Create a Barbell Chart

Published: 22 Aug 2017
Last Modified Date: 30 Dec 2019


How to make a barbell chart. This chart is also known as a dumbbell chart, a DNA chart, or a connected dot chart.


Tableau Desktop


A DNA chart can be created with a dual axis Gantt bar and Circle chart. The attached example workbook uses the example data set Superstore to demonstrate the following directions:
  1. Drag [Sales] to the Columns shelf
  2. Drag [Sub-Category] to the Rows shelf
  3. Drag [Order Date] to Color on the marks card
  4. Drag [Order Date] to the Filter shelf
  5. In the Filter Field dialog, select Years and click Next >
  6. In the Filter dialog, check only 2014 and 2015 and click OK
  7. On the marks card, in the drop-down, select Circle
  8. Create a calculated field with a name like "2015 Sales" with a calculation similar to the following:
    { FIXED [Sub-Category] : SUM
    IF YEAR([Order Date]) = 2015
    THEN [Sales]
    ) }
  9. Create a calculated field with a name like "Difference" with a calculation similar to the following:
    { FIXED [Sub-Category] : SUM(
    IF YEAR([Order Date]) = 2014
    THEN [Sales]
    ) }
    [2015 Sales]
  10. Drag [2015 Sales] to the Columns shelf.
  11. Click [2015 Sales] on the Columns shelf to open the SUM(2015 Sales) marks card.
  12. In the SUM(2015 Sales) marks card, do the following:
    1. In the dropdown, select Gantt Bar
    2. Remove YEAR(Order Date) from Color
    3. Drag [Difference] to Size
    4. Optional: click Size and adjust the thickness of the bar with the slider.
  13. Right-click [2015 Sales] on the Columns shelf and select Dual Axis
  14. Right-click the Sales axis at the bottom of the view and select Move marks to front
  15. Right-click [2015 Sale] on the Columns shelf and un-check Show Header

Additional Information

To view the above steps in action, see the video below.
Note: the video has no sound. To view the video in higher quality, click the YouTube icon below to watch it on YouTube directly.

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