How to remove the abc column in Tableau

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How to remove the abc column may be the most commonly asked Tableau question. Hiding the abc column in Tableau is one of those tasks that should be very simple, but getting rid of it actually requires some workarounds.

This article will show you five options to hide the abc column.

When does the abc column appear?

The Tableau abc column

The abc column appears when there is no pill on the Text shelf when the mark type is text. For example, when creating a table in Tableau using only discrete (blue) pills on Rows, the abc appears.

How to remove the abc column in Tableau

There are a number of different ways to hide the abc column. Some have more steps than others, choose whichever you prefer.

1. Put a value on the Text shelf

One way to get rid of the abc is to put a value there. Using this technique it is necessary to create the column header.

To begin put a field on to the Text shelf. It should be the final field in the table. Notice it doesn’t have a column heading. Therefore, to build the header, place the [Measure Names] field to the Columns shelf. The header should now say “No Measure Value”. Right-click that label and “Edit Alias…”. Set the column name by editing the alias.

Edit the alias of Measure Names

This method also doubles as a way to squeeze an additional column in a table. Pre-Tableau 2019.4 the maximum allowable number of discrete columns in Tableau is 16. Since then it is 50 columns.

2. Use a zero-length string calculated field

Create a calculated field with the formula “”. For example, with the field called Blank:

[Blank]: ""

Put this field to the Text shelf, which replaces the abc with a blank. However this doesn’t remove the column, therefore it should be disguised.

To disguise it:

  1. Firstly, while the borders are visible, reduce the width of the blank column.
  2. Next format the borders. Format – Borders – Column Divider – Pane – set to None.
Format the Pane Column Divider to None in Tableau

3. Change the Mark Type to Polygon

With this method there is no need to create a calculated field.

  1. Change the mark type from Text to Polygon
  2. Reduce the width of the column
  3. Format the borders to hide the separator
Change the Tableau mark type to Polygon

4. Format the abc font

Finally, another option is to format the font, setting the font the same colour as the background.

From the menu bar: Format – Font – Sheet – Pane

Set the Tableau pane font colour to white

As above, reduce the width of the column and format the borders.

5. Adjust the Colour Opacity

Another simple formatting option. Click the Colour shelf and reduce Opacity to 0%.

how to set the opacity to 0pct in tableau

Again, reduce the width of the column and format the borders to disguise its existence.

See an example of the different ways to remove the ABC column from Tableau

I have created a simple example of all of the above options to download from Tableau Public. The dashboards are embedded below and you can also click through directly to the Tableau Public site.

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