Adding shapes to your visualisaitons can really enhance the story that you want to tell. Tableau has a preset library of shapes that your can use however, it is quite limited. There maybe situations where you want to show location of McDonald restaurants around an area, and rather than using basic square or rectangle it is far better to use the logo itself.

The process is quite simple, so lets just set everything up. Using the superstore data drag the ‘Profit’ on to the column view, and the ‘City’ to the row view and you should get something like this:

To get the desired shape in the ‘Marks’ pane, choose ‘Shapes’ from the drop down list. Then you should have an option called ‘Shape’:

Clicking on this will give you a range of options, and clicking on ‘More Shapes…’ is the key to accessing your very own custom shapes. Before that lets find an image for our shape. I have just found a .png file for the McDonalds. After you have downloaded the picture, navigate to ‘Documents’ (or wherever the folder ‘My Tableau Repository’ is stored, in my case its ‘Documents’) > My Tableau Repository (folder) > Shapes (folder), before you save the picture make a new folder (within the ‘Shapes’ folder) then save the image.

Back to Tableau, click on ‘More Shapes…’:

And you will be greeted with this window:

Now in the ‘Select Shape Palette’ drop down list find the folder that you created with the image file saved, then click ‘Apply’. And now you should have something like this:

This example was a very simple demonstration but the principle applies to any other shape that you want to add.

The Data School
Author: The Data School