When it comes to crafting compelling and organized dashboards in Tableau Desktop, it’s crucial to make the most of the tools at your disposal. One often-underutilized feature is the “blank object.” In this blog post, we’ll explore three practical use cases for leveraging blank objects to elevate your Tableau dashboard designs.
1. Using Blank Objects within Containers for Precise Layouts
Containers are a fundamental part of Tableau dashboard design, and while many users are familiar with them, the use of blank objects within containers is a lesser-known technique that can be incredibly handy. Especially when it comes to combining different containers with different logic (vertical/horizontal)
When to Use Blank Objects within Containers:
Let’s say that you have two containers that you want to merge together under one. However one of them has objects within it in a vertical form. The other is in the horizontal form. You cannot nest them with each other immediately without having all objects either be horizontally or vertically placed.
In order to fix this issue, do the following steps:
- Create a New Container: Create a new vertical or horizontal container. Do not nest it in other containers (gray outline).
- Add Blank Object: Now, drag a blank object into the container. This object act as placeholders that help you control the positioning of other objects within the container.
- Place Your Containers: You can now place the vertical and horizontal containers with objects in this new container.
- Delete the Blank Object: The empty placeholder is not needed after this stage. Therefore it can be removed.
2. Using a Blank Object to Create a Line Separator
Sometimes, you may want to visually separate sections of your dashboard with a line or divider. You can achieve this effect with a simple blank object.
How to Use a Blank Object as a Line Separator:
- Add a Blank Object in a Container: Drag the object onto your dashboard. Make sure that the blank object goes into a container.
- Resize and Format: Edit the Height of the blank object to be precisely “9”. You will see that the object gets very short. Then proceed to the Layout pane and change the border color to black or any other color. You can also add outer padding on the edges to make the line shorter.
Using a line separator is an efficient and straightforward way to visually organize your dashboard into sections.
3. Background or Overlay Elements
In any case, you don’t want the user to be able to click/hover over any element in the dashboard. The use of floating blank objects can help you achieve this goal.
How to Use a Blank Object as a Barrier Between the User and Other Objects:
- Drag in a Floating Blank Object: Select “Floating” from the Objects list and drag in the blank object into the dashboard.
- Resize it to fit over Elements: Move it and lay it over the elements that you do not want the user to be able to click or interact with.
By creatively implementing blank objects in these practical use cases, you can enhance the organization, aesthetics, and user experience of your Tableau dashboards. Blank objects are often overlooked versatile tools that allow you to take full control of your dashboard’s layout and design, resulting in more informative and visually appealing data visualizations.
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