Business Analysts use different visualizations to convert complex business datasets into an understandable format. They use tools like Tableau for creating stunning visualizations to represent and compare different data fields.
One such visualization is the Tableau Gauge chart that represents a single metric dataset in progression and compares the current values with the final result. The authors use these gauge charts in both statistical and exploratory tableau dashboards.
Following are the topics that we’ll walk through in this tutorial:
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What is a Gauge Chart?
Tableau Gauge chart is a type of visualization that represents a single metric or data field in a quantitative context. Just like a dial or a speedometer, the gauge chart shows the minimum, current, and maximum value that helps the user to understand how far the data value is from the maximum point.
These gauge charts are mostly used by the administrators to track the progression of different departments or important data fields. You can add a needle pointer to see in which range the current value is falling. Also, you can create the gauge with a KPI and stick it to the Dashboard.
Below is a sample gauge image for Tableau :
There are three major components of a Tableau speedometer graph:
- Gauge dial or Axis: Represents the given range of information in the numerical form with different colors and intervals.
- Needle: The needle points to a certain value just like it does for the current speed in a speedometer.
- Pivot Point: It’s the center point where the user can see the value at which the needle is placed.
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Now, let’s see where you can implement these Gauge Charts in Tableau.
When to use a Gauge Chart?
Due to their simplicity, Tableau gauge charts are widely used in tableau projects to represent a variety of scenarios with different data fields. Here are some of the cases where Gauge charts would fit in:
- Depict the range of information in a progressive manner.
- Compare the sales target against the number of sales done.
- Used for project management and to see the deadlines, development modules, and more.
- Represent statistical data in finance or economics reports.
- Indicate the performance of different domains in an administrative report.
- Perform competitive analysis or compare the performance of a product by implementing parameters.
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Advantages of Gauge Charts
Below are some of the advantages of using Gauge charts in Tableau dashboards:
- Easy to create and interpret as the user can divide the scale into different segments and represent each of them in separate colors.
- Used to show the Key Performance Indicators and help the stakeholders to make the right decisions
- The user can display a single data value that is relative to single or multiple values. For instance, you can show the work done at present against the total work.
- Depicts linear progression of a data field without a parallax error or an unforeseen issue.
Disadvantages of Gauge Charts
Although Tableau Gauge chart is one of the most widely used data visualizations by many data scientists and administrators, there are some disadvantages of using them like:
- Needs a lot of space in case multiple charts have been used, meaning you will need more charts to represent new information on the dashboard.
- Only shows the key information or progression, which might be misleading in the current Big Data environment.
- Figures like the gauge graph in Tableau cannot depict the changes down in multiple variables.
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Now, that you’ve understood what gauge charts are and their pros & cons, let’s move forward and learn how to build a Gauge chart in Tableau.
How to create a Gauge Chart in Tableau?
In order to create a Tableau gauge chart, you need to have a sample or dataset like the Sample_Superstore so that you can download and use it to learn the Tableau Desktop. After that, follow the steps given below to make a simple gauge chart in Tableau:
Creating the Donut chart and Calculated Fields
- Open the Tableau software on your computer and load the sample dataset in the interface.
- Once the data is loaded, establish the relationship between the tables and open the Tableau worksheet.
- Double-click on the Rows section, type in 0, and hit Enter, to create a dummy calculated field. Repeat it one more time and create a second calculated field. This will create an empty sheet with no values.
- Now, open the drop-down menu of the second dummy field and click on the Dual-Axis option.
- Following that, change the chart type to Pie from the Marks card. Also, remove the Measure Names from the All Marks section.
- Change the color of the second Pie(SUM(0)) to white so that it matches the background color.
- Also, decrease its size to convert it into a donut chart. Once done, change the View of your sheet to Entire View and spread the donut across the interface.
Now, we need to create different calculated Fields for distributing the slides of the donut chart. Therefore, you have to create seven calculated fields and write the codes for them as per the requirements.
In the following steps, we’ll divide our donut chart based on the percentage of values extracted from the Profit dimension:
- Click on the drop-down menu and select the Create Calculated Field option.
- A dialog box will appear on the screen where you need to write and apply the following codes. Also, rename the calculated field to Profit Percentage.
- Once, the code is applied, click on OK and the Profit Percentage will be added to the dataset as Fields. Now, we’ll create more such fields in the same manner.
- Also, we need to hide the bottom half portion of our donut chart so that it resembles a gauge chart. For that, create a calculator field with the MIN(1) formula.
- Create a calculated field named Colored<50 using the formula given below. This formula is used to calculate the area below 50% which needs to be filled.
- Grey<50% will differentiate the portion filled by Colored<50% in case the data doesn’t allow the field to fill the entire 50% of the chart.
- The next formula, Colored>50% will color the portion which is greater than 50%. If you want to show 65% in your Tableau gauge chart, then the initial 50% will be filled with Colored<50%, and the latter 156% will be filled with Colored>50%.
- Grey>50% will fill the remaining portion in the second quadrant of our Gauge chart. Referring to the above example, the remaining 35% will be highlighted by this field.
- Pointer 1 and Pointer 2 will be used to create a needle or the line representing the current value in our Tableau Gauge chart.
- Once you’ve created all the calculated fields, we’ll move on to the part, that is putting all the fields and measures to the right places.
Visualizing the Tableau Gauge Chart
Follow the steps given below to create a Gauge chart using the measures and calculated fields we made in the previous section:
- Drop Measure Names in the filters section and only select the measures you just created.
- The picture below shows the measures you have to select and apply to the filter.
- Now, drag Measure Names & Measure Values and drop them in the All Marks section.
- After this step, your chart will be divided into different sections based on the measured values.
- Once done, rearrange your Measure Values in the following order.
- After that, change the color of these Measure Values from the Color Marks Section as shown below. Just make sure to assign the same color to the same pairs like black to the Pointer1 & Pointer2 and blue to Colored<50% & Colored>50%.
- Now, for the finale, we’ll create a dummy calculated field to assign a different color palette to the measure names. So, write ‘Dummy’ in the code section and click on OK.
- Add this Dummy field in the Detail Marks section of the inner pie and then change that to Colors.
- The Measure Names and Dummy will create a temporary combined field in order to create an arc for the gauge chart and color the inner pie.
- So, change these dummy measure names by double-clicking on any one of the dummy measure names to the exact same color as shown below:
- Now, add the Category in the columns section to create three different gauge figures representing each category.
- Also, add the Category and Profit Percentage to the label Marks section. It will display the category and profit percentage in each gauge chart on their pivot point.
- In the above picture, the gauge chart is showing profit percentage in numerical format. But, you can change that to percent by clicking on the drop-down menu>> Quick Table Calculation>> Percent of Total.
- You can also do a few formatting changes such as the color and, labels, and size of your gauge chart.
- Finally, your Tableau gauge chart is created which you can either add to a Tableau Dashboard or share with other users through Tableau Server.
So that was all about Tableau gauge charts and how to create them. There are many scenarios where using a gauge chart to represent certain datasets would be the best choice. For example, you can show the work progress of the development team and see the amount of work they’ve completed. Gauge charts in Tableau can also be connected with live data sources and generate real-time insights.
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