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Area Chart in Tableau

Tableau is a very powerful data visualization tool that can be used by data analysts and data scientists to visualize the data and get a clear opinion based on the data analysis. Tableau is very famous as it can take in data and produce the required data visualization output in a very short time.

An area chart represents the change in one or more quantities over time. It is made by plotting a series of data points over time, connecting those data points with line segments, and then filling in the area between the line and the x-axis with color or shading.

There are two types of area charts in Tableau; Continuous Area Chart and Discrete Area Chart.

Continuous Area Chart

Discrete Area Chart

​In Continuous Area chart chart does not have individual values and hence is always measured.

​In Discrete area chart, individual values of a category are taken and hence are always counted.

​Continuous fields are colored green

​Discrete fields are colored blue.

Just as with the line chart, the Show Me menu offers the option of Area Chart (continuous) and Area Chart (discrete).

How to make a Area chart

Dataset used in the given example is Superstore.

Follow the steps below and open the worksheet :

  • Open Tableau tool and connect Superstore.xls into it.

  • Drag and drop the one sheet of the connected dataset.

  • Click on sheet1 to open the tableau worksheet.

  • On clicking Sheet1, on the left side, you’ll find a list of the dimensions and measures from the connected data source, "Superstore". At the right-most side, we have a visualization pane. You can hide or show this pane by clicking on the Show Me option. In this pane, you’ll find two options for area charts that is Area charts (Continuous) and Area charts (Discrete).

To draw an area chart you have to select minimum two attributes( one in row and one in column) by dragging and dropping. Then select the chart option as Area under Marks, for example:

  • Drag Order Date measure to the Column section and set it to quarter from its drop-down menu.

  • Add Sales in the row section and convert the resulting figure to an Area Chart from the Marks section.

  • Now, add Sub Category to the Color marks section and your chart will be divided into multiple sections based on the area required by each sub category.

Continuous Area Chart

  • Go to the visualization pane and select Area charts (Continuous) option

Discrete Area Chart

Now, let us also have a look at how does the other type of area chart that is, the discrete area chart. For this, we go to the visualization pane again and select the Area charts (discrete) option.

This will instantly change out the continuous type area chart into a discrete type. As you can see in the screenshot attached above, the discrete area chart divides the chart space into four sections and show separate charts for each year.Each year is split into discrete date parts.

The area chart is great for showing a total trend with relative performances of individual components of that sum.

In this tutorial, we learned the process of creating a Tableau area chart. Hope it was easy to learn how to do it from the tutorial. You can now create your own area chart for your analysis using your datasets in Tableau.

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