This is a Quick Tip on how to build Dual Bar Charts in Tableau, so less reading and more jumping in. We are going to spend 5 minutes or less building our Dual Bar charts.


Load the following data into Tableau Desktop / Public.

CountrySales (2017)Sales (2018)Target Sales (2018)
United States773200820000850520
United Kingdom904800745010995280


  • Drag Country onto Rows.
  • Drag Sales (2017) onto Columns.
  • Drag Sales (2018) onto Columns.
  • Right-click on the Sales (2018) pill in columns and select Dual Axis.
  • Right-click on the Sales (2018) header and select Synchronized Axis.
  • In the All Marks Panel:
    • Change the Mark Type to Bar.
    • Remove the Measure Names from Color.
  • In the SUM(Sales (2017)) Marks Panel:
    • Click on Color and select a shade of Grey.
    • Click on Size and set the size to 75%.
    • This will represent the previous year.
  • In the SUM(Sales (2018)) Marks Panel:
    • Drag Country onto Color.
    • Click on Color and set the border to White.
    • Drag Target Sales (2018) onto Detail.
    • Click on Size and set the size to 50%.
  • On the Canvas:
    • Right-click on the Sales (2018) header and choose Add Reference Line.
    • In the Add Reference Line, Band, or Box:
      • Set Scope to Per Cell.
      • Set Value to SUM(Target Sales (2018)).
      • Set Label to None.
      • Set Line to Dots and Second Smallest Size.
      • Click Ok.

Now we need to adjust the visualisation by:

  • Editing tooltips.
  • Editing colours.
  • Remove gridlines.
  • Hide headers.

And you should then end up with something like the following:

This is a nice and quick visualisation that a lot of my clients really seem to like. For example, you can see the following extremely quickly:

  • Germany is the only country whose 2018 sales Exceeded their 2018 target.
  • India and the United States 2018 sales DID NOT surpass their respective 2017 sales.
  • France and the United Kingdoms 2018 sales Exceeded 2017 sales but DID NOT surpass their 2018 targets. 


I hope you all enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Do let me know if you experienced any issues recreating this Visualisation, and as always, please leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter @Tableau_Magic.

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