A reference band is the shaded region behind a graph of a continuous measure, and it is useful for highlighting the area falling in that band. A reference band shades the area from and to a certain range, making it easier to identify and understand the values falling into the band.
Unlike a reference line, a reference band shades the area behind the view as it specifies the range, i.e., maximum and minimum cutoffs. Creating a reference band is an important visualization task for continuous measures. In this guide, you will learn how to create a reference band in Tableau.
We’ll be using the sample Superstore data, available on Tableau repository, to create a reference line. We will be using the variables
Profit as measures, and
Sub-Category as dimensions.
Sub-Categoryinto the Columns shelf and
Salesinto the Rows shelf.
The output above shows the three categories and their respective sub-categories.
Profitmeasure to the Marks shelf and place it into the Color property.
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a. **Table**: This option adds a reference line to the entire table across all panes. b. **Pane**: This option adds a reference line on a per-pane basis. This means the computed reference lines are recalculated for each pane in the view. c. **Cell**: This option adds a reference line within each cell. This means the computed reference lines are recalculated for each cell in the view.
In our example, we have selected the Pane option, as shown below.
Profit, while for the Band To option, we have selected
Sales. The remaining formatting options are filled as shown in the chart below.
Selecting the options as discussed above and clicking OK will generate the output shown below.
The final output shows the minimum profit and average sales per category. This will help decisionmakers to understand which are the most successful categories in terms of both sales and profits.
In this guide, you learned about creating a reference band in a plot in Tableau. You also learned the components of the reference band, which will help you decide which options to select, depending on the type of data you have and the analysis you want to perform.
To learn more about visualization and data analysis using Tableau, please refer to the following guides: