Separate Colour Legend Per Measure in Tableau

You are using measure values to display multiple measure in your view, and now you want to colour them individually, but don’t know how? I’ve got you covered.

You may have tried to put one of your multiple measure onto colour. But then all measures are coloured by that one measure, so that’s not what you want.

You definitely need to colour using measure values, because this field now contains the values of all the measures you’re using in the view. Drag Measure Values to colour. The problem is that Tableau will initially give you one colour legend for all measures combined. Depending on your use case, this may actually be helpful (if all measures are of the same unit, e.g. percent or monetary values, and are roughly in a similar range). More often than not, you are showing measures of different units, though, and it makes exactly zero sense to colour percentages and monetary values using the same scale.

What to do

What you do instead, is you go into the context menu of your Measure Values pill on colour. (You will probably be using Measure Values in multiple instances in this view, so please double-check that you selected the pill on Colour. It will be in the Marks card and have four coloured dots to the left of it.) In the context menu, select “Use separate legends”. Tableau will then give you one legend per measure that you can customize individually.

Custom formatting

Let’s say you only want to colour some measures, but not all of them? This is still the way to go. There is currently no option to only colour individual measures, but you can customize them in a way that it looks like some measures are not coloured. Simply select a diverging colour legend, make both ends the same colour, and select stepped colours with two steps. Not the most convenient workaround, but it does work.

This tip was part of the Tableau Speed Tipping session for Beginners hosted by Annabelle Rincon and myself at Tableau Conference 2022. For more tips, see full list.