Webinar Replay: Tableau Dashboard Templates: The Pros and Cons


Webinar Replay: Tableau Dashboard Templates: The Pros and Cons

We’re excited to dive into 2021 with monthly Assist webinars! Brought to you by the InterWorks Assist team, we’ll be bringing new webinars each month that focus on the technology you know and love with answers to the questions we receive most commonly.

Monthly Webinars from Assist

This particular topic came about as a result of calls coming into the Assist line:

  • How does my team construct quality dashboards?
  • How do we get consistency in the look and feel?
  • How do we level up new users and accelerate their learning?
  • Are we meeting the brand standard?

Dashboard templates could fall into one of two buckets: 1) we could build something that makes people more efficient, but they might not use it, or 2) we could address the needs of different groups with dashboard templates possibly making it more effective than efficient.

So, what is a dashboard template?

A prebuilt dashboards or design layouts with reserved space for worksheets and controls (filters, parameter, etc.) to accelerate and uplift the visual design process. The goal is to basically outline the frame or format, so people can drop in their own visualisation. With templates, the aim is the acceleration of dashboard creation and the elevation of design. But how do you decide if it’s the right choice?

The Case for Templates

  • Efficiency opportunity – Pre-made dashboards that promote the brand standard, from company colours to fonts and branding, save time and resources.
  • Elevating the visual design – You can leave hints as to what should and shouldn’t be used in colour palettes or logos, and templates can shorten the quality period as patching up the visual standard can take time.
  • Teaching tool – People can feel intimidated by the blank canvas of Tableau, so having that template as a starting point can alleviate writer’s block and help accelerate new users’ learning.
  • Defining the standard – Let’s bring consistency across the organisation, so the outputs resonate with the intended audience.

The Case Against Templates

  • Just how much is efficiency? And more importantly, what cost are we incurring as a result? Perhaps it’s not a monetary cost at first but rather a creative cost or data-culture cost. If someone is pushing out valuable content but it does not follow the standard, does that make it unworthy of publication?
  • Stifling visual analytics – Does the template cause us not to explore the data in new ways and instead focus on what the template is telling us to put into it?
  • Using ad hoc dashboards? Tableau is a great ad hoc tool that teaches us new and fast ways to look at and explore data. Are the templates allowing us to tell the story accurately, or is it forcing us down another path?
  • Using with PROD dashboards? Sometimes complex creativity and design is needed to best visualise the data you are building.

The Dos and Don’ts for Creating a Template

In the webinar, we share specific use cases and examine whether that situation is right for a template or not. However, these are some general considerations to bear in mind:


  • For Creators – Don’t lock down their creativity; instead, empower them through training and support.
  • Overcomplicate
  • Anticipate – You will never anticipate every template need.


  • For Explorers – It’s an efficient use of their time and provides enough boundaries for them to excel.
  • Use as a style guide – Share those brand standards.
  • Create a Viz Gallery – A quick, convenient way to see what the visual standard is

More Tableau Tips in the Webinar!

For a complete look at the pros and cons of using dashboard templates, as well as in-depth discussion around best practices, watch the full webinar replay, and if there’s any way we can help you with your Tableau design or beyond, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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