Tableau Trick: Compare Current Quarter to Prior Quarter by Creating a Hierarchy

How to create a Hierarchy for This Quarter to date over Prior Quarter to date Analysis that allows the user to drill from month in quarter to week to day in both quarters on a dual axis, maintaining comparative analysis.

compare quarters tableau

See how to create a hierarchy for this quarter-to-date over prior quarter-to-date analysis, that allows the user to drill from month-in-quarter to week-to-day in both quarters on a dual axis, while maintaining comparative analysis. Today we will be using a superstore data set. Let's have some fun with Tableau!

What is Tableau Datediff?

DATEDIFF is a function that returns the difference between two specified dates as and integer.


DATEDIFF('week', #2013-09-22#, #2013-09-24#, 'monday')= 1
DATEDIFF('week', #2013-09-22#, #2013-09-24#, 'sunday')= 0

The first expression returns 1 because when start_of_week is 'monday', then 22 September (a Sunday) and 24 September (a Tuesday) are in different weeks. The second expression returns 0 because when start_of_week is 'sunday' then 22 September (a Sunday) and 24 September (a Tuesday) are in the same week. With that, let's get started!

Quarter-Over-Quarter Comparison Guide

gif demonstrating Tableau functionality

Step 1: Setup the ‘Periods’ Calc

IF DATEDIFF('quarter',[tran_date],TODAY()) = 0 THEN "Current" ELSEIF DATEDIFF('quarter',[tran_date],TODAY()) = 1 AND DATEDIFF('day',DATETRUNC('quarter',[tran_date]),[tran_date]) <= DATEDIFF('day',DATETRUNC('quarter',TODAY()),TODAY()) THEN "Prior" END

Step 2: Make your Measure Components and KPI

Current $: IF [Periods] = "Current" THEN [Net Revenue] END

Prior $: IF [Periods] = "Prior" THEN [Net Revenue] END

Growth $: ZN(SUM([Current $])) - ZN(SUM([Prior $]))

Growth %: [Growth $] / SUM(ZN([Prior $]))

Growth KPI: IF [Growth $] > 0 THEN "Growth" ELSEIF [Growth $] < 0 THEN "Decline" ELSE "Stagnant" END

Step 3: Make your comparative date hierarchy

Month of Quarters


Week of Quarters


Day of Quarters


Step 4: Make the Viz.

creating tableau viz
  • Drag the Date in Quarters Hierarchy to Columns.
  • Drag 2 copies of Current $ to Rows, right click one pill and select Duel Axis.
  • Drag Growth KPI to Color Mark and Growth % to Label Mark.
  • On the 2nd Current $ Mark card, drag Growth KPI to Shape Mark (set desired shape, we used up and down arrows for growth and decline)
  • Adjust labels and color styles to your desired design specifications (synchronize axis, etc.).

DONE! Now Do This Trick Yourself

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