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LEARN / Tableau

Installing variable fonts


If you work as a graphic or information designer  I am sure you have already installed many custom fonts in your life. That is a pretty easy thing. Have you ever tried to install a font family with variable fonts when all styles are contained in a single file?

A style is a single and specific typeface, such as Bold Italic, and a family is the complete set of styles. Variable font can contain all the allowed variations in width, weight, slant, optical size, or any other exposed axes of variation. With variable fonts, all styles can be contained in a single file within a single hierarchy.

Like this

I have no doubt you did because this is not a big deal to install all of the individual typefaces with one click.

Now let’s talk to Tableau folk who use MAC.

Have you ever tried to use variable fonts that the above example shows in Tableau? It’s a funny thing this is not an easy way for Tableau. After you installed them you won’t be able to see the different styles only the parent font appears as an option in Tableau Desktop.

Why? Because Tableau uses the Qt open source development library and this is one of the limitations of it. That’s all. We need to accept it even if it hurts us.

In this post, I don’t want to talk about how we can use a custom font in Tableau because all of us know its’ advantages and disadvantages. I want to show you a free and easy workaround on how we can add variables fonts into Tableau Desktop. Good news we don’t need to download a font editor tool because the Glyph rStudio offers a free and online solution.


1. Select the Load menu and search for one of the styles

2. Import font

3. Font settings (left-hand side menu)

4. Rename the font

5. Export it as OTF

7. Do it with all of them. 🙃 Here is my result.

Let’s check what we can see in Tableau Desktop. Finally, we can use all of the variables of the SF UI font.

 I hope this was useful to you and your client is finally happy to see the custom fonts of the company in your amazing Tableau reports.




Ivett Kovács

I love taking datasets into beautiful and informative visualizations. Besides data, I am also very passionate about traveling, surfing, cooking and exploring the outdoors with my dog.

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