Tableau Confessions: You Can Move Labels? Wow!

By Andy Cotgreave 2016/01/28

I was on a call with Zen Masters Steve Wexler, Jeff Shaffer, and Robert Rouse. We were talking about formatting labels, and Robert was saying, “Well, of course, you can just drag the labels around.”

“Wait. What?” I said.

“Click on the label and drag it,” said Robert.

“Wait. What?” I said again.

And thus I discovered a cool new trick. How many one-off charts have I struggled with because Tableau didn’t quite put the label where I expected it? (Answer: hundreds, at least). This trick is going to make #MakeoverMonday much easier!

All you do is turn labels on, and to move a label, click on it once, then drag it.

EIGHT years I’ve been doing this Tableau thing, and there are still new tricks to learn!


Submitted by Eugene K. on

It's a good feature to have, but I wish I wouldn't have to do it in the first place. One place I'm finding frustrating is for a multi-line graph over time that ends at the current year. I wish there was a way to add padding to the right so there would be enough room for labels, and then for the labels to auto-align at the end of each line instead of me manually moving them to make sure they all display, but always a few pixels off.

Submitted by Shawn Ashmore (not verified) on

Eugene, hidden reference lines may provide the padding you need for labels to show properly. Try adding a hidden reference line at the current year and see if that works for you. This avoids problems inherent with fixed axis ranges. If you need even more padding, you can set the reference line to a future year. However, I do agree with you that Tableau should be smarter about how it handles label padding so that these workarounds are not necessary.

Submitted by . T. on

Usually the only time I bother to move labels is when I have a pie chart and the percentage of a slice isn't displaying.

Submitted by Eugene K. on

Exactly! I did a hidden reference line at current year + 3 to fit my labels that include the category so I could do away with the color legend, but it still means manually fussing with the labels so they are all visible and don't overlap but are still in order. Even then, I can never get them to align quite right, always off by a few pixels.

Submitted by Nicole L. on

Wow, finally I already knew something that the experts didn't! Yes, it is annoying to have to do, but I only have to move a label on rare occasions and it is useful to be able to do it.

Submitted by balkis (not verified) on

i love it !

Submitted by Aslam (not verified) on

Good Tip!!! helped with showing pie chart labels. Thank you for sharing

Submitted by Jonathan Hayter (not verified) on

That's great! Is it new? One thing that would make that even better would be snap-to lines for alignment.

Submitted by Prashanth (not verified) on

This is a much needed trick! Good to know.

Submitted by John J (not verified) on

Super! I just tried it myself. Another hidden gem.

Submitted by Rahul U. on

Im having hard time to position floating objects on a bigger screen.
I wonder where this newly positioned label will show up on a larger screen?
If i position the label using my laptop & see it on a HD screen, where do you think it will show up?

Submitted by cinta (not verified) on

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Submitted by cinta (not verified) on

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Submitted by cinta (not verified) on
apik tho

Submitted by Tharashasank D. on

This is a very good tip.

Submitted by Ridwan (not verified) on