Tableau Tip: Custom Colour Your Boxplots

When you create a box plot in Tableau you’re given 16 different colour combinations to indicate the interquartile range.

Default Boxplot Colours.png

More than once this has caused me to either, compromise on the design of my visualisation by having to pick one of these colour, change the colour scheme I’m using, or not use a box plot.

It turns out there is a way to add any pair of colours to your box plots, using the custom colour palettes and the preference.tps file (I recommend looking at this link first if you haven’t used the preference file previously).

How do you do it?

Below are three examples of palettes that can be added into the preference file. Setting the Type attribute to ordered-sequential is what allows these palettes to be selected as box plot fill colours.

(If you have larger sequential colour palettes with more than two colours, Tableau only shows the first and last colours as fill options for a box plot).

<color-palette name="Black to White" type="ordered-sequential" >




<color-palette name="Blue to Grey" type="ordered-sequential" >




<color-palette name="White to White" type="ordered-sequential" >




Once you’ve edited the preference file, reopen Tableau and you’ll get something like this with the additional colour pairs added below the standard colours.

Custom Boxplot Colours.png
Dashboard 2.png

or you can go a bit crazier with the colours

Pretty Box Plots.png