Tableau Design – Dynamic Year over Year Colours

One of the (many) limitations Tableau has when it comes to applying colours to a chart is that the colour is applied to the data as a static colour. This doesn’t work well when you want to compare year over year data. Sure, you can apply a colour data that exists in 2023, but what happens when the calendar turns to to the next calendar year? There’s no data to apply a colour to.

This is where MAX and WINDOW_MAX comes in.


  • Create Calculated Field
  • Name the new calculated field (I like to use design.MaxYear since it allows me to quickly filter any new calculations that’s specific to design)
  • Copy and paste the following code – updating [Order Date] to match your Date metric
IF max(year([Order Date]))=window_max(max(year([Order Date]))) THEN 1
  • Convert your calculation from a Continuous to Discrete
  • Drag and drop the calculation to the Colour tab
  • Apply the colours you want to the latest Year and the remaining years

You can watch the video here

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Dan Nicholson
Dan Nicholson

Dan is a versatile marketing and advertising professional with a passion for measuring and analyzing marketing data. His goal has always been to streamline and optimize marketing operations, track KPIs, and provide data-driven insights for any marketing team. He has worn several hats throughout his career, each contributing to his decade-plus expertise in marketing, operations, and data analysis. For a more detailed resume, be sure to check out his Linkedin account.

When he's not crunching numbers in Tableau, you can typically find him doing something active such as gardening, hiking, or curling. Dan also has a great love for community and can be found volunteering for organizations like the Fort Rouge Curling Club.

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