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Tableau charts: Bar in bar chart

Updated: May 17, 2021

Bar in bar chart in Tableau


Bar-in-bar chart is simply two interlocking bar charts. Its useful when you need to illustrate change between two points. E.g. Profit between two timelines for different products or regions.

Example of a bar-in-bar chart

Example of a bar-in-bar in Tableau

Best practices for creating a bar-in-bar chart in Tableau.

  • Use distinct color code to show fields of comparison.

  • Show axis for reference when interpreting the view.

  • Provide additional details on the tooltip.

Step by step guide on how to create a bar-in-bar chart in Tableau.

In this article I will demonstrate to you how to build a bar in bar chart using Superstores data sets pre-packaged with Tableau app, The goal here will be revisiting our earlier post on Divergent bar chart and see if we can tackle the same challenge using bar in bar chart.

Like in our previous challenge, lets compute Sales for East and Central regions using the formula shown below.

tableau calculated field
tableau calculated field

Lets build our chart,..

  • Drag dimension Sub-Category to the Rows shelf.

  • Drag measure field East (Sales) to the Columns shelf.

  • Drag measure field Central (Sales) to the Columns shelf next to East (sales).

  • Right click on the right chart and choose Dual Axis.

dual axis chart

Note, the resulting chart may change from bars to something different. To rectify this, chose bar under marks card for both the charts.

The last step is very simple, it involves making bars of the first chart thick and bars of the second chart thin. This is made possible by use of Size tab under the marks card.

sizzling chart in tableau
tableau bar in bar chart

Note in the 1st chart, the Size scroller is almost at the end (Signifying thick bars) while in the 2nd chart, the Size scroller is at the middle. (Signifying thin bars)

Resulting chart.

bar in bar chart

Looking at the previous article on Divergent bar chart, see below.

divergent bar chart tableau

You will agree with me that bar in bar chart offers that instant insight, of being able to differentiate the top performing region in Sales without looking at the figures like in the case of divergent bar chart.

I hope this article was helpful to you. To receive more of the Tableau tips and tricks, kindly join our mailing list by subscribing below.

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About Me

More About the Author

Bernard K

Analytics Consultant | 3X Tableau Certified

Bernard is a data analytics consultant helping businesses reveal the true power of their data and bring clarity to their reporting dashboards. He loves building things and sharing knowledge on how to build dashboards that drive better outcomes.

Let’s discuss your data challenges! Let’s work together!

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