Integrating icons to represent data values can significantly enhance visualizations, offering a quick and recognizable way to label information. Whether using well-known team logos or unique icons, this feature can make your charts more distinctive. To create bars with customized icons atop them in Tableau, follow these steps:

Prepare Custom Icons: Start by placing your custom icons in a folder that Tableau can recognize. Navigate to C:\Users\User\Documents\My Tableau Repository\Shapes and create a new folder named “Custom Shapes.” Copy your icons into this folder. Note: If Tableau is open while adding this folder, you may need to close and reopen Tableau for it to register.

Construct the Bar Chart: Begin by creating the desired bar chart in Tableau. For instance, using the Super-Store dataset, generate a bar chart displaying Category by SUM(Sales).

Duplicate the Chart: Duplicate the chart within the same sheet by copying the measure SUM(Sales) as demonstrated below:


Customize the Second Marks Card: With two identical charts, modify the second Marks Card (SUM(Sales)(2) in this case) to a Shape type. Add the relevant Dimension to the Shape Card (Category in this instance). Then, go to Shapes in the Mark Card and click “More Shapes,” and a new window will appear. Choose the dropdown menu “Default” and select your created folder “Custom Shapes.” Select the corresponding icon for each category, adjust the icon size, and click “OK.”

Activate Dual Axis and Synchronize: Right-click on the axis containing the icons, select “Dual Axis,” and then click the axis again to choose “Synchronize Axis.” Anticipate changes in the chart; this is expected behaviour.

Readjust the First Marks Card: Go to the first Marks Card (SUM(Sales) in this example) and change the type back to Bar. Customize it according to your preferences. For instance, add the Category to the first Marks Card in Color to make it have a different color per bar. Your resulting chart should resemble the following:

And there you go! By following these steps, you can easily create visually striking charts that effectively integrate icons atop bars, thereby making your visualizations more distinctive and memorable.

The Data School
Author: The Data School