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How to create a step chart in Tableau


Definition

A step chart (also known as a stepped line graph) is useful when highlighting the magnitude of change (or the change that occur at irregular intervals). This chart is similar to a line chart, but with a line forming a series of steps between the data points.

Example of a step chart

example of a step chart

Step by step guide on how to create a step chart in Tableau

Option one

Using Sample-Superstore data set, the quickest way to create a slope chart is by adding the dimension and measure you would like to visualize to the columns and rows shelves respectively.

Select line under the marks card.

And choose Step Line Type under the Path shelf.

stepped line graph

Option two

The second way to create a step chart is using the DATETRUNC() function.

To do that, using the Sample-Superstore data – drag (Order Date) to the columns and set the level of detail as Exact Date.

Next, create a calculated field using the DATETRUNC() function to compute the Sales for the date part of interest. (In this case, am computing the sales for each month).

Datetrunc function computing monthly sales in Tableau

(This calculation truncates Order Date to Month level and then computes the sales for each month).

Add the above calculation to the view.

final stepped line graph created in Tableau

The resulting view is a step chart – this is because the x-axis scale is at day level while the sales is computed at month level, hence the gap between the start of a month and end of a month is represented as a single line (that is, sales for the month).

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