How to Create an Overlapping Circle Chart

Table of Contents

What is an Overlapping Circle Chart

In multi-series bar charts, side-by-side Grouped Bars often use too much real estate area, and Overlapping Bars may come to the rescue. In Tableau, the Overlapping Circle Chart has been introduced for a similar reason.

If, instead of regular bar, we show a large enough circle at the top of each bar, where the point marker usually is, we rarely see one circle completely hidden behind another, as it is often the case with the bars. Remark that bars are not stacked, so the circles will likely often intersect.

While this type of chart can be also used for single-series – as single or multi-color equivalent of a simple Bar chart – it is more often that you may want to use it instead of grouped multi-series bars or columns. Grouped circles may be split into multiple smaller single-series Circle charts.

Steps to Create an Overlapping Circle Chart

Start Visual Xtractor or Data Xtractor. Connect to a database. Create or design a SQL query. Run the query and check the results.

  1. Display and enable the Chart query builder.
  2. Select or replace Bar types in columns with Bar ChartsOverlapping Circle charts.
  3. Select an optional column as Label.

Overlapping Circle Demo Queries

Look for the ready-to-use Overlapping Circles generated query under the Queries > Demo Queries > Charts > Bar Charts folder. Click on the “add demo queries” command link, if not there.

Overlapping Circle Chart
There is also a Multiple Overlapping Circles demo queries, with an alternative view for multi-series Circle charts split into smaller single-series Circles.

Generated demo queries must work for any database, with no restriction. They use constant values generated on-the-fly and your database SQL engine, but do not depend on data from your tables, and never alter your database in any way.

Customize your Overlapping Circle Chart

  1. Click on legend items to hide some of these series with all their circles.
  2. Change the axis label orientation and show data labels.
  3. You may also switch to 3D, for a not so different view.

Custom Overlapping Circles


  • Creating Overlapping Circle Charts in Data Xtractor or Visual Xtractor is fast and easy: set your numeric data columns to Overlapping Circle, instead or Bar or Overlapping Bar, and add an optional column as Label. The top of each bar, where the marker would be, will be replaced by a large enough circle.
  • All builtin powerful features of these chart type are common to most other charts: filtering series through the legend items, interactivity, monochrome or grayscale colors, rich axis and data label selections etc.
  • Switch to another builtin chart theme, or customize your own, for any possible color or other styles.