Inspiration for this post came from doing replications of visualisations from Craig Dewar. Whilst everyone in my cohort could get the final solution, what very few of us could do was to format correctly. One of the issues was shading and how to make the graph/viz colourful.

Before I go into detail with how to do shading correctly, it is import to know the key terms Tableau alludes to when it says Worksheet, Pane and header. Below is an image as to what they mean

If we colour the sheet using the colours used above the result is this:

Tableau Sheet Coloured

Now that we know what pane and headers mean, we can discuss the use of shading

To achieve rows or columns to be separated by colour we use the row and header banding. Band size dictates how often the shading is repeated, with the level applying to how deep the shading should go. With the shading set to 0 nothing will happen. But if you change the row sizing to 1, then shading will be applied to each row for a given level. With a level of 0 the rows are coloured by the dimension that appears first on the rows tab. With a higher level, tableau goes down each pill on the rows and divides it by that instead, and so on for each row-level increase. With the GIF below I show the row-level at 0 first to indicate that the shading should apply to the region level with the banding applying every 1, then 2, then 3, and so on rows.

Row shading trumps header shading, so be careful, as too many colours on one sheet can make things look unsightly.

GIF of Row shading

The same can also be done with Column Banding, as shown below. Try to remember that the size refers to how often the shading should repeat, so at the highest level with the shading on the number of records column, it look like its just that column that is to be shaded, but if there were 6 more columns then the shading would repeat on that too.

Column Banding Tableau

That’s pretty much it with regards to shading in tableau. Colours can be changed as you want them to be. Plus this shading also applies to other types of visualisation and not just cross-tabulations like shown in this blog. Furthermore, if one clicks on the gridlines option in the formatting you can use lines to separate your data, instead of colour using the exact same method above.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.