Tableau Invisible Shape Trick

Have you ever been frustrated with that light blue background when you select something in Tableau? This is particularly problematic when you have white text, because you can’t read the selection. Recently I figured out that I can use a fully transparent shape to change this effect. I’m sure that someone else must have figured this out by now, but I’ll share my technique here.

Take this awesome phone ready dashboard example by Zen Master Kelly Martin. On my phone it looks great, but it is really easy to fat finger selecting a KPI and then it makes the text white on a light blue background. So let’s take 2 minutes to fix that.


It is easier than you think to implement, so let me quickly walk you through the process.


In looking at the dashboard sheet, Kelly has these set to mark type set to ‘automatic.’




First we need to make an invisible box, which we can do very quickly in PowerPoint. Right-click the box with no fill and no outline and save it to your custom shape folder in the Tableau repository as a PNG.





In Tableau, change the mark type to ‘shape.’




Select the invisible shape. You can’t see it, but it will highlight when you mouse over it.




That’s it, we are done.




Now it will still look like this when you select the box. This is likely not the desired effect if you are using this worksheet as a filter on the same dashboard, but here the selection doesn’t do anything for us.




Don’t forget to check out Kelly’s post to download the original dashboard example HERE.