Through the Tableau training in our second week in the Data School, I found two tips that are easy yet very useful to make my viz more vivid and engaging: creating my own colour palette and adding customised icons/shapes.


Create New Colour Palette

By default, Tableau already has many options for regular, ordered-sequential, and ordered-diverging colour palettes, depending on the type of data you are colouring. But what if we want to use different colours that are not already built-in to better match the topic of the viz? Tableau allows us to build our own colour palettes with custom palette names. This can be done by adding colours’ hex codes in the Preferences file under My Tableau Repository folder. For example, I can add two custom colour palettes called “Regular Demo” and “Diverging Practice” like shown below.


There are two websites that are very useful for creating custom colour palettes. With Colours, we can put a picture onto the canvas and capture whatever colours we like from that picture. The next step is to copy the colours’ hex codes in XML. This can be directly used in updating Preferences file in My Tableau Repository.

Another extremely handy website is Coolors. Here we can generate and explore almost any kinds of colours combination.


Add Customised Icons

Similar to adding new colour palettes, we can also add customised icons by creating new folders under Shapes folder in My Tableau Repository. For instance, I can add a folder named “Icons” with my own series of new shapes. Then when I edit shape in Tableau, I should be able to find this new shape palette in the drop down menu.



flaticon is a great resource for finding any types of icons. You can add a series of icons in similar style to your own collection. Then download them altogether as your new shape palette. Or just search any icon you need and add to an existing palette.

With these two tips, you can easily make your Tableau viz more interesting and appealing!


Ming-Hsuan Lee
Author: Ming-Hsuan Lee