Tableau Tip: Headers & Formatting

This was originally posted on my first blog, Data vs Food, in January 2018

This is a small tip looking at headers and formatting within Tableau. It was something that came up when I was comparing various metrics with thresholds using a bullet graph.

This is the original version, the bar changes colour when it goes below the threshold, the threshold is a reference line and the value of both the bar and threshold is shown.


This looks fine, but when you’re viewing multiple bars with varying thresholds (some percentages, some larger numbers, etc.) it can start to look a little cluttered. I decided that I wanted the threshold value as a subtitle instead of on the reference line, seems straightforward enough. I placed the metric as a discrete attribute onto the rows shelf and it showed up without a problem, though I don’t think it’s clear what it is.

I wanted the word “Threshold” next to it. If you double click within columns shelf a white pill appears and you can start typing. I just wanted a string so I put the word within quotes.


It’s clear what it is now, but I’d prefer the name and value on a single line.


Time for a very small calculated field:


I put this onto the rows shelf and…that’s not right


It turns out there’s a quirk with the way that computers store decimal numbers, have a look here if you’re interested in knowing more.

It’s well documented and there are workarounds, this is the one I looked at using

This looks better and would work perfectly well for whole numbers. At this point I could multiply the threshold by 100 and add +“%” to the end of the calculated field and we’d be there. But I feel like there should be a simpler way to do this.

And there is.

Going right back to the second bullet graph I created, right click on the blue attribute pill with has the threshold value and click format. Under the Header section, go to the numbers drop down, choose Custom and type in the below

Voila! This is exactly what I was after, a simple bullet graph with an unlabelled reference line and the threshold as a subtitle.