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Tableau Essentials Formatting Tips – Labels

Not everyone is a Tableau guru, at least not yet. To help Tableau rookies, were starting from square one with the Tableau Essentials blog series. The series is intended to be an easy-to-read reference on the basics of using Tableau Software, particularly Tableau Desktop. Since there are so many cool features to cover in Tableau, the series will include several different posts.

Today, were going to cover labels and some of the tricks and tips you can use with your visualization. To start, lets take a simple horizontal bar chart.

Our bar chart shows the penetration of Internet usage of countries with 200 million people or more. Now, lets click on theShow Mark Labelsbutton in the toolbar at the top of the Tableau interface.

By default, Tableau will label your marks with the primary measure in theRowshelf:

If you have a densely packed visualization, like a packed bubble chart, then Tableau will selectively show some labels to avoid the labels being too cluttered and possibly overlapping each other.

The first thing well do is format our labels. Click on theLabelbutton on theMarkscard.

This will bring up theLabeloption menu:

The first checkbox is the same as the toolbar button,Show Mark Labels. The next section,Label Appearance, controls the basic appearance and formatting options of the label. Well return to the first field,Text, in just a moment. The font and alignment control the stylistic elements:

And theAlignmentmenu is depicted here:

Lets make our labels bold and red, and lets also change the direction.

Heres how our revisions look on the visualization:

Lets add some additional measures to our labels. You can do this by dragging measures directly onto theLabelbutton. Since there is no label specifically defined and Tableau is using the default, we have to start by dragging and dropping the primary measure else any other measure that we drag and drop will replace our current label. Then, we can add additional measures.

We have added three different measures to the label, indicated on theMarkscard with theABC 123icon next to each. Now, each of those three fields will appear on the visualization, like so:

Lets go back to thatTextfield on the label button menu. Clicking on thebutton next to it will bring up theEdit Labelwindow.

You can use this window to format the style of your labels very specifically or even use it to insert additional fields from your visualization with theInsertdrop-down menu. The red X at the end will clear the formatting (but not your labels). You can even manually enter text into the text box.

Lets change some of the formatting like this (as well as changing back the direction of our text on theAlignmentmenu):

All of our formatting and changes to our labels makes our visualization look like this:

Now, you can see that our horizontal bar chart is much more informative and compelling than how we originally started. By making the primary measure more prominent, we kept the main message of our story but now with some additional information that really adds another level of detail.

Finding the right mix and blend of labels in your visualization will take a bit of an artists touch. There is no perfect formula to determine when youve hit the sweet spot between readability and too much clutter. Let us know if you have any questions or thoughts on labels!

Below is a complete list of Formatting Tips posts that can help you transform your vizzes into works of arts. Check back frequently for new additions.

Want to learn more about Tableau? We have several posts outlining all of Tableaus fantastic features. Check out the full list on ourTableau Essentials blog channel.

As always, let us know if you have any questions or comments about this post or Tableau in general. If youre looking for personalized training or help with something bigger, contact us directly!

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Introduction

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types The Text Table

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Heat Map

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Highlight Table

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Symbol Map

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Filled Map

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Pie Chart

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Horizontal Bar Chart

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Stacked Bar Chart

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Side-by-Side Bar Chart

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Treemap

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Circle View

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Side-by-Side Circle View

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Line Charts (Continuous Discrete)

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Dual-Line Chart (Non-Synchronized)

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Area Charts (Continuous Discrete)

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Scatter Plot

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Histogram

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Box-and-Whisker Plot

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Gantt Chart

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Bullet Graph

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types Packed Bubbles

Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips Introduction

Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips Custom Shapes

Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips Labels

Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips Color

Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips Tooltips

Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips Maps

Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields Introduction

Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields Logical Functions

Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields Number Functions

Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields Date Functions

Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields String Functions

Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields Type Conversion

Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields Aggregate Functions

Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields User Functions

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See You in London for Tableau Conference Europe 2018

PYD58 Tableau Community With Patrick Van Der Hyde

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