Choosing Tableau dashboard fonts for different devices

I was working with a client the other day creating a style template for their Tableau dashboards. When publishing we discovered that a font we had used on a dashboard did not display as expected on an iPad. The font used in the dashboard was Calibri, it appeared fine on Tableau Desktop, it worked when using a Windows PC and Google Chrome to view on Tableau Server, but when using the iPad app the Calibri font defaulted to a different font.

This sparked a bit of debate and investigation in to which fonts are supported on which platforms - something that is crucial if you are designing dashboards to be consumed across various devices. This particular report was an exec level suite, so was most likely viewed on a tablet (most likely iPad).

Here's what we discovered.

Firstly the font you are using when creating your dashboards in Tableau Desktop must also be installed on your Tableau Server. If you are distributing using Reader, then the assumption is that the person viewing the .twbx will also need that font installed on their machine.

If you're publishing to Tableau Public then you are limited further - you can find a list of fonts that work on Public here.

Fonts display differently across different operating systems. If you're using Windows you will have different fonts than if you use a Mac OS. (See the Tableau public link for more details).

Further, fonts also display differently on mobile devices. Apple lists fonts that are compatible with iOS7 (for iPads and iPhones). You will notice that Calibri is not on this list. However it is compatible on a Mac OS.

I am yet to find a decisive list of what Android platforms support, if you know please get in touch!

I used my iPad to view the Tableau viz of the fonts supported (as in the link above). Here are the images of the viz in Safari and Chrome:

Viewing in Safara on iPad (iOS 8.4)

Viewed in Chrome on iPad (iOS 8.4)

You can see that Calibri is not supported, despite it viewing okay on a Mac and Windows PC.

So, if you're designing dashboards for cross-platform devices, choose your fonts carefully!

CONVERSATION

5 comments:

  1. Great advice! I'll be checking back to see if you get a list of Android comparability.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Emma,

    Great post, thank you!

    I've found a font difference can also lurk, depending upon whether Tableau Server goes with 'client side' rendering or 'server side' rendering for your vis.

    For example:
    - the desired font is installed on your local machine, but not on the server
    - the initial interaction w/ the vis in your web browser is simple enough for client side rendering, so the desired font appears (because the font is installed on your client locally)
    - then you interact with the dashboard, employ some filters
    - at the point that Tableau Server switches from 'client side' to 'server side' rendering, then the font will change to the default for your server


    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Emma! Thanks for your recommendation, however I'm unable to open the link (list of fonts working in Tableau Public). Do you save these somewhere else?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. It looks like Tableau have removed that link. Here is another one from their Knowledge Base instead: http://kb.tableau.com/articles/knowledgebase/resolving-font-discrepancy
      Thanks for letting me know!

      Delete
  4. Hm, interesting ideas, I am gonna use it in creations of my custom desktop applications cuz I'm just starting to figure it out and that is not all clear to me. Thank you, your blog helps me a lot!

    ReplyDelete

Back
to top