How to create Negative Space Bar Charts with an image

How to create Negative Space Bar Charts with an image

Tableau offers the possibility to create meaningful charts to explore all the data you desire, but also provides the best visualization for your reports and dashboards. For example, the Negative Space Bar Charts can create a quite good impression on your colleagues, managers, clients, and your team.

No matter what is the role you are finding yourself in your organization, offering a new visual perspective over some important data loads as profits, sales, ROI, customer’s journey evolution, supply chain efficiency, and so forth, gives to all the opportunity to see the bigger picture and act accordingly. 

Whether you are working in services, technology, retail, finance, transportation, or healthcare, incorporating data into daily practice is the next step for creating and maintaining a Data Culture for becoming a Data-Driven Organization. Let’s see which are the top 5 advantages of being part of a data-driven company.

The advantages of using DATA:

→ Builds more trust – developing an organizational culture based on accessing, using, and trusting the data. Therefore, more transparency is being created between departments, colleagues, and business units.

→ Enhances exploration and curiosity – a data-driven mindset grows over time and is educated through exploring data, acceptance for failure and support for innovation.

→ Encourages communication – people communicate and collaborate to perform better in building dashboards, graphics and reports.

→ Creates more commitment – working with data doesn’t mean only exploring, but a responsible investment in a data culture that will prove better decision making and ultimately produce more revenue

→ Brings together talented people – data analytics and visualisation require to have people who use data, analyse it and be able to interpret and tell stories based on it.

Negative Space Bar Charts tell a small part of your data story but tell it very well. They are perfect to use when you want to add some color to your dashboards or create an impressive cover for a presentation.

To create a Negative Space Bar Chart with an image in Tableau, please follow these steps:

Step 1: Connect to data

In Tableau Desktop, connect to Superstore sample data provided by Tableau.

Step 2: Create the visualization

→ Create a Calculated field named TC_Max Sales with the formula:


→ Create a second Calculated field named TC_Size with the formula:

 -([TC_Max Sales]-SUM([Sales])

→ On Sheet 1, Change the Mark Type to Bar Chart.

→ Drag Order Date onto the Columns Shelf

→ Click on the expand Hierarchy button to drill down

→ Convert the second pill to Discrete Month

→ Drag Sales onto the Rows Shelf

→ To create the Negative Vision Drag TC_Max Sales onto the Rows Shelf

→ Change the Mark Type to Gantt Bar

→ Drag TC_Size onto the Size Mark

→ Remove the SUM(Sales) from the Rows Shelf (this was just to confirm the negative Bar Chart)

→ Set the Worksheet Background to None i.e. set the background to transparent

→ Create a new Dashboard

→ Drag a floating Image onto the Dashboard

→ Drag worksheet (floating) and position on top of the image

→ Format the Bar Colour and Column Divider Colours

→ Remove the Grid Lines

Also, watch the video tutorial here:


Article and video created by Ana-Maria Scarlat, Data Analyst at btProvider.  

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