added with custom shapes to differentiate the gender.

Figure 7

This is how the custom shapes are inserted into tableau for data visualization .The customization is available to help better inform your reader and over involving custom shapes can convolute your end visualization and hinder your end-user from interpreting the data correctly and efficiently. It is best practice to always check Tableau's shapes before importing custom shapes; years of research have gone into Tableau's selection of custom shapes based on industry best practices.

Also i would like to provide some free website link to download custom shapes for the Tableau,

Reference link

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Well done !!!


Feb 17
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Nice demonstration of the Tableau features using the custom images.

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