A quickie on renaming and aliases

In many cases your data source will provide you with rather technical column names, be it dimension or measures.

Or, you are usually fine with the naming but for a specific table or chart you just need that slightly changed name label to make it even clearer for your audience.

Now what usually you would do is use the aliasing function in Tableau.

Dimension members (!) you can alias by right clicking the dimension and select “edit alias”

which will prompt you with this popup:

This, however, as you can see will only change the dimension members, not the dimension itself:

For measures like sales, profit etc you can alias them by either right clicking the measure name (on the table for example)

or directly right-click the measure names pill, either on the rows/columns or on the data pane.

All of this leaves us still with some challenges:

  1. We did not rename the actual dimension
  2. We can use an alias only once. What if we want to name different measures the same depending on where we use them?
  3. Or what if we want the same measure to have different aliases depending on the sheet we use them on?

The solution lies in commenting. I picked up the general info on renaming over at https://www.queenofdata.net run by Heidi Kalbe.

For ad-hoc calcs, that is calculations you do on the run in your worksheet and not on the data pane via create new calculation you can just double click somewhere, write //YOURNAME, press shift + enter for a line break and do your actual calc like sum([Sales]).

We can leverage this for dimensions as well. Simply double click into the dimension that is on your rows / columns, go to the very front, press shift + enter for a line break, use arrow up to go into the now created first row, type //YOURNAME and close the edit mode by just clicking your mouse somewhere else.


Now for measures, it does not work this way unfortunately. If you try it, Tableau will just kindly let you do the work and then revert to the original naming.

The workaround is to turn your calculated field into an ad-hoc calculation by just multiplying it with 1 or adding a 0 on your worksheet. Whatever serves your purposes.

Once this is done, you can either use the above method, or you can right click measure names and edit an alias for this specific ad-hoc calculation

In either case, note that all these adjustments will only work on the single sheet you did them on. So it might become tedious if you have many fields on many sheets you want to rename but well, at least now you have an option to do just that.

And that is my quickie for today.

As always appreciate your feedback.

Until next time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s