Effectively displaying a large amount of information in a small amount of space can be incredibly difficult. Tooltips, the pop-ups that you see when you hover over an object, are an excellent way to achieve this. Until now, tool tips have been confined to text. This is normally sufficient, but in some cases a visual display of the data is much easier to understand quickly. With this new technique from Andy Cotgreave, you can get the best of both worlds and use bar charts in your tooltips. Read how below...

If you press Alt,2,1,9 on your keyboard, you get this wonderful little character █. With no kerning at all, you can place as many of them side by side as you want, to create a continuous text bar. Used in conjunction with a simple calculation, one can automatically size the bars to the proportion of a measure.

As you can see, there are 100 alt-2-1-9's in a row. The calculation LEFT insures that only the number of characters specified in the second part of the calculation (,ROUND([% coffee sales]) are displayed. In other words, if 29.22% of sales in South Dakota were for coffee, then that number would be rounded to 29, and the calculation would display only the leftmost 29 alt-2-1-9's. Repeat for as many measures as you want to display and voila! Tooltip charts.

Thanks again to Andy Cotgreave for this fascinating and analytically valuable trick.


Brilliant! This is the coolest thing I've seen since the summit. Great job Andy!

Is there a trick to getting the Alt 2,1,9 to work I have tried it several ways and am not getting box character?

Okay I finally figured out the Alt 2,1,9 - I had to use the side number pad on my computer and not the numbers across the top of the keyboard...
But I have crossed another speed bump - How do you format your level of detail to display only the 4 bars you want and in varying colors?

Luckily it is not too complex. I think the easiest way to learn it would be to download Andy's workbook above (bottom right hand corner) and see how he built the calculations and tooltip. If you still run into a problem, feel free to email me rperez@tableausoftware.com.

I like this. Are there other ways to do this?

This is very cool. Would be an awesome feature. A worksheet/view in a tooltip with actions.

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