Dials, Gauges and Speedometers in Tableau Desktop

This article will describe how to create dials, gauges and speedometers in Tableau Desktop.

Using Tableau Desktop to create any sort of rotary dial or speedometer to indicate performance is a bad, bad idea.  Stephen Few, a highly respected data visualisation expert, comments against them time and time again.  This article is an example of his views: https://www.perceptualedge.com/blog/?p=1706

Gauges are not a standard chart type in Tableau Desktop but they can be created.  Several years ago I was asked to create a Tableau dashboard with dials!  I advised against this and suggested bullet charts but in the end I had to deliver.



You can download my workbook to see how I achieved this but the steps in brief are:

Firstly you need an image showing the background of the gauge.

The pointer is created by plotting two data points and by drawing a line between the two.  These data points are plotted using measures which give X and Y co-ordinates.  One of the points will represent the pivot (0,0) and the other will plot the end of the pointer.  The co-ordinates for the end of the pointer are calculated using the score and SIN or COS.  In the example I created the top of the chart would reflect 100% against target, the bottom left of the chart 0% and bottom right 200%.

In a new worksheet go to Maps > Background Images and navigate to your image.  You will need to specify the X and Y fields as well as supplying ranges for the axes:

Background image in Tableau Desktop









Then add the X measure to the columns shelf and the Y measure to the rows shelf.

Both the X and Y axes will need to be edited to have their scales fixed.

The dimension which gives you the two points will then need to be added to Path on the Marks shelf.  I have also added the same dimension to Size to add a tapering effect to the pointer.