Creating a Simple Combination Chart in Tableau


Say I want to create a chart that compares sales and profit for different regions. I could make something like this:

Combination chart (part 0)

Now this chart is all fine and dandy, but what if I wanted to get a little more creative than that. I want to put both of these data sets on the same graph so I can get a direct comparison; the best way to build this is by making a quick and easy combination chart. Combination charts are great tools to use to compare any two variables that use the same value measure such as currency, quantity, or time. In Tableau, these charts can be customized to show data in multiple ways and find patterns that you may not have noticed otherwise.

How to make a Combination Chart:

Begin by dragging your measures to your rows area and your dimension to your columns area. In this example I drag “sales” and “profit” to the rows and “region” to the columns. Next, click on the drop down arrow next to your second measure in the rows area and select “dual axis”. This will put your bars on the same axis and bring you chart together.

Combination chart (part 1) Combination chart (part 2)

Now the chart may look great, but if you notice, the axis for sales and the axis for profit are very different. In a combination chart, we want each axis to show the same value. To fix this, right-click on an axis and select “Synchronize Axis”; this will arrange it so that each axis shows the same values.

Combination chart (part 3) Combination chart (part 4)

And there you have it! A simple, yet effective combination chart. Experiment with the different colors and chart types to make your graph even more interesting. You can also add labels and hierarchies to go into more depth. Make sure whatever you make is clean and properly labeled so that you can upload it to the Tableau public server.

Combination chart (part 5)

About Pradheeth R

"Data is the new oil? No, data is the new soil." - David McCandless, TEDGlobal 2010 Tableau Data Scientist/Analyst at Novedea Systems. Southern Methodist University graduate with a double major in Economics and Psychology.

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