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The blue and green pills and what they mean in Tableau?


blue versus green fields in Tableau

Tableau represents data different in the data pane and within the view depending on whether the field is discrete (usually blue in color) or continuous (usually green in color). By definition - discrete fields are fields that constitute of individually separate entities e.g., name of customers. While continuous fields are fields that contain numerical data that can be measured on a scale. E.g., Sales, profit, height, weight, temperature etc.

Blue vs green fields (discrete vs continuous fields)

In the Tableau data pane - you can differentiate discrete fields from continuous fields by looking at the color of the visual cues (icon) before the field.

(Blue icons imply that the field is discrete while green icons imply that the field is continuous)

identifying discrete and continuous fields on the Tableau data pane

Note, when you highlight fields on the data pane, discrete fields will appear as a blue pill while continuous fields appear as a green pill.

The same happens when you drag the fields to the view i.e., (discrete fields are displayed as a blue pill while continuous field as a green pill).

discrete versus continuous fields when added to the view in Tableau

How discrete and continuous fields change the view.

When dragged to the view – discrete fields add headers.

When dragged to the view – continuous fields add axes.

Discrete versus continuous fields on filters

When added as a filter – discrete fields are displayed as a categorical filter, which you can use to filter each value (member) in the field.

When added as a filter – continuous fields are displayed as a range of values (which you can use to filter a range of values in the field).

Discrete versus continuous fields on the color shelf

When added to the color shelf – discrete fields display categorical palette and assigns color to each value in the field.

When added to the color shelf – continuous fields display a quantitative legend with a continuous range of colors.

Converting fields from discrete to continuous and vice-versa

Sometimes Tableau can misinterpret a field to be continuous when it should be discrete. In such scenarios, you can rectify this by right-clicking on the field and convert it to the right role.

converting discrete field to continuous field and vice-versa in tableau

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