This article shows how to create a view that shows Key Progress Indicators (KPIs). A Key Performance Indicator is a measurable value that shows how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. At a high level, the procedure requires you to do the following:

  1. Create a view that includes the field or fields (measures) you want to assess.

  2. Create a calculated field that establishes the threshold that demarcates success from failure.

  3. Update the view to use KPI-specific shape marks to show which values are above the threshold and which are below.

Note: When connected to Microsoft Analysis Services, any KPI calculations defined in the cube are not available in Tableau. But as the procedure below demonstrates, you can write your own KPI calculations directly inside Tableau, and then use Tableau parameters to create highly flexible what-if KPI analysis. For more on special considerations for cube data sources, see Cube Data Sources.

The scenario uses the Sample - Superstore data source provided with Tableau Desktop to show how to build a KPI view that displays a green check mark for any sales figure over $25,000, and a red X for any sales figure under $25,000.

Create a view that includes the field you want to assess

In this case, that field is Sales.

  1. Connect to the Sample - Superstore data source.

  2. From the Data pane, drag Sub-Category to Rows and Region to Columns.

  3. From the Data pane, drag Sales to Text on the Marks card.

Create a calculated field that establishes the threshold that demarcates success from failure

  1. In the Analysis menu, select Create Calculated Field to open the calculation editor. Name the calculation KPI and type or paste the following in the formula area

    IF SUM ([Sales]) > 25000 THEN "Above Benchmark" ELSE "Below Benchmark" END

  2. Click OK.

Update the view to use KPI-specific shape marks

  1. On the Marks card, select Shape from the drop-down list of views:

  2. Drag the KPI field from the Measures area of the Data pane to Shape on the Marks card.

  3. Click Shape on the Marks card to open the Edit Shape dialog box.

    For more about shapes, see Shape in Change the Type of Mark in the View.

  4. From the Select Shape Palette drop down list, choose KPI.

    Now you are ready to associate specific values for the KPI field with specific shapes.

  5. Click Above Benchmark under Select Data Item and then click the green check mark in the palette.

  6. Click Below Benchmark under Select Data Item and then click the red X in the palette.

    The Edit Shape dialog box should now look like this:

  7. Click OK to close the Edit Shape dialog box.

    The shapes in the view show the correct indicators. Now you just need to hide the sales numbers.

  8. Drag SUM(Sales) on the Marks card to Detail.

You now have a completed view that show how individual products (sub-categories) are performing across all four regions:

The view may not be terribly exciting on its own, but it would make a nice addition to a dashboard that showed other performance metrics.

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