Let’s Build a KPI Dashboard

Sean set this fun and very relevant challenge this week displaying key measures (KPIs) along with further details for a selected measure displayed in a horizontal layout rather than the more traditional long-form, using ranking. The ‘gotcha’ part of this challenge was ensuring the tooltips displayed the measures in the right format, ie $ for Sales and Profit, % for Profit Ratio and a standard number to 0 dp for # of Orders.

We’ll start by

Building the KPI sheet

The data source I connected to already had Profit Ratio included, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll need to create as

Profit Ratio


You’ll also need to create

# of Orders

COUNTD([Order ID])

On a new sheet, double-click Sales and then double-click Profit to add them both to a sheet, and then use Show Me to display the fields as a text table.

Move Measure Names from Rows to Columns, then add Profit Ratio and # of Orders into the Measure Values section under the marks card. Re-order the measures into the required order.

Modify the format of each pill in the Measure Values section to the relevant format (millions, thousands, %)

Add Measure Names to the Text shelf, and adjust the text to be aligned middle centre and resize the fonts.

Hide the header (uncheck Show Header against the Measure Names in the Columns, and remove row dividers. Set the Tooltip not to show.

Building the Ranked Chart

The value to display in this chart is dependent on the KPI measure clicked on. We’re going to use a parameter to help drive this behaviour, so start by creating

Measure to Display

string parameter defaulted to ‘Sales’ containing 4 options: Sales, Profit, Profit Ratio, # of Orders

Based on the parameter, we need to determine which value to display

Selected Value

CASE [Measure to Display]
WHEN ‘Sales’ THEN SUM([Sales])
WHEN ‘Profit’ THEN SUM([Profit])
WHEN ‘Profit Ratio’ THEN [Profit Ratio]
WHEN ‘# of Orders’ THEN [# of Orders]

On a new sheet, add Sub-Category to Rows and Selected Value to Text and sort by Sub-Category descending. Show the Measure to Display parameter on the sheet and play around with the different options to see how the viz changes. When you’re happy it’s working as expected, reset back to ‘Sales’.

We’ll need to display the rank value, so create

Rank Value

RANK_UNIQUE([Selected Value])

and format this to be a number with 0dp but pre-fixed by #

Add this into the table.

Now, to display this information, we need to distribute each Sub-Category across 5 rows and 4 columns which is based on the Rank Value. So let’s work out which row and column each entry should be in


IF [Rank Value]%5 = 0 THEN 5 ELSE [Rank Value]%5 END

If the rank is divisible by 5, then place in the 5th row, otherwise place in the row associated to the remainder when divided by 5.


IF [Rank Value] <=5 THEN 1
ELSEIF [Rank Value] <=10 THEN 2
ELSEIF [Rank Value] <=15 THEN 3

Add these fields to the table, so you can see how they’re working.

The Rank Value, Rows and Cols fields are all table calculations, and should be set to explicitly compute using Sub-Category.

On a new sheet, add Sub-Category to Detail, Cols to Columns as a blue discrete pill and Rows to Rows as a blue discrete pill. Add Selected Value to Columns. Drag Sub-Category from Detail on to Label and adjust to align the labels left. Widen each row slightly, so the text is visible. Adjust the Colour of the bars to be a pale grey.

Change the Measure to Display parameter to ‘Profit’, and notice what happens to the bars & labels associated to those with a negative profit. They’re positioned where you’d expect, on the negative axis, but this doesn’t match Sean’s solution.

Sean has chosen to display the values as absolute values (although the tooltips display the negative values). This means we need

Abs Value to Display

ABS([Selected Value])

Drag this field and drop directly on top of the Selected Value pill on the Columns shelf – this will replace the measure being displayed.

Now that’s sorted, we can get the ranking added.

Double click in the space next to Abs Value to Display on Columns and type in MIN(0) to create an additional axis and create a 2nd marks card.

On the MIN(0) marks card, move Sub-Category to the Detail shelf and then add Rank Value to the Label shelf. Make sure the table calc is set to compute by Sub-Category as before.

Change the mark type of the MIN(0) card to Gantt Bar, set the size to the smallest possible, and colour opacity to 0. The change of the mark type, will have changed the position of the rank label to be aligned to the left of the mark.

Make the chart dual axis, synchronise the axis and change the mark type of the Abs Value to Display back to Bar. Remove Measure Names from both of the marks cards.

Hide both axis and the headers and remove grid lines and divider lines. Make the zero line on the columns a solid line, slightly thicker.

Formatting the Tooltips

The tooltips display the selected measure name and associated value, formatted appropriately. As we’re using a ‘generic’ field to display the value, we can’t format this field as we’d usually do. Instead, I chose to resolve this using dedicated fields to store each value based on the measure selected.

Tooltip: Sales

IF [Measure to Display]=’Sales’ THEN [Sales] END

format this to $ with 0dp.

Tooltip: Profit

IF [Measure to Display]=’Profit’ THEN [Profit] END

format this to $ with 0dp.

Tooltip: Profit Ratio

IF [Measure to Display]=’Profit Ratio’ THEN [Profit Ratio] END

format this to 5 with 2 dp

Tooltip: #Orders

IF [Measure to Display]=’# of Orders’ THEN [# of Orders] END

format this to a number with 0 dp.

Add all these fields to the Tooltip shelf on the Abs Value to Display marks card, and then amend the tooltip so all these fields are listed side by side with no spacing. As only one of the fields will only ever contain a value, the correctly formatted figure will display. The Tooltip will also need to reference the Measure to Display parameter to act as the ‘label’ for the value displayed.

Finally adjust the title of the sheet to also reference the Measure to Display parameter,

Adding the interactivity

Add the sheets to a dashboard, then add a parameter action

Select Measure

On select of the KPI sheet, update the Measure to Display parameter, passing through the Measure Names value. When the measure is unselected, revert the display back to ‘Sales’.

Bonus – Colour the bars

As an added extra to call out the fact the negative values were being displayed on the positive axis, my fellow #WOW participant, Rosario Gauna, chose to colour the bars.

Colour Bar

[Selected Value] < 0

Add this to the Colour shelf of the Abs Value to Display marks card and adjust colours according.

My published viz is here. Enjoy!

Happy vizzin’!



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