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Tableau Advanced Charts Tutorial

Tableau offers a variety of data analysis tools to easily explore the data and produce effective visualizations. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use these tools and convert a simple figure into advanced charts in Tableau Desktop.

Tableau provides a wide range of visualization tools and chart styles. The Show Me feature in Tableau automatically creates an appropriate chart based on the type of measures you drop in the row, column, and marks section. Moreover, you can add more features to these simple charts and make them more advanced.

Following are some of the advanced charts in Tableau that we’ll be discussing in this tutorial:

Check the video tutorial and learn how to create interactive dashboards in Tableau:

Introduction to Tableau Desktop

Tableau Desktop is a part of the tableau suite for Business Intelligence used for data analytics and visualization. It’s a visual analytics solution that allows the user to explore complex datasets from varied sources and perform various operations to drive valuable insights out of them.

On Tableau Desktop, even a non-programmer can connect with a myriad of data sources and transform the data into dashboards. These dashboards can then be shared with multiple users through Tableau Server to make data-driven decisions.

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Advanced Charts in Tableau

Tableau is a powerful Business Intelligence tool and thus, provides a number of visualizations to represent different business scenarios. It also features the Visualization Query Language or VIZQL that enables you to run queries and interact with the SQL database.

Tableau features more than 25 different types of visualizations in terms of charts, maps, and graphs. From a simple bar chart to advanced stacked bar and gauge charts, tableau has it all.

Now, let’s discuss some of these advanced chart types in Tableau that you can create on the Desktop version and add more information to your dashboards.

Before moving on to the next part, which is creating advanced charts in tableau, make sure you’ve downloaded the tableau Sample_superstore dataset.


Tableau Advanced Chart Types

Below are some of the advanced charts in Tableau that you are capable of representing multiple datasets with categorical segments and measures:

Tableau Area Chart

An Area Chart is a type of chart that shows the relationship between different data variables. It shows the accumulated area by each segment as compared to the total sum of the percentage. An area chart can be either continuous or discrete based on the type of values it represents.

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Below are the important steps to create an Area Chart in tab tableau:

  • Drag Order Date measure to the Column section and set it to months from its drop-down menu.
  • Add Sales in the row section and convert the resulting figure to an Area Chart from the Marks section.
  • Now, add Category to the Color marks section and your chart will be divided into multiple sections based on the area required by each category.
  • Pressdrag the Sales measures to the row section again. This will create two area charts with the exact configuration.
  • Following that, convert the second area chart into a line graph from the SUM(Sales) 2 section and also remove the Category dimension.
  • Next, go to the dropdown menu of the second Sales row and select the Dual Axis option.
  • Finally, change the color or size of the outer line and your area chart will be ready to deploy.
Tableau Area Chart

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Tableau Stacked Bar Chart

A stacked bar chart is a modified version of a simple bar chart where each bar is further divided into various segments. Each segment shows the measured value in different shades of a particular color. You can create these segments using any measure values such as Profit, Category, or more.

The following steps will guide you through the process of creating a tableau stacked bar chart using multiple measures:

  • Open Tableau Desktop and load the Sample_Superstore dataset from your device storage. Establish the relationship between the tables and go to the worksheet.
  • From the Data panel, drag Order Date to the Column and Measure Names to the Color marks section.
  • Use Filters from filter options from the Measure Names dropdown menu, select only the Profit and sales measure, and click on the Apply button.
  • Following that, drop the Measure Names to the Rows section, a line graph will appear on the screen which you can convert to a bar chart from the Marks section as shown below:
  • A Stacked bar chart will be created where you can add data fields or tweak different options to make it more interactive.
  • Now, change the Measure Names in the marks section from Details to Colors and drop Measure Values from Rows to label marks section while pressing the Ctrl button.
  • Change the segment colors, resize the bar chart, and your Stacked bar chart is now ready to add to the dashboard.
Tableau Stacked bar chart

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Tableau Bullet Charts

Bullet chart is yet another advanced version of a simple bar chart in tableau used to compare two or more data fields on a single bar. Bullet charts are suitable for the datasets where you have to compare the obtained result with the expected one.

For example, you can create a bullet chart to compare the sales done in the current year with the previous year’s sales and the annual target. So, let’s go through the steps given below and create a sales bullet chart in tableau:

  • Add a new worksheet or create a new workbook in the Tableau Desktop and load your Sample_Superstore dataset.
  • Drop Profit and Sales measure in the Column section and Sub-category in the Row section.
  • Select Bullet graphs as your visualization from the Show Me panel.
  • A bullet chart will be created with blue bars representing the actual bars, grey being the reference lines, and a small segment representing the expected value.
Tableau Bullet Chart
  • Now, change the view, add distribution from the Edit Reference Line, and add features like Average Sales to coalign your chart with the business requirements.

