Tableau Gantt charts are very useful for tracking time in a process.  This could be time from order to time to ship (important if you are Amazon Prime!), or time from hospital admission to discharge by patient or department, or any number of other examples. Tableau Gantt Charts are also useful for tracking progress on a project.   

A dual axis Tableau Gantt chart is an even more advanced visualization.  It allows you to show the peak times during a timeframe, or you can emphasize when work is being done (say, for instance, you can see when someone is logged on to their computer, and when they are on Facebook and for how long – scary huh?!).  Here’s an example from one of Tableau’s elite Zen Masters, Matt Francis: 

Tableau Gantt Chart

For now, we’ll just build a normal Tableau gantt chart. 

  1. Right click on Ship Date and drag it to the Columns shelf.  A window will pop up asking you which date type you want.  For Tableau gantt charts to work, the axis needs to be continuous.  Choose Ship Date (Continuous). 
Tableau Gantt Chart with Milestones
  1. Drag Customer Name to the Rows shelf. 
  1. The time period is too large for any type of meaningful analysis, so drag Ship Date to the Filters shelf. 
  1. Choose range of dates, and set it to be 9/1/2011 to 11/30/2011. 
  1. Drag the Time to Ship calculation to the Size shelf.  If you don’t have this calculation, create it by right clicking and creating a calculated field with [Ship Date] – [Order Date] as the formula. 
  1. You now have a Tableau Gantt chart.  The long bars will provide a visual indicator of who had to wait the longest for their order and will likely be an irate customer. 
  1. Drag this same calculation to the Color shelf as well. 
  1. Click on the down arrow on the color legend that appears at the top right and Edit Colors to be Red-Blue Diverging. 
  1. Check the Stepped Color box and set it to 4 steps. 
  1. Check the Reversed box.  Click Ok. 
Tableau Gantt Chart Time
  1. Title the chart “Shipping Delays in the Past 3 Months.” 
Tableau Gantt Bar Chart

Advantages of Using a Tableau Gantt Chart

As you’ve seen on the samples above, there is no doubt that a Tableau Gantt Chart can create a picture of complexity. But apart from that, it helps data analysts to organize thoughts. If you are a fan of using the divide and conquer concept, this chart applies it very well. It basically forces you to use this concept.

Most of all, Tableau Gantt Charts can help set realistic time frames on tasks.

Disadvantages of Using a Tableau Gantt Chart

With such detailed visualization, it is easy for a Tableau Gantt chart to be extraordinarily complex. This makes it hard to see gantt charts on a piece of paper. Moreover, the bars on gantt charts may not necessarily translate to the amount of work required to complete a task.

Did you know?

The most frequent use cases on Continuous dates will be when you are creating Tableau Gantt charts (which we will cover later on) and when you want to see a continuous, unbroken trend.  To change the chart to continuous, you would click the down arrow on Order Date and select Exact Date, or one of the date types just above it. Something to be aware of with Discrete dates, however, is that they will aggregate to the level that you put on the shelves and nothing more. 

Congratulations! You finally have an additional Tableau skill in your arsenal. But, if you really want to take your Tableau Gantt chart skill to the next level, our Tableau classes will definitely take you to the next level!