When building complex dashboards in Tableau, it is always an issue to ensure that two or more similar plots from different sheets have the same axis range. Tableau tends to adjust axis ranges for the best fit automatically. You can switch to a fixed axis to preserve the range across different visualisations, but it will make your viz less dynamic.

The more flexible an approach I will describe here is to align the axis ranges for separate sheets using reference lines/bands that I describe here.

For instance, we need to display the sales dynamics in two different regions for our Superstore in two different containers (for example, you want to include another type of visualisation or graphics in between them on your dashboard).

First, build our dashboard in one sheet. Plot sales against time (I used the last four quarters) for two regions – South and Central (note the filter for the regions and order dates).

Note: Because the sales in the Central region are lower, if we plot them separately, the axis range for these plots will be different. If we simply fix axis ranges, there is a risk that the line will go off the scale in the future.

Now, calculate the axis range:

These table calculations must be calculated across both dimensions in the view (Regions and Date – which in this case is equivalent to Table across).

Now let’s power our reference band with these values. For the reference band function to see these values, we need to put it onto the details mark:

Finally, bring in the reference band and select its range:

Now you have your reverence band across all pans, which preserves the axis range even if you “Hide” one of the panes. So if we need the plots for these two regions on separate sheets, you can duplicate this sheet and “Hide” (not “Exclude”) alternate panes on these sheets. The reference band will stay the same and define the range for the axis.

You can format it to your liking, but you probably want to make it totally invisible (check the reference band formatting options). When new data is in and the range of values changes, the calculations will also change, and the band expands/shrinks accordingly in all sheets produced this way.

By the way, if you try it and it doesn’t work as intended, check your table calculations first. As you always should, right?

Eugene Kutilov
Author: Eugene Kutilov

Eugene has a background in science with a master’s degree in quantum physics and decades-long experience in technology marketing. Eugene’s technology toolbox includes Alteryx, Tableau, PowerBI, SQL, Python, R, GCS. He is a Tableau Certified Data Analyst, Microsoft Certified PowerBI Data Analyst (Associate), and Certified Alteryx Designer Advanced Specialist. He is also a Certified Data Scientist by Datacamp.