Tableau comes pre-packaged with many useful color palettes. Tableau also allows you to use a custom sequential or custom diverging palette from withing Tableau. Unfortunately the custom option only allows a two color options. But lets say you see a Tableau packages 3-color-palette you like and you want to make a few adjustments to it and make it lighter or darker. Here is an example of what I did to the temperature palette, I added 2 lighter lights.
The first think you will need to do is of course take a screen-shot of the tableau palette. You can then paste that into a paint program and use the eyedropper tool. I suggest that you download a free tool such as Paint.Net. That program gives you an eye-dropper tool and gives you the color code in hexadecimal (ie #FFFFFF is white). Unfortunately Microsoft’s pre-loaded paint program doesn’t give you this info. It can be converted from the link below though if you don’t want to download Paint.net.
Go to http://colllor.com (I have no idea how to pronounce that, I can only assume its similar to the many ‘L’s after someone scores a goal in soccer), choose paste in the hexadecimal (or choose it from the selector). Collor will give you a wide range of similar colors. I was interested in the shades/tones section right on top. I wanted to take the default temperature palette that Tableau provides and lighten it up for a bit. Another option for finding similar colors and hex numbers is this website http://encycolorpedia.com/. It could be useful in certain circumstances, but it provides far too many options. So instead the links below will be via colllor. I used the eyedropper tool and found that Tableau has these 5 colors for that first temperature palette.
I have gone ahead and picked two sets of lighter Tableau Temperature colors: “Lighter” and “Lightest”.
Navigate to here: C:\Users\<username>\Documents\My Tableau Repository\ and edit Preferences.tps in a text editor (make a copy in case). Between the <preferences> tag add in this XML
<color-palette name=”Temperature_Lighter” type=”ordered-diverging”>
<color-palette name=”Temperature_Lightest” type=”ordered-diverging”>
This will give you two additional temperature palettes.
Tableau Zen Master Joe Mako gave me a incredibly simple tip. This is exactly why the Tableau Zen masters are recognized by Tableau. They are actively looking in the community and offering their advice. Joe advised taking the current temperature palette, then clicking on one of the colors, making no changes to the values, and then pressing ‘add to custom palette.’ This changes the xml in the book and reveals the exact colors Tableau uses for their continuous palettes. I’m not going to pretend that I regularly look over my Tableau books’ xml but it was fairly easy to locate the palette. Name your sheet something you will remember then search for that name within the XML. For instance I named mine ‘CustomDiverg’ and found this line immediately:
under the style header, you should be able to find this line, and the 5 colors under it:
<color-palette custom=’true’ name=” type=’ordered-diverging’>
Here is an animated example courtesy of Joe: