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How do I build a Line and Dot Bump Chart in Tableau?

As part of our training at The Information Lab Ireland we like to show clients and users an array of charts to suit their particular needs. Not every chart answers every question and there are some that are more suitable depending on what kind of information, patterns or trends you are trying to discern. Today we are going to look at a Line and Dot Bump Chart and in this instance we simply want examine how the different departments in our fictitious business  K Good Company have ranked over the last year in terms of their performance when compared to each other.
For this we are going to build a Line and Dot Bump Chart.

How do I build a Line and Dot Bump Chart in Tableau?

Line And Dot Bump Chart in Tableau

Firstly, we take our Dimension Month and drop it into the Columns Shelf. We follow this with our Dimension Department into the Rows Shelf. We can see our six departments lined up on our Y axis and our Month lined up on the Y axis. We are ready to get building.

Line And Dot Bump Chart in Tableau

As is often the case, we are straight into creating a calculated filed. Click on Analysis and from the drop down menu select Create Calculated Field. In this case we want to create a calculation that will rank our sales by department. It is not too tough thankfully.

RANK (SUM([#Sales by Department])) will do the trick quite nicely. In this case I have named my calculation Rank Left and as we have mentioned previously it is a good idea to name your pills. For now we are not dealing with huge amounts of data but there will cases when we are and therefore labeling can be very important.

Line And Dot Bump Chart in Tableau

We can now pull our Rank Left into the Rows Shelf and suddenly the different Departments begin to take shape.

Indeed this might be sufficient but ultimately we want to be able to clearly display the rank in line with each month and it’s for this reason we are going to bring Rank Left into our Rows Shelf again, create a Dual Axis but change the Mark on the second Rank Left to Circle.

It is worth noting that it might have been an idea (and we would have avoided contradicting what we said in the last paragraph) to repeat the calculated field Rank Left but to name it Rank Right. In this instance we will be OK though I think.

Before that you will need to Edit Axis to create enough space for your marks and to make sure you have the value range you want. Click on Edit Axis and make the necessary changes

Line And Dot Bump Chart in Tableau

Line And Dot Bump Chart in Tableau

Create a Dual Axis in Tableau

Then to create the Dual Axis, pull in your ‘second’ Rank Left pill right click and hit Dual Axis. You will have to edit this axis to make sure it matches the other.

The Information Lab Ireland

You will then have to change its mark to a Circle and you can do this in its dedicated Marks Card.

Line And Dot Bump Chart in Tableau

Critically, you will have to make sure that Tableau reads the rank the way you want it to be read. At the moment (and this is why the individual Marks are off the charts (i.e. not fully visible) is because it is reading the rank across the columns and therefore ranking the Months and not Departments.

Click on Edit Table Calculation and select Table Down. Next week we will show you another option but for now this will work just fine.

Line And Dot Bump Chart in Tableau Line And Dot Bump Chart in Tableau

We can now see that the Sheet is beginning to take shape but make sure to centre your numbers in the circle by going to the Label in your Marks Card and selecting the correct alignment.

Line And Dot Bump Chart in Tableau

You can adjust the size of both or either your line or dot and of course change the colour of the dot to match the colour of the line. This will be particularly important when we show you how to merge the different departments onto one sheet next week.

Line And Dot Bump Chart in Tableau

As a final touch, we added a filter Rank Left we could isolate what departments ranked where throughout the year.

Line And Dot Bump Chart in Tableau

Why is this useful?

Not only does a Line and Dot Bump Chart show you the ranking of different departments but it also shows patterns.

In this case, and because we are dealing in Hardware, DIY and Gardening, we might be able to discern seasonal patterns and act accordingly. For example, the Gardening Department as you might expect is doing very well from March to September but then there is a significant drop off when compared to other departments. This is to be expected but we might examine taking some stock off the shop floor and making room for more fuels which we can see have had a terrible summer but did very well in winter. Is there a case for making a Summer Fuel Sale perhaps and seeing how that goes – a ‘Get Ready for Winter’ campaign. What can we do about DIY in November and December and why is our Lighting Department ranking fourth in what should really be its busiest time of the year – December?

Those may or may not be questions that a business wants to ask or answer but there is no doubt that discernible patterns emerge when data is visualized like this so clearly.

Who/What is…?

The Information Lab Ireland

The Information Lab (“TIL”) is a Gold resale partner of Tableau and Alteryx and offers related consulting and training across seven territories in Europe. TIL has offices in Ireland, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Clients include Coca-Cola, Close Bros Bank, PepsiCo, Deloitte, UBS, Solar Turbines & Boston Consulting Group. The Information Lab has worked with Close Brothers Bank to support their use of Alteryx for compliance with IFRS 9.

The Information Lab Ireland is at the forefront of creating a data-driven culture in Ireland. As part of its vision, The Information Lab Ireland regularly hosts free events throughout the country to show how being data-driven can improve decision making and lead to a better understanding of the world around us.

For more on these events please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter


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