Creating a Heat Map table using Tableau - with data example

A heat map table is used to visualize the magnitude of your data with color variety and intensity.

Tableau supports plotting a heat map table from your dataset when you include 1 measure and 1 or more dimensions to your worksheet.

Below is an example of a Tableau Heat Map graph:

This tutorial will help you learn how to create the above graph.

First, you need to load the dataset used for this tutorial here:


The dataset contains fictional sales records of an office supplies company.

Once you load the dataset, do the following steps:

  • Drag the Item variable to the Columns Shelf
  • Drag the City and Total Sales variables to the Rows shelf

You will see a table and vertical bar graph generated on your worksheet.

The next step is you need to open the Show Me pane and click on the Heat Map icon.

The icon is located at the second column on the first row as shown below:

You should see a heat map graph generated on your sheet already, but you can still improve the graph to make it more informative.

First, change the Fit option on the top bar to Entire View to make the heat map table fit your sheet.

Then, change the Marks option from Automatic to Circle to make Tableau shows your total sales as circles.

After that, add the Total Sales variable as a Color mark. This allows Tableau to change the color intensity depending on the value.

The different color intensity will make the heat map table much more distinguished.

You should see the following heat map graph in your sheet view:

The last thing you can do to improve the heat map is to change the color contrast.

In the above image, you can see that the heat map only uses a single color to show the intensity of the heat map.

You can make the contrast sharper by changing the color palette used in your view.

To do so, click the Color mark and select the Edit Colors... button.

Change the palette to Red-Green Diverging and check the Use Full Color Range checkbox.

The Color settings should look as follows:

Click the Apply button and you’ll see a red-green sharp contrast in your heat map as shown below:

And that’s how you create a heat map using Tableau. You need to have at least 1 dimension and 1 measure variable in your sheet to create one.

You can view and download the Workbook for this tutorial here:

Tableau Heat Map Example

Feel free to download and modify the workbook for your project. 😉

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