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


Load the following data into Tableau Desktop / Public.

The United States of America200210.98
United Kingdom20021.62
Russian Federation20020.35
The United States of America201216.24
United Kingdom20122.46
Russian Federation20122.02

Let us create a dumbbell chart to show the growth of GDP from 2002 to 2012.

Note: This data has been taken from the Tableau World Indicators data source.


  • Drag GDP onto Columns, twice.
  • Drag Country onto Rows.
  • Right-click on the second SUM(GDP) pill on Columns and select Dual Axis.
    • Right-click on the axis and select Synchronise Axis
  • In Marks, you will have:
    • All.
    • SUM(GDP).
    • SUM(GDP)(2).
  • In the SUM(GDP) Marks:
    • Change the Mark Type to Line.
    • Drag Country onto Detail.
    • Drag Year onto Detail.
      • Ensure that Country is on top of Year.
    • Drag GDP onto Path.
    • Change the Colour to a light grey colour.
  • In the SUM(GDP)(2) Mark:
    • Change the Mark Type to Circle.
    • Drag Country to Detail.
    • Drag Year to Color.

Now we need to adjust the visualisation by:

  • Adding tooltips.
  • Editing the colours.
  • Remove gridlines.

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

This is a very nice way of representing growth in GDP and with a quick glance, we can see that the United States of America had a greater GDP in 2002 than the other countries on the list. We can also see that China has experienced tremendous growth in the decade between 2002 and 2012. With sorts and tooltips, this becomes really cool.

Note: instead of circles you can also have squares, but I find circles cuter. We all have our quirks.


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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