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Year Over Year Visualizations

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Are you unsure of ways to show data comparing the current year data to the prior year? If you are new to Tableau you may not know where to begin with displaying year over year metrics. In the below blog article I discuss four ways to display this for your clients.


You can see these visualizations in my Tableau Public dashboard here.


Sparkline


In a previous blog here, I display the below Sparkline chart and advise you how to create it with various calculated fields.




Area Chart


In this AWS Training and Certification Style Guide Tableau Public dashboard by Yvan Forbes, there is an example of using an area chart. (Click on the dashboard tab to view the example.) It is a great visual as the previous year is in a darker color and is behind the current year. You can also change the opacity of the current year so you can see the year values behind it. I replicated this chart below;




Reference Line


You can first use a reference line in a Bar Chart along with a calculated field to identify what the values were for the previous year. You can then create a second calculated field to change the color of the bars to highlight the items that were less than the previous year.



This is the calculated field I placed on the Color Marks card;


Sales Less Than Prior Year

If SUM([Sales (This Year) ]) < SUM([Sales (Previous Year) ])

Then TRUE

Else FALSE

END


KPI


There are so many ways to display KPI's or Key Performance Indicators in a dashboard. A recommended design is to have your KPI's in the top prominent part of your dashboard. I included three different examples in the Tableau Public dashboard.


Example 1




The AWS Tableau Public dashboard I previously mentioned has an entire dashboard just on KPI visualizations. Click on KPI to view the different examples.

I prefer the BAN method for KPI's in this link by the Flerlage twins. I also like the way Alice McKnight has her KPI's in an Insurance Claims dashboard in Tableau Public here.


Example 2


Here is the last example in my dashboard which displays a left alignment instead of center.


Example 3


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