Bullet Chart in Tableau

What is a Bullet chart?

A bullet graph is a variation of a bar graph developed to replace dashboard gauges and meters. A bullet graph is useful for comparing the performance of a primary measure to one or more other measures. Below is a single bullet graph showing how actual sales compared to estimated sales.

Let me explain it through one example. We will take Sample-Superstore dataset and make one bullet chart. What are our requirements:

1) 0 or more dimensions : Sub-Categories

2) 2 measures : (Sales of 2019, Sales of 2020)

What do we want to achieve?

We want to see how 2020-Sales are performing as compared to 2019-Sales for various sub-categories

How to make the Bullet Chart in Tableau?

  1. Open Tableau Desktop and connect to the Sample-Superstore data source.

  2. Navigate to a new worksheet.

  3. First we need to create calculated fields for Sales_2019 and Sales_2020 as below

4. Bring SUM(Sales_2019) and SUM(Sales_2020) in columns and "Sub-Category" in the rows

5. Go to "Show me" and click on "Bullet Graph"

6. You might need to switch the reference line fields as Sales_2019 is shown instead of Sales_2020 in bars

7. Now it looks good.

8. You can change the distribution (by defalut it takes 60,80%. You need to Right-click ( the on the axis and select Edit Reference Line, and then select one of the reference lines to modify.

We can add Sales_2020 in Label to know the exact numbers

More uses of Bullet Chart

Bullet graphs are most often used to compare forecasts to actual numbers:

  1. Analysts to check if teams or departments are on track to meet their target goals.

  2. Hospitals use them to gauge capacity of hospital instruments at various locations

  3. Nonprofits measure progress towards fundraising goals.

  4. Manufacturing units to watch on overall inventory

Reference used

1) https://help.tableau.com/current/pro/desktop/en-us/qs_bullet_graphs.htm

2) Photo by Slidebean on Unsplash

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