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How to create Thermometer Charts in Tableau

A thermometer Chart is beneficial if we want to track and monitor progress in terms of goals and targets set on a project. We can track our progress against the target over a period of time with a simple rising Thermometer chart.

It displays the percentage of the task completed, taking the target as 100%. The filled part goes up as the achievement increase. A thermometer chart is a variation of a Bar chart and it is often described as the linear version of the Gauge chart.

Pros and Cons of a Thermometer Chart.

  • It creates a quick visual impact to the audience to show how much work has been completed, the percentage of actual sales against target sales, fundraising, etc.

  • It can be used by businesses of all sizes to measure their performance.

  • Do not use a thermometer chart if there are multiple variables to calculate the goal that needs to be achieved.

Let us learn how to create a Thermometer Chart in Tableau

We are using Sample Superstore data for this example. We are going to compare the Actual Sales to the Target sales.

Step 1: Connect the Sample Superstore Excel to your Tableau Data Source.

Drag and drop Sum (Sales ) to the Columns field and Category to the Rows field. And create a simple bar chart like below :

Step 2: Now let us create the circle for the rounded bottom of the thermometer. For this, we need to create an empty measure field, which is just a placeholder. Double-click next to the sales in the column field and enter Avg(0) ,

This field will automatically change into AGG(AVG(0)), when you press Enter.

Step 3: Now right-click on the newly created field and select Dual Axis. The newly created chart will look like this below.

Step 4: Right-click on the axis of the chart and select synchronize axis. The newly created field will automatically start at the beginning of the axis at the zero line.

Step 5: Change the view to the Entire view. Right-click on the SUM(Sales) in the column field and select quick Table calculation and Percent Of Total.

You can see that a Δ delta icon would have appeared in front of the SUM (Sales) field which means a calculation has been applied in the field. The values in the chart also changed into the percentage of sales.

Step 6: Now drag Sales and drop it into the axis where you want to see the progress i.e., actual sales- two parallel green lines will appear like below.

After dropping the sales in the above green line, two sales fields will be added in the Measure Values below the Marks Pane.

Step 7: Right-click the previously added sales field and select Compute Using and Cell. Then right-click the newly added sales field and select Quick table calculation and Percentage Of Total. And then select Compute using Table (down). Now the chart will appear like below.

Step 8: Now swap the rows and columns, and then change the view to Entire view.

Step 9: Under Marks, Select All and change the chart type to Bar Chart. And the chart will look like below:

Step 10: Next, change the Bar type to circle, Under AVG (0), which will reflect the rounded bottom of the thermometer.

Step 11: Click the color icon under Measure Values and change the color of the chart as you desire. I have changed the % of Total Sales along Table (Across) to red and AVG(0) to red, which will reflect like mercury in the thermometer.

The newly updated chart will look like this,

Step 12: Go to Analysis and change the Stack Marks to Off.

When marks are stacked, they are drawn cumulatively along an axis. When marks are not stacked, they are drawn independently along an axis. That is, they are overlapping. since we need to show the progress of the actual sales to the target sales (i.e., 100 %), we are turning the Stack Marks as Off.

Step 13: Now in the Measure Values, swap the two Sales, which will automatically change the view of the chart.

Step 14: Now add Sales to Label under AGG(AVG(0)). And right click and Add Quick Table Calculation and Percent of Total.

Step 15: Now right-click the label and format it as per your preference. I like to change the number to Percentage. And remove the gridline by changing into none. And changing the font size of the Labels to bold.

Step 16: Remove the headers and any unwanted gridlines. Now our Thermometer chart is ready.


In this blog, we have analyzed the progress of actual sales to the target sales. These charts are commonly used to show the progress of fundraising to show the actual amount raised vs the target amount raised.

It works with a single value and is an appealing chart that can be included in your dashboards or presentations for a quick visual impact on the percentage achieved, performance against the target sales, percentage of work completion, percentage of capital/budget utilized in a project, etc.

Always keep in mind to understand your data and choose a visualization chart that best suits to be easily interpreted by your target audience.

Hope you enjoyed creating the Thermometer chart in Tableau.

Happy Reading !!!

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