Tableau: picking a single color from your favorite palette

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Some days you want to use lots of color, other days you just want one color. But it has to be a specific one, that special shade of blue you have saved in one of you regular color palettes in Tableau but which you don’t know the rgb or hex code of.


Yes, you could take a screenshot of it, shrink the Tableau Desktop window, hover the two next to each other and use the color picker to select the color from your screenshot and use it in your Tableau viz.

Or you can do the easy, ‘lazy’ approach I follow, which all happens inside of Tableau.

Six simple steps:

  1. Create a simple viz, e.g. a bar chart


  2. Double click in the marks card area to create a new calculated field


  3. Enter a simple string expression (e.g. ‘swim’) and hit enter


  4. Drag the newly created field (blue pill) onto color


  5. Select the color palette you’d like to use from the list of available palettes


  6. Pick your favorite color and click OK


When I posted this tip on Twitter, Rody Zakovich kindly pointed out that in order for this color to persist when publishing to Tableau Public, you will have to drag your new field into your dimensions pane and save it.

Thanks Rody for the tip!

(I tend to use this approach when doing some quick ad hoc visualisations which I don’t publish, so I hadn’t come across this issue yet)

I hope you find this useful. Happy #vizzing!

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