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"Motion chart"- Simple Guide to creating motion chart in tableau.


Moving or Motion Chart is one of the advanced type of chart which is used to track the movement and created to get an idea of the trail or path that data points follows and make a trend with any given data set.

The basic difference between a line chart and motion chart is that the motion chart moves from a starting point and proceeds to the endpoint leaving a trail of data points occurring in its path. Hence the motion chart shows us the highs and lows that our values of data is trending in the course of action unlike line chart which is static and does not show trends with virtually moving graphic effect.


Some of the main uses of motion charts are :

-It acts as a powerful visual tool which makes reading of analysis simpler and easier.

-Helps to shows stakeholders easily the trends in a given data set analysis at a glance.

-Easily expresses moving average in tracks or lines as technical indicator for technical analysis e.g.: stock analysis.

How to Create Motion chart in Tableau:

Tableau is one of the interesting platform for presenting data analysis and visual story telling.

It allows us to create fully interactive dashboards and stories with our visualizations and insights so that we can share the data story for our stakeholders.

Creating Motion Charts with Tableau is very much similar to the images in our physical books which appears to be alive if made moving through pages as we flip them. It is interesting to see the similar kind of movement in action in Tableau using the "Pages section". It makes working on data feels like play and visually aesthetical. On the Pages section, when you drop a field, Tableau creates a sequence of pages that filters the view for each value in that field and make the chart appear moving.

Also with different speed settings for showing movement on tableau, it allows us to control the speed of the flip while making charts. The settings allows us to set it to slowest speed to the fastest speed as required for visual convivence. It allows us to format the marks and show the marks or trails, or both using page control settings.

Let's get into action and make one motion chart for demonstration:

We will use sample data set titled 'superstore date' and create "motion" chart to express how the sales did over a period of time (we will use monthly sales).

Step 1: Adding our Dimension Field (order date) in Column Section

Since we are wanting to see monthly sales over time , we will drag and drop 'order date' in column and set the drop down selection to 'monthly' for monthly data points.

Step 2: Adding Measure Field (sales) in Rows Section

Now we will drag and drop the 'sales' to rows for chart to show number of sales done over the given data points of monthly order dates. Also select measure as 'count' to shows sales as count of numbers.

Step 3: labeling the data to shows the values of data

For labelling the data, drag and drop sales in the 'text/label' box under the "marks" section.

Step 4: Selecting Circle from the Marks List

Now under the "marks" section, select the option of 'circle' to show data of sales as circle points and

the track between the dots can become 'trail' to show the progression from start to end point with

analysis of the data in between to show how the sales did monthly over the time.

Step 5: Dragging Dimension Field (order date) into Page Section

Now since we have laid foundation and line chart is ready with dots and line showing the data analysis , it is now time to add the moving or animation like feel to convert our chart into 'motion chart' which will show moving dot with sales numbers and track following those dots to show how well sales did monthly over time.

So drag the 'order date' to "Page section" and change the drop down to 'monthly' option to let tableau implement the motion effect to create moving chart for our data.

Step 6: Implement addition of movement to Motion Chart with Tableau Play-Pause Button

The moment we add the dimension to the "Pages section", We will see a filter and play box emerge on the right side. This can be used to set the range of months or use the "play-pause " button to implement motion chart movement.

Below after this step in following steps ,the use of this filter and Play box will be discussed for the motion chart.

Step 7 : Checking on " Show History" option box to Make Changes in Motion Chart

Making changes in setting will help us to create motion chart with trailing lines following data points. So just go to the "show history" option as shown below in the image and set required options for the line such as length ,marks, show etc. .

Step 8 : Using option of "both" on Tableau Motion chart

We will then here select the option "Both" so that the motion chart will have both data points and trailing line when it moves from our starting point to the endpoint on the chart.

Step 9: Playing the "PLAY button" on tableau

And finally when we click on "Play Button" as shown in image below, the motion chart will start from starting point move towards the right making trail of every data and then end on last data point on the chart.

And our 'Motion chart' is ready with our trend of monthly sales over time which shows visual moving dots and track for easy interpretation and visual convenience for stake holders. We can also create motion chart with two variable if required for presentation and analysis.

I hope this step by step blog would help to get a basic understanding of motion chart and how to create it using Tableau easily and make your analysis effective as well as visually attractive.

References: https ://data-flair. Training/blogs/tableau-motion-chart

images: From my free tableau public worksheet while creating motion chart .

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