11. Final Charts and Visualization Tips

Overview

In this lesson, we'll wrap up looking at the remaining visualization options and finish with 4 tips to always think about when building charts in Tableau

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Summary

Histogram

- Accepts one measure and automatically generates bins based on the range of data values
- The number of values within each bin is then plotted as a bar chart
- Overall, a pretty limited visualization which is rarely used

Gantt charts

- Used to plot project timelines and requires a very specific dataset
- Very specific use-case and as result, ignored by the vast majority of Tableau users

Bullet graphs

- A less effective alternative to two charts in one, for plotting two measures
- If used correctly, can be moderately useful but make sure to sort data from largest to smallest

Four final tips

1. Understand how to format tooltips and labels correctly
2. Always sort your data from largest to smallest on a bar chart
3. If your chart isn't quite working, flip the axes and see if it improves
4. Understand how to use fit width and fit height on your sheets and dashboards

Transcript

A couple of charts remain in the show me drop down that I'm going to conclude with in this lesson. The first of these is the histogram. A histogram creates a series of bins for your data and then performs account on the number of data points that exist in each bin.

All that a histogram needs is a single measure, which I'll take as value or the fees generated.

I can now select the histogram option in the show me drop down.

And as you can see, the histogram creates value bins, which are sized at $88, which I can see as I scroll over each bar.

The size of these bins is determined automatically by Tableau based on the measure that it is given.

Histograms count individual row entries and this data set each row entry represents a specific task completed by a fee earner.

To interpret this histogram, it quickly tells us that 7,418 tasks were completed at a value of $88 or less.

Then 2,334 tasks were completed at a value between $88 and $176.

827 tasks were completed between $176 and $264 and so on.

As you can see, the histogram is a pretty limited charting option, which I tend to use pretty rarely.

The same goes for a Gantt chart, which only works when you're visualizing data typically related to project management or data sets or points of multiple time entries. In a later course, I'm going to show you how to use a Gantt chart but for now, you can almost ignore it as it's used case it's quite rare and very specific. Next up are bullet graphs, which allow you to compare two measures on a single chart. Personally, I prefer to use two charts in one or a scatter plot for this task, but let's take some time to see how bullet charts work. I'm going to clear this particular chart.

I'm going to add value.

I'm going to add minutes.

When I do this, I can select the bullet graph. And if I minimize the show me drop down, you can see that I have two values showing in my chart, the black line which is value, and the blue line which is minutes. I can now split these by fee earner by adding the dimension to the rows. Interpreting these charts can be a little tricky, particularly if we haven't sorted the data, which I'll do now. And when we sort the data, we use the fee earner that has worked the most minutes and the fee earner that has worked the least minutes. And what we can see from this chart, is that even though Karlie Grady works the most minutes, she actually generates less revenue the Micaela Bernier who works the least number of minutes. This is probably due to the fact that Karlie is a trainee whereas Micaela is not, and charges out a higher rate per minute.

To add some context to the chart, let's add rank and color. I'll select rank and drag into color.

And this now clearly shows me how partners, trainees and managers stack up from a minutes and a revenue generation perspective.

Personally speaking, I find it easier to visualize this chart using a two charts in one option, but it's worth knowing the bullet chart in case it ever comes in use.

The last type of chart I'm going to show you in this course are the circle views, which are basically a simplified version of a box plot.

In this example, when I hit circle views, I'm shown each fee earner based on their rank, and the number of minutes that they work.

And what this chart is showing me is that Caitir Davidson is working a lot less minutes than the other managers.

I can change this chart around to visualize almost any data that I want.

I've seen a number of consultants use this chart quite often, but I find that the box plot tends to give me more information and it's just as easy to read. I'll leave it to you to decide which option you prefer. As you've seen in this course, Tableau offers many different visualization options for you to use, some are much more helpful than others, but it's important to always make sure that the inside from your chart is as clear as possible. If this means sticking with the simple bar chart then so be it.

I have four remaining tips that I'd like to leave you with before finishing the course. The first tip is number formatting. If I scroll back to an old chart. I want to change the number format on that chart, it can actually be more difficult than you think. To do so, right click and go to format.

In the drop-down go to fields and percentage of total sum value, which is the measure I'd like to change.

In here, I'll just change the default.

I'll go to percentage and move the decimal places just to one. I can change this number to any number format, but I think this works better than two decimal places for this particular chart.

And when I do so, the number format has changed.

The second tip is to always sort your data from largest to smallest when your data is not time series. So for example for the bullet graph, when I sort by minutes, my chart is now much easier to read.

The third tip is to consider swapping the axis if the current visualization isn't working correctly. To swap the axes you can simply use the swap rows and columns in the top toolbar.

And when I do this, I get a new visualization. To swap back, just hit the button again. And my final tip to you, is understanding fit.

If I minimize the show me drop down, I can see that this particular chart fits perfectly from a horizontal perspective, but not from a vertical perspective where I need to use a scroll bar. If I'd like to fit the chart the vertically, I can hit this drop down and fit heighth.

And as you can see, we no longer have the scroll bar.

If I want to ensure that width and height always fit, I simply select entire view. And if I swap axes, you can see that this chart again fits both the vertical and the horizontal view entirely. Sometimes you may not want to have this, particularly if you have dozens of entries on either axis and a scroll bar is necessary. But understanding fit is essential to ensuring that your charts are visualized correctly on different screens and in the right way.

With all of your charts, try and experiment with a different fit options to ensure that you have the right one selected.

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Tableau Essentials
Creating Visualizations in Tableau

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