Tableau Essentials

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Bullet Graph, Packed Bubble, Histograms, Gantt Charts in Tableau

The last four chart types: Tableau Bullet Graph, Packed Bubble, Histogram, and Gantt Charts provided by “show me” are completely different tools.

Bullet Graph

A bullet graph is a very powerful way to compare data against historical performance or pre-assigned thresholds. As you’ll see, we can include a lot of information in a small space with this type of chart that is also Tableau’s answer to those looking for a gauge or meter visualization. A bullet graph is similar to a standard bar graph except that there is a distribution showing progress towards a goal behind the bar. Like a standard bar graph, a bullet graph can be presented either horizontally or vertically. They are bar charts, that include a reference line and a reference distribution for each cell in the plot. In the example, current year sales (bars) are compared to prior year sales (red reference lines). The gray color band behind the bar represent sixty and eight percent of the prior year sales. Bullet graphs pack a lot of information into a small space.

Packed Bubble

The packed bubbles view, also known as a bubble chart, is a means to show relational value without regards to axes. The bubbles are packed in as tightly as possible to make efficient use of space. 
There are a lot of different ways to use this information, particularly with a data set that uses a large variety of fields.

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Bubble charts offer another way to present one-to-many comparisons by using size and color. They can be interesting to look at, but do not allow for very precise comparisons between the different bubbles. For this reason, limit the situations that don’t require precise visual ranking of the bubbles.


A histogram is a visual representation of the distribution of data. There are two ways to create a histogram:
1. Select a single measure. Right-click on that measure to create a bin field. Drag the bin field from Dimensions to the Column shelf. Drag and drop your measure on the Row shelf and change the aggregation to Count.
2. Select a single measure, then just click on the Histogram chart type on Show Me. Tableau will do all of the extra steps listed in #1 for you!
Histograms turn normally continuous measures into discretely -bucketed bins of numeric values. For example, histogram breaks down profits into five hundred dollar increments. The bar’s length shows the number of orders that fall within the band.

Related Page: What Are The Tips, Tricks And Timesavers In Tableau?

Gantt Charts

The Gantt chart was invented back in the 1910s by MR. HENRY GANTT as a way to visualize a schedule or progression of time. Since then, the Gantt chart has become a staple of project management methodology. Each task can be planned as an individual data point with interdependencies on other tasks and resources. You can see how a complicated project, such as developing a software application, could use a tool like this.

You’ve probably seen Gantt charts before being used in project planning. The length of each bar color in the example displays a time duration for an activity. These are particularly useful when you want to visualize the timing and duration of events. In this example, the length of the bar is the duration of time required to complete a shipment. The starting position of the bar is the date the order was received.

Related Article: What Are The Advanced Chart Types In Tableau?

Using Tableau View Structure to Create New Data when you are new to Tableau and don’t completely grasp how each shelf affects your chart’s appearance, Show Me will help you build charts without having to understand the mechanics. Show Me helps everyone achieve the desirable results quickly, and it helps you gain an understanding of the mechanics of how each shelf and field type can change the appearance of your visualizations.

Once you have a chart in view, you can use that chart structure to add additional information. Two common ways to do this are by adding trend lines or reference lines to your chart. The numbers used to derive trend lines and reference lines can come from the view in Tableau itself and don’t necessarily require that the data must exist in your data source.

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