In the Dimensions window, right-click on Customer, then Field properties and you can set the defaults for colors/shapes/sort/etc. Setting those values makes that the default everywhere you use that dimension.
Hope that helps.
Thanks for the quick reply.
I still have a concern. For example I am planning on expanding my dataset so that I will get new values for "customer" that are currently not present (adding Ace Bolts for example). The dialog box you pointed to does not allow me to define on values that currently do not exist in the data (and I wonder what would happen if a defined value was no longer present as well).
Also I would have to set this up manually each time I created a view.
I am hoping there is an easier / more elegant approach?
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If you have a "master" customer table you might want to join that with your "sales" table so that all customers are represented in your data. Then you can setup the default color/shape for all of your customers and filter out the ones with no "sales" values. However, without a "master" table I cannot think of another approach off hand.
I think Tim's approach is probably the best as far as being able to set colors once and not have to go back as you add new customers.
In your second post, you said, "Also I would have to set this up manually each time I created a view." That is true if you set the colors by clicking on Edit Colors on the Color Shelf in the view. However, if you edit the colors of the instance of the dimension (or discrete measure) in the Dimensions or Measures Window, that sets the default for every view and you'd only need to go back when new customers are added.
Thanks all for your thoughts, help. Perhaps a more elegant solution will be developed in the future, for now it seems a solution exists.