Bullet Graphs

Reference distributions can also be used to create bullet graphs. A bullet graph is a variation of a bar graph developed to replace dashboard gauges and meters. The bullet graph is generally used to compare a primary measure to one or more other measures in the context of qualitative ranges of performance such as poor, satisfactory, and good. You can create a bullet graph by adding two reference lines: a distribution to indicate the qualitative ranges of performance, and a line to indicate the target.
  1. Select two measures in the Data window. These measures will be compared in the bullet graph. For example, budget vs. actual; actual vs. target; etc.

  2. Click the Show Me button in the toolbar.

  3. Select Bullet Graph in the Show Me pane.

Two reference lines are added. By default, Tableau adds a reference distribution that is defined at 60% and 80% of the Average of the measure on Detail. It also adds a reference line that marks the Average of that same measure. The other measure is placed on the Rows shelf.

To quickly swap the two measures, right-click on the continuous axis and select Swap Reference Line Fields.

Edit each of the reference lines to change their definitions. For example, you may want to add 100%, or draw a line at a constant value.


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