Dual Axis Charts in Tableau

Shipra Saxena 23 Feb, 2024 • 5 min read

Introduction

Data visualization is a key aspect of any analytics profession. It communicates a data story in a simplistic, yet aesthetically pleasing and impactful manner. According to Vitaly Friedman, the “main goal of data visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means.”

And there’s no better tool than Tableau for achieving this! Tableau is one of the most trusted tools by the community. It has been recognized as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms for 8 years. That’s incredible!

In this article, we will see how to create the most desirable and useful dual axis charts.

Dual Axis Charts in Tableau

 Learning Objective

  • Understand the significance of dual-axis charts in Tableau for visualizing relationships between measures with varying scales.
  • Learn how to create dual-axis charts in Tableau, utilizing both bar charts and line graphs for effective data representation.
  • Master the synchronization of axes in Tableau dual-axis charts to ensure accurate comparison of data points for insightful data analysis. 

Pre-Requisites

For the article and task, make sure you have Tableau installed in your system. I am using Tableau Public, which you can download for free. The data we’ll be using is the US sample superstore dataset widely used in the Tableau community. Here is the link to download the Superstore dataset (but the dataset will be available for you inside Tableau itself).

New to Tableau? We have the perfect free course to get you started:

Create Dual Axis Charts

A dual-axis chart is used to present the relationship between two variables. More specifically, these charts are useful for demonstrating the relationship between two or more measures with different amplitude and scale. The dual-axis charts help in presenting plenty of information in the limited space present on your dashboard and also allow you to understand the trends you may have missed otherwise.

For example, we have the Profit and Sales measures in our US Super Store dataset. These two measures have different magnitudes and scales. Let’s dive directly into the implementation in a stepwise manner. Similarly, you can go to Profit and change its shape to a line chart. y exploring different chart types, users can gain deeper insights into their data.

Here, for our visualization, we will use three attributes sub-categories from the dimensions and two measures, i.e., Profit and Sales.

Open a new worksheet and add the Sub-category from the dimension pane to the Columns shelf.

Dual axis Chart

Now pick Sales from the Measures pane and drop in the Row shelf below the Sub-Category. Ensure that the data source is correctly selected. Similarly, Select Profit Measure and drop it next to the Sales in Row shelf. After this step, your visualization will look as shown in the image below.

Dual axis Chart

Here we have two charts present on multiple axes. The next step is to convert these two different charts into a dual axis chart. For this click on the triangle present on the profit pill in the rows shelf.

Dual axis Chart

Hereafter, you will have a drop-down menu just select the Dual axis option from that.

Dual axis Chart

Once you select the Dual axis boom! your visualization changes completely. Like this

Dual axis Chart

Although you have a dual-axis visualization, they are on different scales. Now, there is a need to bring both measures on the same scale using a synchronized axis. For this, right-click on any axis, Profit or Sales, and select synchronize axis from the menu. As shown in the following image.

Dual axis Chart

Here is the result you have your Dual axis chart with synchronized axes.

To make it more interesting, you can play around with it further. Like changing the shape of Sales from Automatic to bar in the market card or, changing the respective colors, or adding borders. Similarly, you can create a combination chart by going to Profit and changing its shape to a line chart. Your final visualization will look like this. Interesting right? Experimenting with different mark types adds versatility to your charts. After completing these steps, you can customize your measure values to enhance the insights provided by your dual-axis chart or side-by-side.

Dual axis Chart

Similarly, you can go to Profit and change its shape to a line. Your final visualization will look like this. Interesting right!

Dual axis Chart

Conclusion

In conclusion, mastering the creation of dual-axis charts in Tableau is crucial for effective data visualization and analysis. These charts, whether showcasing bar charts or line graphs, allow users to understand relationships between measures, such as profit and sales, even with differing scales. With Tableau Desktop, users can seamlessly integrate dimensions like measure names and order date into their visualizations, enhancing the depth of data analysis. Understanding how to synchronize axes ensures accurate comparison of data points, facilitating insightful data analysis. By following this tutorial, users can confidently leverage dual-axis charts to unlock deeper insights into their datasets, date field and make informed business decisions.

Key Takeaways

  • Dual-axis charts in Tableau are powerful tools for visualizing relationships between measures with differing scales, aiding in comprehensive data analysis.
  • The step-by-step tutorial provided valuable insights into creating dual-axis charts, incorporating both bar charts and line graphs effectively to represent data.
  • Mastering the synchronization of axes ensures accurate comparison of data points in Tableau dual-axis charts, facilitating deeper insights into datasets and informed decision-making.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is dual axis in Tableau?

A. Dual axis in Tableau refers to having two axes in the same graph, allowing for the analysis of multiple measures simultaneously. It’s a feature that enables you to plot two separate measures on two independent axes layered in the same pane.

Q2. How do you make a dual axis graph?

A. To create a y-axis or x-axis graph in Tableau, you start by making a graph for one measure, then drag the second measure onto the right side of the view until you see a black dashed line appear.

Q3. Can you do dual axis with 3 measures Tableau?

A. In Tableau, you can create a dual axis with 3 measures by using a combination of dual axis and shared axis. However, it’s important to note that each dual axis can only accommodate two measures.

Q4. What is the difference between a dual axis chart and a combined axis chart?

A. The difference between a dual axis chart and a combined axis chart is that a dual axis chart creates two independent axes for different graph types, while a combined axis merges two or more measures into a single axis.

Q5. How to Become a Tableau Developer?

A. To become a Tableau Developer, one should have a solid educational foundation, develop technical and analytical skills, gain practical experience with Tableau Dashboard , and join the Tableau tutorial Developer Program.

Shipra Saxena 23 Feb 2024

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