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Tableau Charts: Divergent bar chart - Makeover

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

Divergent bar chart in Tableau

This is a makeover of the previous article on divergent bar chart. So, why re-do this chart? What is it different from the previous one? I know those are the questions lingering in your mind. The perfect response would be, this new amendment helps interpret this chart better, especially when difference between metrics being compared is small.

Divergent bar chart helps users compare a dimension against two measures. But you’ll note that, when the existing different between these measure fields being compared is small, the visual difference can be lost. Therefore, this article introduces proportional comparison aspect to help interpreting data in such scenarios. This is enabled by plotting the maximum value of the two fields being compared.

I will be using data on Superstores, to compare Sales for East & West Region for different product Sub-Category’s.

Therefore, here is my calculations for the two measure fields I will be using.

Using the previous article’s procedure, I will create a simple divergent bar chart, shown below.

Next, I will need to create a Level of Detail (LOD) calculation to help select the maximum Total Sales between East & West Region for each product Sub-Category.

Now for the left side metrics.

  • Choose bar under the marks card

  • Drag the calculated field - Max Total Sales - to the left side of the Columns shelf

  • Reverse the axis

  • Change axis to dual axis

  • Synchronize the axis


Select the bar supported by this new calculated field – chose ‘white’ color or ‘Background color’ for your case, add a border line – for this case – black border line.

Repeat the same for the metrics on the right side as shown below;

Executing this we’ve;

Comparing this with the previous divergent chart, you’ll agree with me that this provides an extra detail on where metrics fall compared to the maximum of the comparison pair – just like for the case of bar-in-bar chart.

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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.

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