So far, we’ve created vizzes with Tableau’s existing presets and learned how to use the Marks Card to change certain properties. This can create helpful and informative visualizations, but to take our visual communication to the next level, we can change up the default settings for a custom look.

Thoughtful formatting choices when it comes to font, color, spacing, and placement make a big difference to the final presentation. Using the same bar chart we created in the prior lesson, let’s explore some of the adjustments available to us in Tableau.

NOTE: while custom fonts can make a huge visual impact, keep in mind that they may not show up for viewers who don’t have fonts downloaded. The safest fonts are those in the Tableau font family, and any that are considered web safe (example workbook here).

Adjust the default chart title:
Right click `Sheet 1` and select Edit Title to adjust the font, size, weight, color, and alignment.

Adjust Title

Adjust worksheet, axes, and tooltip fonts:
Click Format on the top menu, and navigate to Font to adjust the properties. We can choose which sections to apply these changes to.

Format Font

Adjust other chart properties:
On the same Format Font menu, navigate to the other icons:

Other Icons

From left to right: change alignment, shading, borders, and lines. (Feel free to click around and undo if you don’t like the change.)

Adjust Axes
Right click on the axis of interest to adjust the range, scale, title, and tick marks. (Feel free to click around and undo if you don't like the change.)

Adjust Axes

Adjust Legends:
If your chart has a legend, right click and select Format Legends to adjust.

Adjust Legends

The number of options might seem overwhelming, but never fear: the next exercise will help us to design with an audience and story in mind!


  1. Now that we’ve discovered the world of adjusting presets, let’s put our new customization skills to work. Customize the title of your viz. Try to use color and font style that speaks to the theme you want your visualization to convey.
  2. Adjust your axis titles: Rather than using the default data field names, change the axis titles so that they’re not too redundant, but give the viewer just enough context.
  3. Adjust your axes: You may also want to adjust the range to capture all of your data. For example, if the largest data point is 106.8, you may consider ending the range at a human-friendly number like 110 or 115.
  4. Change the background shading and fonts of the worksheet. Again, keep your theme in mind when making your choices. For example, in the movies dataset, we might want to incorporate a colorful palette and keep things fun. How does your new viz compare to your original? Do you think the changes made the viz more effective? How so?

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