The district has an area 8,153 km². It is bounded by the districts of Ratlam to the north, Ujjain to the northeast, Indore to the east, Khargone (West Nimar) to the southeast, Barwani to the south, and Jhabua to the west. It is part of the Indore Division of Madhya Pradesh. The population of the district is 1,740,577 (2001 census), an increase of 24% from its 1991 population of 1,367,412. Pithampur is a large industrial area comes under Dhar District.
The Vindhya Range runs east and west through the district. The northern part of the district lies on the Malwa plateau. The northwestern portion of the district lies in the watershed of the Mahi River and its tributaries, while the northeastern part of the district lies in the watershed of the Chambal River, which drains into the Ganges via the Yamuna River. The portion of the district south of the ridge of the Vindhyas lies in the watershed of the Narmada River, which forms the southern boundary of the district.
Dhar district is divided into 5 sub-divisions: Dhar, Sardarpur, Badnawar, Manawar and Kukshi. These sub-divisions are further divided into 7 tehsils: Dhar, Badnawar, Dharampuri, Sardarpur, Manawar, Kukshi and Gandhwani.
There are seven Vidhan Sabha constituencies in this district: Sardarpur, Gandhwani, Kukshi, Manawar, Dharampuri, Dhar and Badnawar. All of these are part of the only Lok Sabha constituency in this district: Dhar.