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Tableau Tutorials

Format Text and Numbers

Whether you are changing the font size, position, color, or direction, Tableau gives a wide range of customization options for your text.

When you are making formatting changes at this level, they apply only to the view you are working on.

To access the worksheet-level format settings, select the Format menu, choose the part of the view, like Font, or Border, that you want to format.

Format fonts

Choose Format > Font. A Format Font control pane will open that will let you customize the text in the view.

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Edit worksheet titles, captions, and legend titles:

  1. Perform one of the following:
  • On Tableau Server/Tableau Online web editing, double-click on the item you want to change.
  • On Tableau Desktop, Right-click on the item you want to change and select Edit <item>, for instance, Edit Title.
  • On a worksheet, hover over the title, click the drop-down arrow on the right-hand side, and select the Edit Title or Edit Caption from the context menu.
  1. In the dialog box Edit, modify the text, and format the font, size, color, style, and alignment. Use the Insert menu for adding dynamic text like sheet properties and field values. Click on OK.

To reset the title back to the default, click Reset.

Format tiles and captions:

  1. On a worksheet, right-click the title, caption, or legend and select Format <item>—for example, Format Title.
  2. In the Format pane, use the drop-down lists to change the default shading or border.

Format Fields and Field Labels:

You can also format a specific field in a view, as well as individual field labels. When formatting is done in this way, your formatting changes are scoped to where the field appears in the view or only an individual label.

How to format a field?

In the view below, the Month(Order Date) field has been formatted so that the headers use the Tableau Semibold font in blue. Notice that the header values along the Profit axis are not affected.

To format a specific field:

  1. Right-click the field and select Format.

The Format pane opens to settings for the selected field.

  1. Make your changes in the Format pane. For discrete fields, such as Region or Customer Name, you can specify font and alignment properties for both header and pane areas. For continuous fields, such as Profit or Sales, you can format font properties for the pane and axis and number and tick mark colors.

Format Numbers and Null Values:

When you want to format a measure, you can specify the number format for both the axis and the pane text. You can also select from a set of standard formats, like number, scientific, currency, and percentage, or define a custom number format using Microsoft Excel-style format codes.

When a measure contains the null values, the nulls are usually plotted as zero. However, you can use formatting to handle the null values differently, such as hiding them.

For Tableau Desktop

Specify a number format

  1. Right-click a measure or axis in the view and select Format.
  2. In the Format pane, click on the Numbers drop-down menu.
  3. Select a number format. Some formats require some additional settings. For instance, if you select Scientific, you must also specify the number of decimal places.

Set the default number format for a field:

Right-click on the field available in the Data pane and select Default Properties > Number Format.

In the next dialog box, specify a number format to be used whenever the field is added to the view. The default number format is saved within the workbook and is exported when you export the connection information.

How to format a measure as currency?

The view in the below image shows profit over time. Notice that the profit figures on the vertical axis are not formatted as currency.

For formatting the numbers as currency:

  1. Right-click on the Profit axis and choose Format.
  1. On the Axis tab available in the Format pane, under Scale, select the Numbers drop-down list, and then choose one of the following:

Currency (Standard) for adding a dollar sign and two decimal places to the figures.

Use locale to specify number formats:

Tableau always uses your computer’s locale and language settings by default to format numbers. But you can explicitly specify a different locale in the Format pane.

The below steps show how to set Swiss German currency, using the same view.

  1. Right-click on the Profit axis and select Format.
  2. On the Axis tab, under options Scale, select the Numbers drop-down list and then choose Currency (Standard).
  3. In the drop-down list Locale, items appear in a Language (Country) format. For this instance, select German (Switzerland).

For formatting null values for a specific field:

  1. Right-click on the field in the view that has the null values and choose ‘Format’.
  2. Go to the Pane tab. 
  3. In the Special Values, specify whether to display the null values using an indicator available in the lower right corner, plot them on a default value (e.g., zero for number fields), hide the values but connect the lines, or hide and break lines to indicate that null values exist.
  1. If you specify the text in the Text field, it will appear in the view available for null values when the mark labels are turned on.

For Tableau Server or Tableau Online

Specify a number format

While authoring a view on the web, you can also specify the number format for a field used in the view.

  1. In web editing mode, right-click on a measure in the view and select Format Number.
  1. In the dialog box, select a number format.

Some formats provide additional settings. For instance, if you select Currency, you can also specify the number of decimal places and the units, and whether to include separators, like commas or not. In this instance, Sales is formatted as a Currency with zero decimal places and thousand units. Sales numbers in the view update with the above settings. Labels and tooltips update as well.
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