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  • Bernard K

How to deal with multiple response survey questions in Tableau Desktop?

Updated: Nov 7

multiple response analysis in Tableau desktop


Multiple response questions or multiple answer questions are the kind of questions that provides a list of possible answer options, and respondents can select all options that are true for them.

For example, in a survey exploring the commonly used social media channels, you may have the following question as part of the survey questions.

Quiz: Which of the following social media channels did you use in the last one month?

Responses - (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, WhatsApp, WeChat, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, SnapChat & Instagram)

With such a question requiring multiple responses or answers – respondents can tick all the social media channels they have used over the last one month.

Resulting data – table 1

sample data one

(This data could be collected in the above format - whereby, under the various possible responses - you’ve values (in this case the value is 1) indicating that respondents agree to have used such social media channels over the last one month).

Resulting data – table 2

sample data two

(Alternatively, this data could be collected in the above format – whereby the multiple responses are separated by a semi-colon).

So, how do you analyze such data in Tableau?

Solution one

Assuming the data you’re working with is collected in the format of the first table. You can analyze the data, by first shaping it (that is through pivoting).

Useful: Learn how to pivot data in Tableau Desktop

To pivot the data – simply select all the possible multiple responses, and on the drop-down menu select pivot.

pivoting data in Tableau

Executing this packs, the data into ‘Pivot Field Names’ – which contains the column heads, in this case the social media channels and ‘Pivot Field Values’ - which contain the values.

after pivoting data in Tableau desktop

And now you can analyze the data by.

  • Drag ‘Pivot Field Names’ to the rows.

  • Drag ‘Pivot Field Values’ to the columns.

  • Divide SUM(Pivot Field Values)/COUNTD(Unique_ID) – simply to get the proportion of total.

  • Format the labels into ‘Percentage’

resulting analysis

(Note you can add filters to empower users drill the view by dimensions such as gender of the respondent)

Solution two

Assuming the data you’re working with is collected in the format of the second table. You can analyze the data by first splitting the field ‘Which social media channel did you use in the last month?’ into multiple fields.

Useful: Using the SPLIT() function to split a field into multiple fields in Tableau.

splitting fields in Tableau desktop using custom split option

Export the data as a CSV file.

exporting data in Tableau desktop

Alternatively use this option to export the data.

export data to CSV in Tableau desktop

Connect the exported data and pivot the multiple fields you’ve split above.

Now analyze the data by.

  • Drag Pivot Field Values to the rows.

  • Drag COUNTD(Unique_ID) to the columns (to show the unique respondents who mentioned the various social media channels).

  • Add table calculation ‘Percent of total’

  • Exclude the NULLs from the view.

resulting analysis


Although the data format is different, the resulting analysis is the same. From the final views of the two analysis - you can tell that 95% of the respondents said to have used Facebook in the last one month, followed closely by WhatsApp with 90%.

WeChat and Reddit had the least usability with only 20% and 15% of the respondents said to have used the respective channels in the last one month.

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About Me

More About the Author

Bernard K

Analytics Consultant | 3X Tableau Certified

Bernard is a data analytics consultant helping businesses reveal the true power of their data and bring clarity to their reporting dashboards. He loves building things and sharing knowledge on how to build dashboards that drive better outcomes.

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