Dazzling Tableau Dashboards

December 12, 2019


Steps for Building Better Looking Dashboards

Don’t get us wrong, Tableau default dashboards look pretty right out of the box. But, like anything pre-built, they are limited. If you want truly professional looking dashboards, you can do better.

In this webinar recording we take you beyond Tableau default formats. We show you step-by-step instructions for how to create high-impact dashboards—visualizations that are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to understand.

Learn how to

  • Add a custom color pallet and have it as a default property
  • Show details on demand to avoid clutter—viz in Tooltip and hide parameters and filters
  • Use the new Explain Data feature to go from “what happened” to “why did it happen”





Monica Van Loon
Trainer & Consultant
Senturus, Inc.

Monica brings more than 20 years of experience in IT and information services to her multi-faceted role at Senturus. She is a frequent contributor to both the Senturus Tableau blogs and the Tableau community forums. She is also one of our Tableau trainers who teaches classes on Tableau Desktop and Tableau server. Monica’s specialties include database design and data modeling for Tableau, Tableau with Salesforce, business analytics, SQL and Oracle database.


  • What I learned using Tableau
    • The defaults don’t always cut it
    • Some things are just not intuitive
    • Options can be hidden behind layers of menus
    • New Releases = new features (it’s hard to keep up)
    • Learning Tableau is a process
  • Key dashboard design principles
    • Avoid visual clutter
    • Incorporate color wisely and consistently
    • Consider using corporate fonts and colors
    • Make sure important information stands out
    • Top down approach—details on demand
    • Always be comparing (ABC)
  • Defaults can be boring
  • Adding color (don’t over do it) – demo
  • Build a better dashboard – demo
  • Bonus tip: Explain Data
    • Discover the “why” behind data anomalies
    • Who has access to Explain Data?
    • On Tableau Server — Creators and Explorers
    • All Tableau Desktop users
  • Explain Data – good to know
    • Explain Data only works on a single data source
    • Eliminate (hide) extraneous fields for improved performance and clarity of explanations
    • Granularity of the data is important
    • Data should have facts and dimensions (not just order amounts but details like where, when, who)
  • Adding color to dashboards – demo
    • Add color to indicate net change
    • Add corporate colors and fonts
  • Custom colors and publishing – good to know
    • What happens if you want to publish to Tableau Server?
    • Your custom colors are viewable in the workbook published Tableau Server
    • FYI—when creating a new a workbook on Tableau Server custom colors are not available by default
    • Workaround—assign custom colors to data elements, then publish data source to server—use the published data source for building new worksheets
  • Details on demand – demo + avoid visual clutter
    • Top down approach:
      • Only provide details when asked for
      • Only show filters when needed
      • Viz in a tooltip
      • Old way – lots of filters and parameters
      • New way – parameters and filters can be hidden