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Tableau VIZ: How to Choose the right chart type?

what chart best works for your data .There is lot of data around the project so to choose which chart best represents your data and what are the basic categories ,here you can see some basic categories on which

you can divide your data and choose the better chart type.

Visualizing your data helps you understand it better, find patterns and trends. For visualizing of data ,

Tableau is a powerful tool and flexible, for exploring data, identifying patterns and trends, and communicating insights. It can provide insight into correlations and trends that may otherwise be difficult to detect from examining raw data alone. It is why data visualization tools like Tableau and methods are often used in business, financial analysis, project management, scientific studies, and just about everywhere else – as long as there is some data to visualize.

This topic presents nine different types of information that you can display with a visualization

  1. Change over time

  2. Correlation

  3. Magnitude

  4. Deviation

  5. Distribution

  6. Ranking

  7. Part-to-Whole

  8. Spatial

  9. Flow

Change over time:

To show the change over time measure for your data Tableau has different type of the chart options like

line charts, slope charts and highlight tables. To show change over time, you need to know the value you expect to change, and how to work with Date fields in Tablea

Questions you need to consider for this type of data

  • How has this measure changed in the past year?

  • When did this measure change?

  • How quickly has this measure changed?

Example chart

line chart showing year wise sales


To show correlation between two fields of data like how many orders are there for the particular product

it can be shown using the scatter plot or highlight tables

Questions you need to consider for this type of data

  • Are these two measures related? How strongly?

  • Are some measures more related than others?

  • How strongly related are these measures

Example chart

Scatter plot showing sales with trendline


You should consider Magnitude to show the relative value between two values, like when comparing

sales for two different regions, You can use bar charts or bubble charts to show

Questions you need to consider for this type of data

  • Which of these dimension members has the highest measure?

  • Are there any exceptional dimensions?

  • How large of a gap is there between the lowest and highest measure between these dimensions?

Example chart:

Bubble chart showing comparision between regions


Deviation is like to show how far the value has grown from the base value. For example to show which items has high profits or low profits marginally, for this kind of data you can use bullet charts or bar charts

Questions you need to consider for this type of data

  • How important are the deviations in this measure?

  • Is there a pattern to the deviations?

Example chart to show Deviation:

bar charts showing product sales


Distribution is used when you are showing survey in your data like how customers liked the particular product.

for this kind of data distribution you can use histograms, pyramids and pareto chart,

Questions you need to consider for this type of data

  • which product was highly bought by most costumers?

  • Which population group buys the most items?

  • When are the busiest times in our work day?

Example for chart

pareto chart showing profits for each product


This will show top ten products which are bought by consumers, ranking of products.

we can use bar chart with rank calculation included in the chart, top n sets or you can mention progress indicators in the chart.

Questions you need to consider for this type of data

  • How many people are under-performing in the company?

  • How much revenue is generated by our top ten customers?

  • What is the value of our ten lowest revenue properties?

Example chart :

Ranking chart showing the highest product


This will show how much all the values made up to the whole part ,for example how all the regions made contribution as overall sales in that location. We can use pie chart, area chart or tree maps

Questions you need to consider for this type of data

  • How much does this value contribute to the total?

  • How does the distribution of costs change each year?

  • Do different items contribute different amounts to sales by region?

Example chart :

Tree map showing sales region wise


spatial charts are to show the geographic variations in your data, for examples map of all the sales in the whole country, we can use distribution maps, symbol maps, density maps`.

Questions you need to consider for this type of data

  • Which city has the highest sales?

  • How far from distribution centers are our customers?

  • How many people arrive at which gate?

Example chart:

map showing city wise sales


Flow maps include path over time and path between origin and destination charts.

Questions you need to consider for this type of data

  • What is the longest shipping route?

  • How long are people lingering around gates?

  • What are the bottlenecks to traffic in the city?

Example chart:

flow chart showing paths between different routes

image credits-Tableau


These are different types of categories you should consider the better chart for your data.

You can take a look into the category and choose the best chart type, since for each category

we can plot data in different charts.

Thank you for reading. Hope you got a better idea about data.

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Mar 23, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Well explained!

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