Configure the Preferences File Like a Pro

Have you ever played with the Preferences file: Preferences.tps?

I mean, really played with it?

Sure, everyone knows about using the preferences file to add custom palettes, Tableau even describe how to do that in the knowledge base, what I’m talking about is, the other stuff, the non-documented functions.

C’mon, you don’t think the Preferences file exists to solely add palettes to the tool did you?

The following information is undocumented and unsupported such that the namespaces disclosed here can be and have been deprecated in the past

But the great news is: nothing you change in your preference file will harm your desktop app, if you don’t like the change, either back-out or delete, or delete the preferences file entirely, and then reload - this part is important otherwise the previous preference(s) shall still be active.

And if a namespace is deprecated or disabled, then Tableau just won’t apply it, without harming the desktop editing experience

As it stands, there are more than 1000 namespaces within the Tableau Desktop app, many of which can be modified to give an altogether different editing experience, mostly for adjusting the colours of the interface, to adjusting the sizes of some of the objects in the interface.

Its rare, but maybe you are looking to implement company colours into the tool similar to how Microsoft allows a user and companies to update the banner, or more likely, you want to activate a dark-mode which Tableau doesn’t currently support.
Or maybe, you just fancy a change of scenery every now and then, play around with some colours, retheme etc.



Whilst this method of retheming will enable you to mostly configure to your needs, its not without its limitations:

  • I have hunted and hunted, but cannot find any namespace that covers the object labels in the data pane, status bar, formatting menu’s, or database table selection in the data modelling canvas

  • OS defaults are applied to most of the window objects

  • The namespace that appears to be associated with the More Connections window looks to be disabled as I cannot retheme this

  • Presentation Mode doesn’t appear to have a namespace I can restyle

  • Some of the menu tabs, the data viewer, action filters, calculation editor canvas, and most dialogue boxes also don’t appear to have namespaces

And the canvases themselves - Viz and data modeller, cannot be updated. The data modeller canvas isn’t responding to its associated namespace tag, so remains white, and the worksheet doesn’t have an updateable namespace as to update this shall affect the viz.

Here is my list of fully annotated tags, I’ve used to create this as-close-to-dark-mode-as-I-can-get version, I hope you might find it to be useful. Just add between your <preference> </preference> tags:

