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Can you add additional color palettes to Tableau?

Choosing the right colors for data visualizations is crucial for effectively communicating insights. The default color palettes in Tableau provide a good starting point, but you may want additional options to represent your brand, highlight important findings, or just make your viz more aesthetically pleasing.

Luckily, Tableau offers several ways to customize the colors used in your dashboards and worksheets. Here’s an overview of how to add new color palettes in Tableau.

Use Tableau’s Color Palettes

Tableau comes pre-loaded with a variety of color palettes you can choose from. To access these, click the ‘Colors’ icon in the ‘Analytics’ pane on the left side of the Tableau window. This will bring up the ‘Color Palette’ dialog box.

Here you can browse different color palette options organized into categories like ‘Classic Tableau’, ‘Color Blind’, ‘Diverging’, and more. Select a palette to see a preview of the colors. When you find one you like, click ‘Assign Palette’ to apply it to your viz.

Some popular preset palettes in Tableau include:

  • Green-Blue Diverging
  • Purple-Teal Diverging
  • Red-Blue Diverging
  • Orange-Blue Diverging
  • Sunrise
  • Mardi Gras
  • Fall Leaves
  • Jewel Bright

The colors update automatically, allowing you to cycle through different options until you find the right palette for your data.

Create a Custom Palette

If you don’t see a premade palette that meets your needs, you can create a custom color palette from scratch in Tableau. Here are the steps:

  1. Click the ‘Colors’ icon in the left pane and select ‘Create Palette’.
  2. Choose if you want a sequential, diverging, or qualitative palette.
  3. Click the color squares to open color pickers and select your desired hue and shade.
  4. Drag the squares to rearrange the order of colors.
  5. Give your custom palette a name and click ‘Save’ when finished.

You can add as many custom color palettes as you need. They will be available alongside the preset options any time you need to assign colors.

Import aPalette File

For greater customization, you can import a Tableau Palette (.tfl) file with colors tailored to your brand or project. There are a few ways to obtain a .tfl file:

  • Design your own palette in an application like Adobe Color and export as a .tfl
  • Ask your company’s design team if they have brand color palettes available
  • Search online for free .tfl files to download and import

To import a palette file:

  1. Save the .tfl file somewhere on your computer.
  2. In Tableau, go to ‘Colors’ > ‘Import Palette’.
  3. Navigate to and select the .tfl file.
  4. The custom palette will now be available to use.

Use Hex Codes

If you have specific hex color codes you want to use, you can input them directly into Tableau:

  1. Select a data point on theMarks card.
  2. Go to ‘Colors’ and choose ‘Edit Colors…’.
  3. Select the dropper icon next to the color square.
  4. Enter your hex code and click ‘Ok’.
  5. The custom color will apply to the selected marks.

Repeat this process for each color you want to define. It gives you the most granular control over the exact hues used in your viz.

Map Colors to Data

You can also customize colors in Tableau by mapping palette colors to data values. For example, you could map region names to specific hues to consistently associate a color with each region.

To map colors:

  1. Open the ‘Colors’ dialog box.
  2. Go to the ‘Map’ tab.
  3. Drag a data field to the ‘Color’ square.
  4. Modify the palette as desired.
  5. Click ‘Assign Palette’.

Now distinct colors from the palette will automap to each unique value in the data field.

Use Table Calculations

For advanced color customization, you can create table calculations that dynamically assign colors based on data values and logic. For example:

IF [Profit] > 50000 THEN #107C10
ELSEIF [Profit] 

This maps green to high profit values and red to negative profits. Table calculations give endless possibilities for color coding your viz.


With all of these options - preset palettes, custom designs, data mapping, and table calculations - you have full control over colors in Tableau. Start by trying the premade palettes, then get creative with custom options if you need more flexibility. Well-chosen colors that fit your brand and match your data will take your Tableau dashboards to the next level.

Color Palette Options in Tableau

Option How to Access Description
Preset palettes Colors icon > Color Palette Premade sequential, diverging and qualitative color palettes.
Create custom palette Colors icon > Create Palette Make a custom sequential, diverging or qualitative palette.
Import .tfl file Colors icon > Import Palette Import a Tableau Palette file with custom colors.
Hex codes Colors > Edit Colors Manually input specific hex color codes.
Map to data Colors > Map tab Dynamically map data values to colors.
Table calculations Analysis > Table Calculations Advanced logic to assign colors dynamically.

Benefits of Custom Color Palettes

Adding custom color palettes can provide the following benefits:

  • Consistent, recognizable colors that match your brand
  • Tailored visuals that make key insights stand out
  • Easier visualization of distinct data categories
  • Improved accessibility for color blind users
  • Unique styling that sets your dashboards apart
  • Enhanced aesthetic appeal and visual storytelling

The right colors make data more intuitive, memorable, and impactful. Whether you want to highlight trends, display alerts, encode differences, or add polish, custom color palettes give you the flexibility to get it exactly how you want.

Tips for Choosing Custom Colors

Follow these tips when selecting colors for Tableau visualizations:

  • Use diverging palettes to show Deviation from a center point
  • Use sequential palettes to show Progression from low to high
  • Ensure high contrast between colors
  • Limit the number of colors to avoid cognitive overload
  • Pick colors appropriately for color blindness
  • Add transparency to soften strong hues
  • Sample colors from your brand palette if available
  • Consider cultural meanings and connotations of colors

Test different options to determine what works best for your particular data story. The right palette can immediately direct focus and aid interpretation of the key takeaways.