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Tableau - Dashboard visualization standards

This document provides a set of standards collaboratively agreed upon to be used when building Tableau dashboards. Please use these as guidance in your development. While the document is based on Tableau, the concepts and ideas can be used in other tools as well.

Visual Item


Access to underlying data

Tableau defaults to using this when a tool tip is provided.  Turn this off unless requested.  Should use this sparingly and only when the dashboard is for a targeted audience such as a management who are data experts.  Not for general audiences.  Could contain data that should be secured further.


Use Actions when interactions between the graphs are needed (filters, highlights and URLs).  Actions are a filter within a filter.  For example, filter dashboard to 2015 and action selects male in a male/female data set.  Standard - don't have a filter and an action for the same piece of data.  Determine does it make sense for a piece of data to be globally filters or specific to a graph (action).


Titles:  center at top / Headers & Graphics - left justified


Font:  default / Visualizations:  color blind palette / Background:  default (white) / Overall amount of colors:  2 or 3 major colors at the most, may use various shades of those colors


Use when there are multiple graphs.  Tableau defaults to container use.

Data point labels

Only use when needed, not on all points or becomes too crowded.

Develop to screen (vs printing)

Standard is to develop to screen.


If many drills are needed, it may be more conducive to use a report.

Filters (drop-downs, radio buttons, etc.)

Drop-downs - across columns, collapsible (preferred type of filter regarding saving space). / Radio Buttons, Sliders - keep to a minimum


Use Tableau default font (Tableau Book), otherwise there are fonts that are best for being viewable on websites (see references on Tableau website

Global filters vs. chart level

Global - at top / Chart level - below global


Display only if needed and keep to a minimum, based on size of chart and available real estate.  Provide if not obvious from the visualization. Should use vertical over horizontal.

Logo (Public Affairs)

Default to no logo unless there is a specific need for it such as a shape file or a filter.

Number of metrics on a view

Four to five are recommended as maximum number.

Number of drills

No more than three drills. If more than three drills are needed, it may be more conducive to use a report.


Best to only use when the list of values being used is static.  Don't have dynamic parameters yet in Tableau.  Can't select multiple values.  Also works if you have multiple data sources.  Want to use it when you need a parameter passed on to a calculation/variable, like a prompt value.


Utilize when the users don't want to open separate dashboards in a workbook  Also consider performance in the case of users only wanting to see a particular set of visualizations and not wanting to sacrifice performance if they change a filter and the data has to refresh for all tabs.

Tool tips

Keep it minimal, brief and formatting should be simple.

Type of charts

From Tableau site -

Typical screen size

Gauge to primary users' screen size.  Keep in mind, mobile and other platforms.

Website links

Subject to requirements for help information or contact information.


Development Standards


Development Item


Creating a variable

Naming:  VAR_

Documenting a variable

When creating a variable, include a brief description (why it is there and how it is used).  Include source for variable, particularly when variables are using variables.

Mobile Standards

Mobile Item

Additional Detail

Utilize Story Points

o 350x600 for the story
o 320x460 for the dashboards
o Keep filters to a minimum – no more than 3 per dashboard and specific only to the charts within the dashboard (no global filters)

Always Use Range Sizing


Always Lock Pan and Zoom on Maps


Use Sheets as Filters Instead of Quick Filters


Stack content vertically


Use a ‘peek’ to indicate when more content is available by scrolling


Keywordsdashboard,visualization,standards, AITS, tableau   Doc ID88488
OwnerDimuthu T.GroupUniversity of Illinois System
Created2018-12-16 15:04:48Updated2020-01-06 13:05:45
SitesUniversity of Illinois System
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