<!-- Start Screen --> <preference name='unification.color.desktop-blue' value='#434343' /> <!-- Small Header over "Connect" Flyout --> <preference name='ui.connectpane.background.color' value='#434343' /> <!-- Connection list and flyout colour--> <preference name='ui.connectpane.background.color.hover' value='#6D53BD' /> <!-- Connection panel hover-over highlighter --> <preference name='ui.connectpane.subtitle.color' value='#FF9900' /> <!-- Connection sidebar section titles font colour --> <preference name='ui.connectpane.foreground.color' value='#b4b4b4' /> <!-- Connection sidebar item font colours--> <preference name='ui.startpage.background.color' value='#808080' /> <!-- Start Page background colour --> <preference name='ui.openpane.title.fontcolor' value='#FF9900' /> <!-- Start Page title "Open" --> <preference name='ui.openpane.caption.fontcolor' value='#000000' /> <!-- Start Page text colour --> <preference name='' value='#000000' /> <!-- Start Page "Open a Workbook" text colour--> <preference name='ui.openpane.item.border.color' value='#E5F6E4' /> <!-- Border Colour around recent viz --> <preference name='' value='0' /> <!-- Show or hide the Discover pane on the right 0 = off --> <preference name='ui.openpane.samples.defaultOn' value='0' /> <!-- Show or hide the Accelerators pane at bottom. 0 = Off --> <preference name='ui.openpane.recent.item.minHeight' value='55px' /> <!-- Min Height of recent viz --> <preference name='ui.openpane.recent.item.maxHeight' value='110px' /> <!-- max height of recent viz --> <!-- /Start Screen --> <!-- Data Connections Canvas --> <preference name='joinarea.backgroundcolor' value='#808080' /> <!-- Connectivity Banner Colour --> <preference name='connectionui.textedit.background.color' value='#C4C4C4' /> <!-- Connectivity Banner items colour --> <preference name='connectionui.textedit.foreground.color' value='#b4b4b4' /> <!-- Database selection font colour --> <preference name='connectionui.crossdatabasewarning.background.color' value='#FF9900' /> <!-- Cross database warning background colour --> <preference name='connectionui.primarybutton.background.color' value='#4D93D9' /> <!-- "Go to Worksheet" background colour --> <preference name='connectionui.primarybutton.text.color' value='#595959' /> <!-- "Go to Worksheet" font colour --> <!-- /Data Connections Canvas --> <!-- Editing Canvas --> <preference name='unification.color.fill1' value='#434343' /> <!-- Analytics pane, formatting pane, dashboard side panes, columns, rows, pages, filters, marks card, active sheet tab/thumbnail --> <preference name='unification.color.fill2' value='#434343' /> <!-- Menu bar, canvas background, dashboard canvas background, data source sidebar --> <preference name='unification.color.fill2_5' value='#434343' /> <!-- Status bar --> <preference name='unification.color.fill3' value='#434343' /> <!-- Connection canvas - selected connection, table selection highlight, sheet tab bar, button highlight --> <preference name='unification.color.fill5' value='#4D93D9' /> <!-- button highlight only --> <preference name='unification.color.text.dark-base' value='#f5f5f5' /> <!-- Object and function font colour --> <preference name='unification.color.text.light-base' value='#f5f5f5' /> <!-- Sheet & datasource bar, and Dashboard "Device Preview" button font colours --> <preference name='unification.color.transparent' value='#f5f5f5' /> <!-- Story "Blank" and "Duplicate" button highlight --> <preference name='unification.color.white' value='#434343' /> <!-- Data side pane, marks card button highlight, mark type drop down, dashboard layout checkboxes, New Story point buttons --> <preference name='unification.color.line1' value='#f5f5f5' /> <!-- "Pages", "Filters", "Marks", "Columns", "Rows", "Caption", "Summary" font colours --> <preference name='unification.color.line2_5' value='#a8a8a8' /> <!-- Pages, Filters, Marks buttons, Columns, Rows, box outline highlight colours --> <preference name='unification.color.line3' value='#a8a8a8' /> <!-- Mark type drop-down, page fit drop-down, and data connections pane separator line colours --> <preference name='unification.color.line4' value='#a8a8a8' /> <!-- Data pane object separator line colours --> <preference name='unification.color.line5' value='#a8a8a8' /> <!-- Canvas, data connections, dashboard, stories side pane, and pages, filters, marks card & buttons, columns, rows, status bar outline colour --> <preference name='unification.color.line6' value='#a8a8a8' /> <!-- Drop-down menus, worksheet bar and status bar separator line colours --> <preference name='unification.color.line7' value='#4D93D9' /> <!-- Pages, Filters, Marks buttons, Columns, Rows, box outline mouse hover highlight colours --> <preference name='unification.color.line8' value='#FF9900' /> <!-- Drop-down menu arrows, filter member colours --> <preference name='unification.color.continuous' value='#1B7325' /> <!-- 00B180 Continuous Pill Color --> <preference name='unification.color.continuous-translucent' value='#1B73258C' /> <!-- 00B1808C Coninuous Pill Color when dragged. Pick the color, then add 8C --> <preference name='unification.color.discrete' value='#215C98' /> <!-- 00B180 Discrete Pill Color --> <preference name='unification.color.discrete-translucent' value='#215C988C' /> <!-- 00B1808C Discrete Pill Color when dragged. Pick the color, then add 8C --> <preference name='ui.story.caption.dark.color' value='#215C98' /> <!-- Story caption box active --> <preference name='ui.story.caption.light.color' value='#4D93D9' /> <!-- Story caption box inactive --> <preference name='dashboard.slider.well.color' value='#782170' /> <!-- Dashboard sliding filter unselected range colour --> <preference name='dashboard.slider.selection.color' value='#E49EDD' /> <!-- Dashboard sliding filter selected range colour --> <!-- /Editing Canvas -->