Bar in bar chart or bullet charts, allow you to compare two measure against each other, for example, comparing last year profits with this year’s profits, or profits against sales of the same year.

First, we have to make sure that both bars start from the same level and then we can vary the colour and size of the bars to make them look different when stack on top of each other.

In the following example, we are comparing the profits by region in 2022 and 2023 but having them layout in this way might be cumbersome for the viewers, as they would have to go through two different charts and go back and forth to compare them.

We can make it easier by our users by visualizing both years in one graph.

First we drag our YEAR pill to the colour mark, to differentiate them by colour and put them into the same pane (Remember to reorganize the legend so the first year appears first from left to right) creating a stack bar graph.

This is a great graph to compare cumulative measure, however, to make a side by side comparison this layout is not really helpful because the second measure (year 2023) does not have the same baseline so it’s difficult to compare them against each other as well as with the other measures (year 2022).

To fix this, we can start by unstacking the bars. Go to Analysis>StackMarks>Off. This will make all our bars share the same baseline, but off course, this might hide some bars because some might be bigger than the others (See squared bars)

So the last step in making this type of charts is changing the size of the bars. We can do this by copying the pill that is currently on the Colour mark (YEAR in this case) and putting it in the Size mark, and we can get a basic bullet chart.

Then we adjust and format the graph to make it look better by changing the colours and the size of the bars as we see fit

And that’s it! Now you can have more information in a clearer way using less space and less cognitive load for the viewer.

The Data School
Author: The Data School