How to Show Legends in Tableau

Last Modified: April 24, 2024 - 3 min read

Julian Alvarado

Legends are key in Tableau – they show what colors, shapes, and sizes in your charts mean. This makes your data easy to understand at a glance.

Here’s how to add and manage legends in Tableau, making your visuals clearer.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Show Legend in Tableau

Step 1. Open Your Tableau Workbook 

Start by opening your Tableau desktop and loading the dataset you wish to visualize.

Starting Tableau Desktop and loading the dataset for visualization.

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Step 2. Add a Color Legend
Next, drag a field to the ‘Color’ mark on your ‘Marks’ card to automatically generate a color legend associated with your data points.

Dragging a field to the 'Color' mark on the 'Marks' card in Tableau to create a color legend for data points.

Step 3. Tweak Your Legend 
Customize your legend by clicking on the dropdown arrow next to the legend in the workspace.

Here, you can edit the legend title, adjust font size, and change colors as needed.

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Editing a color legend in Tableau by changing the title, font size, and color for better data representation.

Step 4. Make Your Legend Float 
For better control over the dashboard layout, you might prefer your legend to float.

Right-click the legend and select “Floating” to freely move and position it anywhere on the dashboard.

Setting a legend to 'Floating' mode in Tableau to freely move and position it on the dashboard.

Step 5. Fix Hidden Legends
If your legend isn’t showing, it might have been accidentally hidden.

    Troubleshooting a hidden legend in Tableau, with tips on how to reveal an accidentally hidden legend.

Right-click the field on the Marks card associated with the missing legend and select “Show Legend.”

Tips and Tricks for Better Legends in Tableau

Troubleshooting Common Legend Issues

  • Simplify Complex Legends: If your legend is too busy, try using filters to show fewer categories or group similar items.
  • Avoid Legend Clutter: Keep legends from covering your charts by using the floating feature for a clearer layout.
  • Keep Legends Looking the Same: Make sure legends look similar across all dashboards for a consistent look and feel.

Best Practices for Legends

  • Keep It Clear: Make sure legends are easy to read and understand.
  • Place Smartly: Keep legends near their charts to reduce eye movement.
  • Personalize: Use Tableau’s options to make your legends fit your dashboard’s style.
  • Go for Floating: Floating legends are useful for tight spaces, offering layout flexibility.
  • Interactive Legends: Set up legends so people can click on them to filter and explore data in new ways.


Now you know how to use legends in Tableau smarter, making your data visuals easier to read. Remember, getting good takes practice. Coefficient has tools to make it easier. Start improving your data skills with Coefficient today, by visiting Coefficient.

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Julian Alvarado Content Marketing
Julian is a dynamic B2B marketer with 8+ years of experience creating full-funnel marketing journeys, leveraging an analytical background in biological sciences to examine customer needs.
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