Progress Toward a Goal in Tableau

Comparing progress against a goal in Tableau is a common use case and I wanted to share a few tips about how I like to do this.


Reference Lines

Using a reference line is a straightforward way to display a goal.


A couple tips on using a reference line as a goal.

●        For a refresher on adding reference lines check out this article.

●        Make sure that your “goal” field is sitting on your marks card to use it in a reference line.

●        Make sure that you reference the goal field in the reference line and set the scope as “Per Cell”.



Goal Comparison Calculation

Next, I like to create a calculation I can use as a visual cue to understand who met the goal and who didn’t. Something like the following:


I’ll drop that field on Color on the marks card to easily distinguish where the goal wasn’t met.  In the case below, red indicates the goal was not met.  I use neutral colors for goal attainment (rather than green) to focus the user on problem areas.



Did Not Meet Goal Button

One other nice feature I like to add is a button to indicate whether or a goal was met. You’re going to need a bullet point symbol to pull this off. Here’s one if you need it: •

I start with a calculation like this:


I then drop this new field on Rows and do some formatting (center align, larger text, make text red). The end product looks like this:


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