Tableau Histogram

Tableau Histogram visualizes the statistical information that is organized within the user-specified range. Although it looks like a Bar chart, a Histogram displays data in equal intervals. This article shows how to Create a Tableau Histogram chart with an example.

Tableau Histogram is a graphical representation of the distribution of quantitative data in a dataset. It arranges the numeric data on the X-axis with predefined sizes or intervals, known as bins, where each bin is equally sized. Histogram uses rectangle bars on the Y-axis to plot the continuous numerical data. Each rectangle bar in the histogram represents the count of data points (Measure values) falling into a particular bin (interval).

We use a custom query against the SQL Server for this Tableau Histogram demo.

SELECT Geo.EnglishCountryRegionName, 
FROM DimProduct AS Prod 
   INNER JOIN FactInternetSales AS Fact 
      ON Prod.ProductKey = Fact.ProductKey 
   INNER JOIN DimSalesTerritory AS Terry 
      ON Terry.[SalesTerritoryKey] = Fact.[SalesTerritoryKey] 
   INNER JOIN DimGeography AS Geo 
      ON Geo.[SalesTerritoryKey] = Terry.[SalesTerritoryKey]

Create a Tableau Histogram

Like any other charts in Tableau, we can create a histogram in multiple ways, and this section covers all those possibilities with examples. We use the default Sample Superstore dataset to demonstrate the first two approaches.

The following are the steps to create a Tableau histogram on the desktop.

The first approach using Show Me

A histogram is one of the predefined charts available in the Show Me window. So, you can use the Show Me window to create a Histogram, which is the most recommended way of building it. The following steps are to create a Tableau histogram on the Desktop Show Me button.

We can create a Histogram in Tableau using a single Measure (numeric column). So, let me select the Order Quantity Measure value and click the Histogram chart (marked with a red box) in the Show Me window.

Use Show Me Window

Once you click that, it will first create a bin of equally sized numbers for Order Quantity. Next, it adds the Quantity (bin) to the Columns shelf and the Quantity Measure value to the Rows shelf. Instead of using the default SUM aggregation, it uses the COUNT function on Quantity in the Rows shelf. It means each bar represents the count of Quantity within that particular bin.

The below screenshot shows you the Tableau Histogram created using the Show Me window. If you observe, there is no space between the bars because that is the default nature. However, you can use the size card to change it as per your requirements.

Tableau Histogram using Show Me Window

Please refer to Create Bins to learn about creating bins and editing them. Also, refer to Connecting to Server, Bar chart, Charts, and table calculations in Tableau.

The second approach of creating Tableau Histogram

Before entering the Tableau Histogram example, let me remove the Quantity (bin) from the Dimensions section.

Drag and drop the Quantity Measure to the Columns shelf, and it uses the default aggregation SUM. Next, expand the Show Me window to click the histogram chart.

Add Quantity Measure to the Columns shelf

It follows the steps we explained in the first approach and creates a Histogram for you.

Tableau Histogram Preview

Although Tableau automatically generates the Quantity (bin), the bin size must be the same for Histogram. The best part is you can edit the bin size and change the default value per the requirement. For example, you can edit the bin size if you want to show a few or more bars in a histogram. To do so, right-click the newly created Quantity (bin) and change the number. Please refer to the Create Bins article for further reference.

Create a Tableau Histogram Manually – Third Approach

To create a histogram manually, you have to do some workaround. First, identify the Measure value for this chart and analyze the ideal bin size.

We use the Yearly Income column as the Measure value to demonstrate this Tableau Histogram example. So, right-click on the Yearly Income from the Measure region, select the Create option, and click the Bins.. option.

Create a Bin On Measure Value

It will open the Edit Bins window with the default field name (YearlyIncome (bin)) and size (20470). Let me leave them as they are for now because I was Ok with the bin size. If not, change the Name and the default bin size (25000, 15000, etc).

Change the Bin Size

Drag and drop the newly created YearlyIncome (bin) to the Columns shelf and the Yearly Income Measure value to the Rows shelf. Once you have done that, it will show you the Tableau Histogram with equally sized bins of size 20470, and each bar size represents the Sum of the Yearly Income belonging to each bin.

Create a Tableau Histogram using Bins

Use the Size card on the Marks shelf to remove or reduce the spaces between each bar.

Use Size Card to increase the Bar size

To change the default aggregation on the Rows shelf from SUM to COUNT, click the down arrow beside the SUM(YearlyIncome). Next, select Measure (Sum) from the drop-down menu and choose the Count option.

Change the Default Aggregation from SUM to COUNT

Now you can see the Tableau Histogram where each bar represents the count of Yearly Income.

Manually created Tableau Histogram preview

To verify whether we did it correctly or not, create one more histogram using the Show Me window and compare both. The below image is created using the Show Me window.

Use the Show Me window to see the replication

Add Data Labels To Tableau Histogram

Click the T button, and the Toolbar will add the data labels to the Histogram. The image below shows the yearly income count for each bin as the data labels on top of each rectangle.

Add Data Labels To Tableau Histogram

Tableau Stacked Histogram

The stacked histograms are helpful to further divide each rectangle bar based on another dimension. For example, if you want to see the Orders of each country belonging to a particular bin size, use the histogram of Orders and country as the stacked column.

In this example, let me use the Tableau Show Me window to create a Stacked Histogram using the Yearly Income Measure. Next, drag and drop the Country Dimension to the Color card on the Marks shelf. It will divide each rectangle bar for each country. As we have enabled the data labels in the previous step, it also displays the count for each country.

Create Tableau Stacked Histogram

Display Percentages on Tableau Histogram

Instead of displaying the plain totals, our task is to show the Percentage of the Total for each country. To do that, within the Marks shelf, click the down arrow beside the CNT(YearlyIncome), select the Quick Table Calculation option from the menu, and choose the Percentage of Total.

Add Quick Table Calculation of Percentage of Total

Once completed, the Tableau Staked histogram will display the Total Percentage of Yearly Income against the YealyIncome bin.

Display Percentages on Tableau Histogram

If you observe the above screenshot, it displays the percentages, but they are not showing the correct result. By default, it calculated the Table across, so you must manually change them.

Edit Table Calculation

If you want to edit the table calculation of a Tableau Histogram, Please click the down arrow beside the CNT(YearlyIncome) and choose Edit Table Calculation.. option.

Edit Table Calculation

Once you choose the Edit Table Calculation.. option, a window called Table Calculation will open to change the calculation type or compute using. Here, changing the Compute using from default to Cell would be best.

Display Percentages on Tableau Histogram compute using cell