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Tableau charts: Lollipop chart

Updated: May 17


Lollipop chart in Tableau

Definition

Lollipop chart functions just like a normal bar chart. But visually it consists of a line and a dot at the end to mark the value.

Example of lollipop chart

example of lollipop chart

Best practices for creating a lollipop chart in Tableau.

  • Sorting the lollipop chart makes it more interpretable.

  • Use color and gridlines with caution to avoid clutter.

  • Always label the axis clearly.

  • Provide additional details on the tooltip.

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

Related: How to create a dual axis chart.

I will be using dataset on Superstores pre-packaged with Tableau app, to visualize Sales for different product Sub-Category’s as a lollipop chart. Connect dataset above to Tableau app and follow along.

Step 1: Build a simple bar chart.

  • Drag dimension field ‘Sub-Category’ to the rows shelf.

  • Drag measure field ‘Sales’ to the columns shelf.

  • Select ‘Bar’ under the Marks card.

Bar chart

Step 2: Create a dual bar chart (duplicate the view).

Two ways to do this;

  • Hold down Ctrl key and drag the aggregate field SUM(Sales) in the columns shelf next to itself.

or

  • Drag the measure field ‘Sales’ to the columns shelf next to the aggregate field SUM(Sales).

Dual charts in Tableau

Make the charts dual.

Synchronize the axis.

Synchronizing axis in Tableau dual chart

Step 3: Change the second bar chart to a circle.

This can be done as follows;

  • Select the second bar chart and change it to ‘Shape’ under marks card.

  • Choose circle on the ‘Shape’ tab.

Assigning shapes in Tableau lollipop chart

Adjust the two charts as follows;

  • Make the bar chart (1st chart) thinner and the circles (2nd chart) larger by adjusting their respective sizes under Size tab.

Resizing Tableau lollipop chart

Executing this gives us the Lollipop chart below;

Tableau lollipop chart final

Note, the Shape tab of the second chart gives us a variety of icons we can use, giving us control of how we would like to present our data. See the few examples have compiled below.

Variations of Tableau lollipop chart

From our resulting chart of this article, you will agree with me that a Lollipop chart doesn’t add any new insights if you were to compare it with a simple bar chart. But, it gives us a different way of presenting same insights, making users more interested in the viz, adding some fun and new perspective too.

But this is not all we can do with the shapes in a Lollipop chart, we can add different icons other than the standard ones provided by Tableau, we can even add images which resonates with our data story to add some context.

Therefore regarding this, in our next article of the Tableau tips, we’ll be demonstrating how to use external images and icons in a Lollipop chart, to improve our data story telling.

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