• Bernard

Numerical KPI’s with Shapes in Tableau


There are several techniques/ways of presenting KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) in our information dashboards. Being the most important business information – these information should be presented in such that it is obvious to interpret. Some of common charts for presenting KPI’s include; thermometer, dial, gauge, bullet chart, number KPI’s (Big number chart), etc.

A good example of a Big number chart is in the example below;

(When these large number KPI’s are paired with shapes can help us communicate effectively – as users are guided by color and shape orientation to instantly interpret the viz)

So, how do I create number KPI's with Shapes (up and down arrows)?

To demonstrate this, I will be using Superstores data set to compute percent difference in Profit for different Regions in different years.

Creating a calculation that returns the same results as in the above table

Now, let’s make this calculation a true/false (a boolean) calculation, by adding >0 to our equation above, (implying any value greater than zero will be our true value – hence upward arrow while any value below zero will be false – hence downward arrow)

Change the view’s marks card to shape.

Add the above calculation to the Shape and Color shelf respectively

Customize your shapes by changing the type of shapes and color – in this case have added up and down arrows and color coded up arrow in green (implying growth) while down arrow in red (drop) - with nulls being color coded same as the viz background color so to blend in.

Using different variation of arrows

Note the difference in our first table and the last two views with shapes and color cues. Interpreting data is much easier when visual cues are present in our dashboards.

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