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Tableau Spark Lines

Sparks lines in the tableau are the condensed charts or graphs used to show the trends across various measures. Edward Tufte, a data visualization expert first coined the term sparkline and used it in various corporate dashboards to quickly show the trends across KPIs.

You can also create a sparkline by following the steps given below:

  • Create a new worksheet and add the measure Order Date to the Column section.
  • Now, open the Order Date dropdown menu and set it to Quarterly as shown in the picture below:
  • Following that, drop the Sub-Category as well as the Sales measures to the Row section.
  • Right-click on the Sales part of the visualization and select Edit Axis. A dialog box will appear, where you have to set the Range of your Sparkline axis Independent of each row or column and exclude all the Zeros.
  • Once done, close the Edit Axis dialog box and hide the Sales header.
Tableau Spark Lines

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Tableau Bar-In-Bar Chart

Bar-In-Bar is one of the most popular advanced charts in a tableau that data scientists used to measure against one another. It consists of two bar charts interlocked with each other based on the measures present in the rows and columns section.

It only requires you to follow a few steps to create an interactive Bar-In-Bar chart as mentioned below:

  • In the new worksheet, drop the Profit and Sales measures to the Column and Row sections. Also, add State measure to the Detail marks section.
  • Now, open the Show Me panel on the right side of the interface and click on the Side-by-Side bars icon.
  • Once your chart is converted, drop the Measure Names from the columns section to the Size marks section.
  • Open the Analysis option from the above toolbar and turn off the Stack Marks option.
  • The above step will place the Measure Names at the bottom of the bar chart instead of the top.
  • At last, change the view of your chart to the Entire View and change the bar colors from the Color marks section.
Tableau Bar-In-Bar chart

Also, learn to build powerful tableau KPI dashboard through this blog.

Tableau Box Plot

Also known as the Box-and-Whisker Plot, the chart shows the distribution of various data values along the axis. The distribution is represented in the granular format with a measure in the Columns shelf and a dimension in the Rows shelf.

You can create a simple Box Plot in the tableau by following the steps given below:

  • Connect the sample data source with Tableau Desktop and drag the measure to the Columns section. Similarly, drag the Discount measure to Rows.
  • A vertical bar will appear on the interface.
  • Now, add the Region dimension to the right of the Segment on the Column section.

Following that, select the Box-and-whisker plot from the Show Me panel and drag Region dimension from the marks to the right of the Segment in the column section.

  • Go to the Analysis section and click on the Aggregate Measures option.
  • Interchange the axis of your chart using the Swap button just below the Server toolbar.
  • Finally, right-click on the X-axis, select the Edit Reference Line option and change the color of your Tableau Box Plot chart.
Tableau Box Plot

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Tableau Pareto Chart

Named after Vilfredo Pareto, it’s a type of chart that contains both a line graph and a bar chart. Here, the cumulative total is represented by the line graph and other data values with a bar chart in descending order.

There is a principle developed in the year 1906 called Pareto or 80-20 rule used to check the efficiency of your business plans. Below is a step-by-step guide for creating a Pareto chart in tableau:

  • Load the Sample_Superstore or any other dataset on the Tableau Desktop software.
  • Add the Sub-Category and Sales dimension from the Data panels to the Columns and Rows sections.
  • Select the sort option from the drop-down menu of the Sub-Category column.
  • A dialog box will appear where you have to select the sort order to Descending and other options as mentioned below screenshot.
  • Now, drag the Sales dimension to the right side of the interface until a dotted line appears.
  • Drop the Sales dimension there itself and a line will appear on your bar chart.
  • Now, open the drop-down menu of the second Sales row and select Add Table Calculation.
  • A dialog box will appear with different options for table calculations.
  • Select Running Total as the Primary Calculation Type and click on the Add secondary calculation checkbox.
  • Now, select percent of Total as the secondary calculation type, and a Pareto line will appear on the chart.
  • At last, change the color, size, and other properties of the line and your Pareto chart will be ready to be used in the Tableau dashboard.
Tableau Pareto Chart


From this tutorial, we’ve learned what are some of the advanced charts in Tableau and how to create them on your desktop software. These charts are fully customizable and can be used to display the information of various departments such as Sales, Marketing, and Development, etc.

If you have any questions or doubts, then check out our Business Intelligence community and get it resolved.

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