Edit Default Settings for Fields

When you drag fields to shelves, the data is represented as marks in the view. The fields and their marks are displayed initially based on their default settings. You can control these default settings by clicking the drop-down arrow on a field.

The Default Properties menu includes default settings for aggregation, comments, number formatting, color, shape, and totals (based on the type of field).

Set the default aggregation for a measure

You can specify a default aggregation for any measure. The default aggregation will be used automatically when the measure is first totaled in the view.

  1. Right-click (control-click on a Mac) any measure in the Data pane and select Default Properties > Aggregation.

  2. On the Aggregation list, select an aggregation.

    Whether you are specifying the aggregation for a field on a shelf or the default aggregation in the Data pane, you can select from several aggregations. See Data Aggregation in Tableau to learn about each type of aggregation.

Add default comments for specific fields

Fields can have comments that describe them. The comments display in a tooltip in the Data pane and in the Calculated fields dialog box. Field comments are a good way to give more context to the data in your data source. Comments are especially useful when you are building a workbook for others to use.

To add a default comment for a field

  1. Right-click (control-click on a Mac) a field in the Data pane and select Default Properties > Comment.

  2. Write a comment in the subsequent dialog box. Comments support rich text formatting that will be represented in the tooltip.

  3. When finished, click OK.

    Now when you hover the cursor over the field in the Data pane, you see the comment.

Set the default number format

You can set the default number format for date and number fields. For example, you may want to always show the Sales values as currency using the U.S. dollar sign and two decimal places. Or you may want to always show Discount as a percentage.

To set the default formats, right-click (control-click on Mac) a date or number field and select either Date Format or Number Format on the Default Properties menu. A dialog box opens where you can specify a default format.

Set the default color

When you use a dimension to color encode the view, default colors are assigned to the field’s values. Color encodings are shared across multiple worksheets that use the same data source to help you create consistent displays of your data. For example, if you define the Western region to be green, it will automatically be green in all other views in the workbook. To set the default color encodings for a field, right-click (control-click on Mac) the field in the Data pane and select Default Properties > Color.

For information about color properties, and how to configure and customize colors in Tableau, see Color Palettes and Effects,

Set the default shape

When you use a dimension to shape encode the view, default shapes are assigned to the field’s values. Shape encodings are shared across multiple worksheets that use the same data source to help you create consistent displays of your data. For example, if you define that Furniture products are represented with a square mark, it will automatically be changed to a square mark in all other views in the workbook.

To set the default shape encodings for a field, right-click (control-click on Mac) the field in the Data pane and select Default Properties > Shape.

Set the default sort order for the values within a categorical field

You can set a default sort order for the values within a categorical field so that every time you use the field in the view, the values will be sorted correctly. For example, let’s say you have an Order Priority field that contains the values High, Medium, and Low. When you place these in the view, by default they will be listed as High, Low, Medium because they are shown in alphabetical order. You can set a default sort so that these values are always listed correctly.

To set the default sort order, right-click (control-click on a Mac) a dimension and select Default Properties > Sort. Then use the sort dialog box to specify a sort order.

Note: The default sort order also controls how the field values are listed in a filter in the view.

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