October 9, 2020

Tableau How-to: Use formatting to create KPI up & down arrows

Joe Pickin
Joe Pickin Analytics Consultant

Business challenge:

Analytics Enablement
Data Visualisation
Tableau

This tip is a good one! You can very easily format KPIs in Tableau, to look like anyone of the examples below, without creating any calculated fields. 

You simply need to right-click a field, choose Default Properties >  Number Format > Custom and enter your custom format into the window.  

Below is a table I’ve created for easy reference. Just copy & paste the text into the custom format box. 

Decimal places Number (+/-) Number (+/-) with arrows Percentage (+/-) Percentage (+/-) with arrows 
0 d.p. “+”#,###;”-“#,###; “+”#,###  ▲;”-“#,### ▼; “+”#,###%;”-“#,###%; “+”#,###%  ▲;”-“#,###% ▼; 
1 d.p. “+”#,###0.0;”-“#,###0.0; “+”#,###0.0  ▲;”-“#,###0.0 ▼; “+”#,###0.0%;”-“#,###0.0%; “+”#,###0.0%  ▲;”-“#,###0.0% ▼; 
2 d.p. “+”#,###0.00;”-“#,###0.00; “+”#,###0.00  ▲;”-“#,###0.00 ▼; “+”#,###0.00%;”-“#,###0.00%; “+”#,###0.00%  ▲;”-“#,###0.00% ▼; 

You can keep adding zeros for more decimal places. You can also replace the up/down arrows with different symbols, or even whole words like “Profit” and “Loss”. 

For currency, simply add a currency symbol after the plus and minus e.g. “+£”#,###  ▲;”-£”#,### ▼;. 

Happy KPI-ing! 

TrueCue are Tableau’s longest standing European Partner. So, if you ever need to know anything about the leading data visualisation platform, give us a shout, we’d love to help out!

Business challenge:

Analytics Enablement
Data Visualisation
Tableau
Joe Pickin
Written by Joe Pickin Analytics Consultant

Joe is a certified Tableau trainer and Analytics Consultant. He uses his background as a Mathematics & Statistics graduate to build advanced analytics solutions for various Public Sector organisations, specialising in Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep. His philosophy is '“Behind every boring spreadsheet is a brilliant visualisation waiting to be built. I love helping our clients see what’s possible with their data.”

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