You're right that the mark borders formatting in Tableau applies to all marks in the view. Also, it doesn't support changing the fill pattern of marks so candy striping is not available as well. Although those may be valid ways to call attention to specific marks, they may not always be the best practice. In your case you should consider these alternatives:
1. Highlighting - If you are trying to draw attention to a number of sales figures just select them. The others are dimmed to call attention to these people. You could even use a Highlight Action to toggle this highlighting on and off. Specifically, you could create a group (right-click the Sales Person dimension in the Data window and select Create Group) that contains two members: sales people of interest and other. Then set up a highlight action where selecting sales people of interest highlights them in the sales goal view. You'll need a dashboard to set up this type of visualization.
2. Annotations - Annotations are a really great way to call out specific marks and even give more information. You can add annotations by right-clicking a mark or area in the view and selecting Annotate.
3. Reference Lines - Although you are using color to indicate the percentage of goal, perhaps you could instead use a reference line to mark the goal for each sales person. Then use color to highlight those that are particularly bad or good.
These are a few ideas I came up with off the top of my head. Does anyone else have ideas for ways Chris can accomplish his analysis in Tableau?
I appreciate the feedback.....our sales manager is Machievelli's ******* stepson. He wants to embarrass the offending sales agency as much as he can for their poor performance before cutting them off all together. Sort of like in The Wire when Barksdale's group tortures Omar's boy as message to everyone else. The candy striping was just one way of doing it...highlighting their bar with a different color was another.
The annotation option is tough because of the amount of data that I am putting in a small space....my users aren't extremely adept at figuring out how to back out of something they have already done...so most print off the results and analyze them with pen/paper (/scratches head and defeating the purpose)
You might also be able to do something with the Size Mark shelf - like create a copy of the sales figures measure, set it to std deviations or variance (or use a calculated field) and drag it into Size and then drag the size slider right so any variation from average shows huge.
You can probably also do something like that with color by clicking the small widget at top right of a color legend and selecting Edit Colors, there are lots of settings you could play with there.
Take a look at this post: http://www.tableausoftware.com/forum/creating-custom-color-palettes to see if anything there jogs an idea. Also, if you you can search for "color palette" in forums search box to find a plethora of examples of things others have tried.
Hope this helps.
Peace and All Good!
Michael W Cristiani
A little late to this discussion, but I wanted to achieve a similar thing - have several related bars stand out in a different color. I added a new dimension to the data that calculated whether that row was part of the stand out bars or not.
If it was then label the dimension yes, otherwise no, then drag this dimension to the color mark place. This could be extended to any number of colors
I missed this thread, thank you Alex for bumping it.
Going back to the original thread start, "I am coloring the bars red, yellow or green based on their percentage of goal. I would like to outline the bar of particularly bad or good sales figures differently than the bulk of the group but it wants to make the changes globally."
Sounds like there is currently a calculated field like:
IF [percentage of goal] < .8 THEN "Red" ELSEIF [percentage of goal] < 1 THEN "Yellow" ELSE "Green" END
You could change this to something like:
IF [percentage of goal] < .8 THEN IIF([sales]<1000,"Extreme Red","Red") ELSEIF [percentage of goal] < 1 THEN "Yellow" ELSE "Green" END
There are quite a few other options, and it depends on what you want to highlight. (And with parameters in Tableau 6, you can replace the "1000" in the above with a parameter variable)
Using Tableau 6, our sales analysis people want to be able to have percentages assigned Red, Yellow, Green without writing any If Else scripting etc. Is the a simple way to associate colors to percentage bands without scripting?