Its Day three of dashboard week and the data for today’s challenge is the Superstore data… Yes, that is the infamous tableau default dataset. However, today’s focus was around graphic design and trying to make the dashboard as ‘un-tableau’ as possible. I really enjoyed this exercise and I learnt lots of styling tricks to make a dashboard that extra bit slicker. Here are a few of the most important:

Using a Hexagon Map

Using a hexagon map over the default tableau map has several advantages including:

  • All regions are the same size instead of the size of the area. This means that regions with small areas and not overlooked and conversely regions with large areas are not dominating the view.
  • Has a much cleaner contrast to the background.
  • Solves the Alaska problem – When a select few regions are far from the main cluster of regions (e.g., Alaska and Hawaii in American region data) this can distort the view when using a map.

For a more detailed tutorial on how to create a hexagon map, here is an article on the tableau website which I found extremely helpful : Hex-tile maps help eliminate the Alaska effect (



Do not use Default Tableau Fonts

The choice of fonts is critical and provides an additionally opportunity to convey a message to an audience even if they do not realise it.  For example, Serif fonts are traditional and respectable whilst Sont Serif fonts are cleaner and more modern. Since the dashboard I was designing was for a modern company, I decided to download and install the SontSerifFLF fonts. For more information on using custom fonts see the following link :

Do not use Default Tableau Radio Buttons

Instead use parameter actions and images to create a more visual ‘switch’. For, example in my dashboard there was a parameter that allowed the user to change between different metrics such as sales, profits etc. Through using dashboard actions, any sheet can be used to update the parameter if one of the details is the same as one of the values of the parameter. The contents of this sheet are now also flexible to the developer.

That is all for now – I hope these styling tricks will improve the aesthetics of your dashboard!

Jamie Ferreira
Author: Jamie Ferreira