KPI cards in Tableau – an idea from Power BI

martie 11, 2019

From where this idea?

Lately, I am experiencing other data visualization tools and having a long history with Excel and Microsoft I have decided to look into Power BI.

Currently, I am not able yet to express any opinion about Power BI … but shortly … I find it user-friendly and quite similar with what can you do in Excel (definitely at a larger scale).

And DAX it looks similar with what I have experienced before, but even though it gets complicated when you try more difficult syntax or logic.

Anyway, if you are curious about this you can have a look over the list of functions published on the Microsoft web page. See the link here.

Or I can recommend you the below video for a smooth start:


Why KPI cards?

Firstly, this is how it looks a KPI card and what can we expect from it:

kpi card power bi

  • in the background is an area chart 
  • the big number in front represents the actual figure (i.e. the actual sales)
  • and at the bottom is the goal

With a single button, you can obtain that in Power BI and I said: “well, that’s simple… so, I should try this in Tableau”.

… and 3 hours later I came with a pretty cool version of that.

What I learned from this

  1. I like this KPI visual, as it embeds a lot of information and it takes just a second to read it;
  2. The fact that in Tableau it takes longer than in Power BI is a key factor why I will not use it too much;
  3. I will try to develop a template that takes me less time to build one in the future.


In order to obtain that visual, I used an area chart combined with a text table:

  • I have placed my text over the month at the middle point (month 6, in my case)
  • I reduced the second axis at the half where I had less text.
  • I used some LoD functions in order to obtain the right numbers there (sales, dummy target, achievement percentage)
  • I have placed at the bottom a sparkline chart because it combines perfectly a table with a line chart. Please see my article about it.

Please download the version of the report and browse it in order to see my logic.


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