Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Horizontal Bar Chart

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Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Horizontal Bar Chart

Not everyone is a Tableau guru, at least not yet. To help Tableau rookies, we’re starting from square one with the Tableau Essentials blog series. The series is intended to be an easy-to-read reference on the basics of using Tableau Software, particularly Tableau Desktop. Since there are so many cool features to cover in Tableau, the series will include several different posts.

The horizontal bar chart is a bit of a misnomer, because simply switching the axes with the Swap button in the Tableau toolbar will magically make a horizontal bar chart into a vertical bar chart! That’s actually not the crux of this chart – it is simply that the measures are presented in a stand-alone bar. Should your bars be horizontal or vertical? Well, it depends on space and your labels. If you have to turn your head to the left for a long period of time to read the labels on a vertical bar chart, then it’s best to swap your view.

Some Cases for the Horizontal Bar Chart

A horizontal chart type is right up there with the pie chart in terms of popularity, but it has far more utility. The chart makes quick work of information consumption for the report viewer. They can immediately see comparative relationships as well as approximate numeric values.

Horizontal bar chart

Figure 1: Horizontal bar chart.

Horizontal bar charts are also easily sorted to present highs and lows. The example below highlights the real value of a bar chart in telling the “story” of the data.

Sorted by Profit

Figure 2: Sorted by Profit.

Finally, these types of charts are great for additional formatting to provide another level of information. An example might be a color scheme based on Profit Margin.

Formatted by Profit Margin

Figure 3: Formatted by Profit Margin.

In the final example above, I formatted the color of our bar marks by Profit Margin. Any value that was below 50% was colored with an orange scheme, and any values above that were colored in a blue scheme. The darker the blue, the higher the value.

There you have it! A horizontal bar chart is a simple yet effective way to communicate certain types of data, which is exactly why they’re so popular. They may not be flashy, but simpler is sometimes better.

Other Chart Types

Here is the complete list of chart types from the Show Me menu. Be sure to check back often as we continue to release new articles in each chart type in this sub-series.

Introduction

  1. Text Table (Crosstab)
  2. Heat Map
  3. Highlight Table
  4. Symbol Map
  5. Filled Map
  6. Pie Chart
  7. Horizontal Bar Chart
  8. Stacked Bar Chart
  9. Side-by-Side Bar Chart
  10. Treemap
  11. Circle View
  12. Side-by-Side Circle View
  13. Line Charts (Continuous & Discrete)
  14. Dual-Line Chart (Non-Synchronized)
  15. Area Charts (Continuous & Discrete)
  16. Scatter Plot
  17. Histogram
  18. Box-and-Whisker Plot
  19. Gantt Chart
  20. Bullet Graph
  21. Packed Bubbles

More Tableau Essentials

Want to learn more about Tableau? We have several posts outlining all of Tableau’s fantastic features. Check out the full list on our Tableau Essentials blog channel.

As always, let us know if you have any questions or comments about this post or Tableau in general. If you’re looking for personalized training or help with something bigger, contact us directly!

Contact Us

Want More Tableau Essentials

  1. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Introduction
  2. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – The Text Table
  3. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Heat Map
  4. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Highlight Table
  5. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Symbol Map
  6. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Filled Map
  7. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Pie Chart
  8. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Horizontal Bar Chart
  9. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Stacked Bar Chart
  10. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Side-by-Side Bar Chart
  11. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Treemap
  12. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Circle View
  13. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Side-by-Side Circle View
  14. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Line Charts (Continuous & Discrete)
  15. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Dual-Line Chart (Non-Synchronized)
  16. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Area Charts (Continuous & Discrete)
  17. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Scatter Plot
  18. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Histogram
  19. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Box-and-Whisker Plot
  20. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Gantt Chart
  21. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Bullet Graph
  22. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Packed Bubbles
  23. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Introduction
  24. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Custom Shapes
  25. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Labels
  26. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Color
  27. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Tooltips
  28. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Maps
  29. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Introduction
  30. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Logical Functions
  31. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Number Functions
  32. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Date Functions
  33. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – String Functions
  34. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Type Conversion
  35. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Aggregate Functions
  36. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – User Functions

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Carly Capitula

Principal / Enablement Practice Lead
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