A Detailed Guide on How to Create a Tableau Pareto Chart

A Tableau Pareto chart is a type of  Tableau chart that contains both bars and a line graph, where individual values are represented in descending order by bars, and the cumulative total is represented by the line. 

It highlights the 80/20 rule, which states that typically 80% of the results are caused by 20% of the factors.  For example, 80% of sales are caused by 20% of salespeople.  Or 80% of the problems are caused by 20% of the processes.

It’s helpful for knowing what’s driving your issue and by how much.  It also dictates where you should focus your efforts and how much impact those will create. 

How to Create Pareto Chart in Tableau

  1. Drag Profit to Rows and Product Name to Columns. 
  1. Click the Sort Desc icon at the top below the Analysis menu. 
  1. Click on Profit and then hold down the ctrl key and drag a second instance of the pill to the right on the Rows shelf. 
  1. Click the down arrow on the of the second Profit pill. Click Add Table Calculation.   
  1. In the calculation type, select Running Total.  Leave all the other defaults. 
Tableau Pareto Chart
Tableau Pareto Charts
  1. Click the down arrow again on that second Profit pill.  Click “Edit Table Calculation.” 
  1. In the window that pops up, check the box in the bottom left that reads “Add Secondary Calculation.” 
  1. In the Secondary Type box, select Percent of Total.  Leave the other defaults.   
  1. Close the box.  You’ll now have two charts, one on top of the other.  The first has your profit sorted by product in descending order.  The second shows the percent of the total profit that each individual product contributes.  So if total profit was $500 and Product A had a profit of $100, it would be 20% of the total profit 
Pareto Chart Tableau
  1. On the second Profit pill, right click or click the down arrow.  Choose Dual Axis.  This combines them into the same chart. 
  1. On the marks card, there are now two shelves, one for Sum(Profit), and the other says Sum(Profit) and has a triangle next to it (representing that it’s a table calculation). 
  1. Click the first shelf for Profit and change the mark type to bar. 
  1. On the second shelf (with the triangle), change that mark type to line. 
  1. On the colors shelf, change the color of the bars to gray, and the line to orange. 
  1. Right click on the orange line and select Drop Lines > Show Drop Lines. 
Pareto Chart in Tableau
  1. Right click on the secondary axis (on the right hand side) and Add a Reference Line
  1. Set the Scope to Entire Table.  Set the Value in the middle section to Constant (from the drop down menu) and type in 0.6. 
Pareto in Tableau
  1. Click ok. 
  1. You can now click any point on the orange line and see what portion of the cumulative profits it represents.  By lassoing the bars under the 60% reference line, we can get a count to see how many products comprise 60% of the overall company profits.  Of the 1263 products in the database, <35 make up 60% of the overall profits.  That’s a staggering finding! 
How to Create Pareto Chart in Tableau

We hope that learning how to create a Tableau Pareto chart helps you and your company find solutions to your problems by finding the driving factors on each issue you are facing. If you want to learn more about Advanced Tableau charts, be sure to enroll in our individual and corporate Tableau courses.