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How to Create Ghost Bar Charts!

There are so many ways you can enhance a bar chart. If you haven't had a chance to, you should favorite this dashboard called Bar Chart Menu by Robert Rouse. He provides a couple of visual ways you can display bar charts!

I like the philosophy less is more with designing dashboards. You don't want to put too much on one dashboard to overwhelm your users. Lindsey Poulter uses a minimal color choice in this dashboard called Similar Sales w/ Parameter Actions. In this dashboard the selected city, (which you choose from the left-hand list) is in a very light color blue and the rest of the bar charts are in a very light grey.

In my dashboard here, I created Ghost Bar charts! I'm calling this a ghost bar chart because the bar is just an outline of a bar. When you click on it, the color appears! It kind of made me think of the ghosts in the Pac-Man video game when they change color.

You can see the example in the short video clip below;

How did I do this? You can follow the steps below or watch my YouTube demo here!

I removed the color from inside the bar by moving the opacity to 0%! Then gave the Border a color.

But notice there is a line at the bottom of my bar chart! How did I achieve this?

You can do this in two ways; you can create a dual axis with an in-line calculation or you can just edit the axis. I used a Min(0) calculation for the secondary axis. I synchronized the axis and then changed the secondary Marks card type to a Line.

For the second method, you can adjust the axis to display more of a negative value by right-clicking on it and selecting Edit Axis. Then you can select the Custom button and add a fixed start of -2000. (You may have to adjust this depending on your visualization.)

The second method has less formatting that the first.

Additionally I applied the No Highlight method of the previous blog post here to remove the bar highlight. This uses the Dummy calculated field.

Feel free to download the dashboard if you wish to see how it's configured.


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