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Size and Lay Out Your Dashboard

After you create a dashboard, you might need to resize and reorganize it to work better for your users.

In this article

Control overall dashboard size

Dashboard size options

Fixed size (default): The dashboard remains the same size, regardless of the size of the window used to display it. If the dashboard is larger than the window, it becomes scrollable. You can pick from a preset size, such as Desktop Browser (the default), Small Blog, and iPad.

Fixed size dashboards let you specify the exact location and position of objects, which can be useful if there are floating objects. Select this setting if you know the precise size at which your dashboard will be displayed.

Published dashboards that use a fixed size can load faster because they're more likely to use a cached version on the server. (Dashboards with variable sizes need to be freshly rendered for every browser request.) For other performance tips, see Optimize Workbook Performance.

Range: The dashboard scales between minimum and maximum sizes that you specify. If the window used to display the dashboard is smaller than the minimum size, scroll bars are displayed. If it's larger than the maximum size, white space is displayed.

Use this setting when you're designing for two different display sizes that need the same content and have similar shapes—such as small- and medium-sized browser windows. Range also works well for mobile dashboards with vertical layouts, where the width may change to account for different mobile device widths, but the height is fixed to allow for vertical scrolling.

Automatic: The dashboard automatically resizes to fill the window used to display it.

Use this setting if you want Tableau to take care of any resizing. For best results, use a tiled dashboard layout.

Tip: If you use Tableau Desktop, see Create Dashboard Layouts for Different Device Types to create unique layouts optimized for desktop computers, tablets, and phones. In addition to adapting to different screen sizes, each device layout can contain different items.

Set overall dashboard size

  • Under Size on the Dashboard pane, select the dashboard's dimensions (such as Desktop Browser) or sizing behavior (for example, Automatic).

Group items using layout containers

Layout containers let you group related dashboard items together so you can quickly position them. As you change the size and placement of items inside a container, other container items automatically adjust.

Layout container types

A horizontal layout container resizes the width of the views and objects it contains; a vertical layout container adjusts height.

Horizontal layout container

The two views below are arranged in a horizontal layout container.

Vertical layout container

The three views below are stacked in a vertical layout container.

Add a layout container

  1. Under Objects on the Dashboard pane, select Horizontal or Vertical.

  2. Drag the container to the dashboard.

  3. Add views and objects to the layout container.

Evenly distribute a layout container's items

  1. Select the layout container. If you have trouble doing this, select an individual item within the container and choose Select Container from its shortcut menu.

  2. With the layout container selected, choose Distribute Evenly from its short-cut menu:

    Items that are already within the layout container arrange themselves evenly; any items you add will do the same.

Format a layout container (Tableau Desktop only)

You can specify shading and border style for layout containers to visually group objects in the dashboard. By default, layout containers are transparent and have no border style.

Open the shortcut menu for the layout container you want to format, and then select Format Container.

Automatically resize sheets in layout containers

If you add multiple sheets with related data to a layout container, whenever marks are selected in one sheet, you can automatically resize related sheets.

In this example, when a mark is selected in the map, the bar chart updates to display profit and sales for that mark; when no marks are selected in the map, it automatically expands to fill the layout container.

With mark selected Without a selection
  1. Add multiple sheets with related data to a layout container.

  2. From the drop-down menu of the sheet you want to expand, choose Use as Filter.

  3. Choose Dashboard > Actions, and double-click the generated filter you just created.

  4. In the Target Sheets section of the Edit Filter Action dialog box, select the other sheets in the layout container.

  5. To control how target sheets resize when no marks are selected in the source sheet, select one of the following:

    • Show all values returns target sheets to their original size, showing all data.

    • Exclude all values collapses target sheets under their titles, hiding all data.

Remove a layout container to independently edit items it contains

  1. Select the container either on the dashboard or in the Item hierarchy area of the Layout pane.

  2. From the drop-down menu at the top of the container, select Remove Container.

Tile or float dashboard items

Tiled vs. floating layouts

Each object, layout container, and view that you place on a dashboard is either tiled (the default) or floating.

Tiled layout

Floating layout
Tiled items don't overlap; they become part of a single-layer grid that resizes based on the overall dashboard size. Floating items can be layered over other objects. In the example below, a map floats over tiled views.
  For best results, give floating objects and views a fixed size and position.

