Use Background Images in Your Views (2023)

Background images are images that you display underneathyour data in order to add more context to the marks in the view.A common use of background images is adding custom map images thatcorrespond to a coordinate system in your data.

For example, youmight have data that corresponds to several floors in a building.You can use background images to overlay that data on the actualfloor plan of the building to give more context. Other examplesof using background images include showing a model of the sea floor,images of web pages for analyzing web logs, and even levels fromvideo games to visualize player statistics.

While Tableau allows you to load dynamic maps from the onlineand offline provider, background images allow you to use your owncustom images whether they are special maps or any other image thatcorresponds to your data.

Add background images to your workbook

When you add a background image to the view, you need tospecify a coordinate system by mapping both the X and Y axes tothe values of fields in your database. If you are adding a map,the X and Y axes should be longitude and latitude expressed as adecimal. However, you can map the axes to any relevant fields basedon your own coordinate system.

To add a background image:

  1. Select Map > BackgroundImages and then select a data source.

  2. Use Background Images in Your Views (1)
  3. In the Background Images dialog box, click AddImage.

  4. Use Background Images in Your Views (2)
  5. In the Add Background Image dialog box do the following:

    • Type a name for the image into the Name textbox.

    • Click Browse to navigate to and selectthe image you want to add to the background. You can also type aURL to link to an image hosted online.

    • Select the field to map to the x-axis of the image and specifythe left and right values. When adding a map, the longitude valuesshould be mapped to the x-axis using decimal values (instead ofdegrees/minutes/seconds or N/S/E/W).

    • Select the field to map to the y-axis of the image and specifythe top and bottom values. When adding a map, the latitude valuesshould be mapped to the y-axis using decimal values (instead ofdegrees/minutes/seconds or N/S/E/W).

    • You can adjust the intensity of the image using the Washoutslider. The farther the slider moves to the right, the more fadedthe image will appear behind your data.

    • Use Background Images in Your Views (3)
  6. You can specify the following options using the Options tab:

    • Lock Aspect Ratio - select this optionto maintain the original dimensions of the image for any manipulationsof the axes. Deselecting this option allows the image’s shape tobe distorted.

    • Always Show Entire Image - selectthis option to avoid cropping the image when the data encompassesonly a portion of the image. If you lock both the axis in a view,this option may be negated.

    • Add conditions for when to show the image. Refer to Filter Data from Your Views(Link opens in a new window) to learnmore about defining conditions.

    • Use Background Images in Your Views (4)
  7. Click OK.

When you add the x and y fields to the Rows and Columns shelfin the view, the background image displays behind the data. If thebackground image does not display, make sure that you are usingthe disaggregated measures for the x and y fields. To disaggregateall measures, select Analysis > Aggregate Measures. To changeeach measure individually, right-click the field on the shelfand select Dimension. Finally, if you’veused the generated Latitude and Longitude fields for the x and yfields, you’ll need to disable the built in maps before your backgroundimage will display. Select Map > Background Maps > None todisable the built-in maps.

In order to make the marks in a view more visible whenplaced on top of a background image, each mark is surrounded bya solid contrasting color called a halo. You can turn mark halosoff by selecting Format > ShowMark Halos.

Build a view with a background image

After you add a background image, you need to build theview in a way that matches the x and y mappings you specified forthe image. That is, the fields you specified as x and y must beon the proper shelves. Follow the steps below to set up the viewcorrectly:

  1. Place the field mapped to the x-axis on the Columns shelf.

    Ifyou are working with maps, the longitude field should be on thecolumns shelf. It may seem backward at first, however, the fieldson the columns shelf determine the values distributed across thex-axis.

  2. Place the field mapped to the y-axis on the Rows shelf.

    Ifyou are working with maps, the latitude field should be on the rowsshelf. It may seem backward at first, however, the fields on therows shelf determine the values distributed across the y-axis.

Edit a background image

After adding a background image, you can always go backand edit the x and y field mappings as well as any of the optionson the Options tab.

To edit an image:

  1. Select Map > BackgroundImages.

  2. In the Background Images dialog box, select the image youwant to edit and click Edit (you can alsojust double-click the image name).

  3. Use Background Images in Your Views (5)
  4. In the Edit Background Image dialog box, make the changesto the image and click OK.

Enable or disable background images

Although you can add multiple images to a workbook, youmay want to only use a subset of the images for a particular setof worksheets. For example, you may want to show a map of the entireUnited States of America on one view, and maps of individual statesin other views.

Use the check boxes in the Background Images dialog box to enableand disable the images for the current worksheet. You can show severalimages by enabling multiple images on a single worksheet. For example,you may have several images that you want to tile in the backgroundto make a larger background image.

To enable or disable a background image:

  1. Select Map > BackgroundImages.

  2. In the Background Images dialog box, select the check boxesnext to the images you want enabled.

  3. Use Background Images in Your Views (6)
  4. Click OK.

Add show and hide conditions to background images

When you add a background image and enable it, the imagewill be shown automatically on any worksheet that has the requiredfields used in the view. To avoid showing an image on all the worksheets,you can specify show/hide conditions. Show/Hide conditions are conditionalstatements that you define to specify when to show the image. Forexample, you may have a floor plan image for a multi-story building.While each image is associated with the same coordinates (the cornersof the building), you do not want to show the first floor map whenlooking at the third floor information. In this case, you can specifya condition to only show the first floor image when the Floor fieldis equal to one.

To specify show/hide conditions:

  1. Select Map > BackgroundImages and then select a data source.

  2. In the Background Images dialog box, select the image youwant to add a condition to and click Edit.

  3. In the subsequent dialog box, select the Options tab.

  4. Click the Add button at the bottomof the dialog box.

  5. Use Background Images in Your Views (7)
  6. Select a field to base the condition on. In the example describedabove, the field is Floor.

  7. Use Background Images in Your Views (8)
  8. Specify when you want to show the image by selecting a valueof the field. For this example, one is selected.

  9. Use Background Images in Your Views (9)
  10. Click OK.

    A condition statementis added to the image. In the building floor plan example, the conditionstatement is Only show the image when Floor is equal to One.

  11. Click OK twice to close the BackgroundImage dialog boxes and apply the changes.

When you add multiple conditions, the background imagewill only show when all conditions are met. For example, if a backgroundimage has two conditions on Property Name and Floor, it will onlyshow when Property is Greenwood Estates and Floor is 3.

Remove a background image

When you no longer want to use a background image you caneither disable it or remove it, making it unavailableto all worksheets.

To remove an image:

  1. Select Map > BackgroundImages.

  2. In the Background Images dialog box, select the image youwant to remove and click Remove.

    Use Background Images in Your Views (10)

  3. Click OK.

See Also

  • Maps and Geographic Data Analysis in Tableau(Link opens in a new window)

Other articles in this section

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated: 12/08/2022

Views: 6151

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.