How To: Sorting Stacked Bars by Multiple Dimensions in Tableau

6/05/2016 Matt Chambers 7 Comments

For Makeover Monday, I wanted to tell the story of how Facebook is making an effort to make clean and renewable power its primary source of energy.  I wanted to be able to sort the stacked bars by energy usage percentage by year.  Here's how it's done:

1. Build your stacked bar chart in Tableau.

2. Create a combined field using the dimensions you want to sort by.  In this case, I want to sort by energy source by year.

3. Drag the combined field to the detail and sort by the measure.  Here I am sorting by the Amount.

4. Finally, drag the dimension that you are sorting by to the detail. I am using Energy Source in this example.

Now you have a stacked bar that is sorted by two dimensions.  In my example, it is sorted by energy source and date. This allows for some nice interactivity that allows you to show trends and magnitude simultaneously.  In my example, I am using it to show the rank of the energy sources while also showing the magnitude against other energy sources.

Please comment below with any questions or download the worbook to see how it's done.


  1. That's a great Tutorial sir.While practicing I also realised it will not work with Natural date heiarrachy like ( year,quarter,month) .Here,we need to take the Date( Date part( 'year',order Date)) then only it will work.Superb tutorial

    1. Thanks Rajeev! That's great to keep in mind.

  2. Hi this is Rajeev
    I would like to add one more point - when you are creating a custom date calculation like DATEPART('year', [Order Date]) , make it sure to convert dimension into Attribute which is present in the color shelf . For example : Attr(Region)

  3. Hello Matt!

    I am new with Tableau and I have a real problem to create parallel staked bars (one for each dimension) My dimensions are opinion scales (strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree).Dimensions are 1) I am happy at work 2) My work inspires me 3) I have fun at work, etc.

    1. Hi, to make this work, you will need to pivot your data:

  4. Great work Matt!
    I am trying to figure out a way of repositioning the selected energy source in the stacked bars. Would like to see it at bottom (i.e. with a fixed baseline) in order to properly assess the trend. Do you have any ideas on how that may be accomplished?