Float or tile a new item

  1. Under Objects in the Dashboard pane, click the layout option you want to use: Floating or Tiled.

  2. Drag the view or object onto the dashboard on the right.

Tip: You can also assign a floating layout to an item by holding down Shift on your keyboard as you drag it onto the dashboard.

Switch an existing item from tiled to floating

  1. Select the item in the dashboard.

  2. In the item's shortcut menu, select Floating:

Size, position, and reorder individual dashboard items

If you want a high degree of control over the placement of every item in a dashboard, choose Fixed size or Range for overall dashboard sizing, and then set each item's size and position using the Layout pane.

Set an item's size and position

  1. Select the dashboard item you want to position and size. In the Layout pane, the item's name appears under Selected item.

    Tip: To quickly toggle between the Dashboard and Layout panes, press the T key.

  2. Define the item's position x and y position in pixels as an offset from the top left corner of the dashboard. For example, to place an object in the top left corner of the dashboard, specify x = 0 and y = 0.

    The values you enter can be positive or negative but must be whole numbers.

  3. To resize an item, click and drag it in the dashboard. You can also use the settings under Size.

  4. To hide the title of the item you have selected, clear the Show title check box. (The similar Show dashboard title check box on the Dashboard pane controls the overall dashboard title.)

Tip: To quickly position floating items, press arrow keys to move 1 pixel, or Shift+arrow keys to move 10 pixels. To quickly resize items, add Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) to these shortcuts.

Align items with a grid

To present a visually consistent design, arrange and size dashboard items over a grid.

  1. Choose Dashboard > Show Grid.

  2. To change the grid size, choose Dashboard > Grid Options.

Tip: To quickly toggle the grid on and off, press the G key.

Reorder floating objects

The Item hierarchy area on the Layout tab shows the relationships between objects on your dashboard. Drag floating items in the hierarchy to change how they layer over each other. Items at the top of the list appear in the front, while items at the bottom appear in back.

Add padding, borders, and background colors around items

Padding lets you precisely space items on dashboard, while borders and background colors let you visually highlight them. Inner padding sets the spacing between item contents and the perimeter of the border and background color; outer padding provides additional spacing beyond the border and background color.

Note: If you can't change the border or background color for a particular dashboard item, change its formatting at the worksheet level.

A. Outer padding B. Blue border C. Inner padding with light blue background

  1. Select an individual item, or your entire dashboard.

  2. On the Layout tab at left, specify border style and color, background color and opacity, or padding size in pixels.

Here are some handy dashboard spacing tips:

  • To precisely align one dashboard item with another, deselect All sides equal, and adjust padding for only one side.

  • To create seamless designs, specify zero outer padding for adjoining items.

Visually integrate elements with transparency

Transparent elements create a seamless visual look for your dashboards, revealing underlying objects and images.

Tip: To create a background image that shows through floating transparent elements, add an image object as the only tiled item. Fixed-size dashboards ensure that the floating elements maintain a consistent visual relationship with the image, regardless of screen size.

Make worksheet backgrounds transparent

  1. In your dashboard, select the sheet.

  2. Choose Format > Shading.

  3. In the Format Shading area at left, click the Worksheet menu, and choose None for the background color.

    If the sheet appears opaque, change the background color to None for the underlying dashboard, object, or layout container. You can quickly adjust these items on the Layout tab for the dashboard.​

Additional steps for transparent maps

  1. In the Format Shading area, click the Pane menu, and choose None for the color.

  2. Choose Map > Map Layers, and deselect the opaque Base layer. Then, to make transparent maps more distinct when zoomed out, select the Coastline layer.

Optimize transparent worksheets

  • To smoothly integrate a transparent sheet with other dashboard items, you often need to go to the source sheet and remove borders and lines in the Format pane.

  • To achieve partial transparency, select the sheet in the Layout pane for the dashboard, and click the Background color. Then set the color and opacity.

Float transparent legends, filters, highlighters, and parameters

To visually connect filters, parameters, and highlighters to related data, float these items, which are transparent by default. Text always remains fully opaque, maintaining legibility.

If a floating object continues to display a color, check these object- and worksheet-level settings:

  • Select the object, and on the Layout tab, click the Background color, and choose None.

  • Click the Format menu, and then choose Legends, Filters, Highlighters, or Parameters. Then, in the Format pane at left, choose Shading > None.

For more information, see Format at the Worksheet Level.