Tableau charts: Lollipop chart

September 8, 2018

The series, Tableau charts has always focused on one thing, helping Tableau users learn how to create different charts and graphs hence equipping them with different techniques of telling each data story. Therefore, inspired by the mission of this series, we’ll explore on how to create a Lollipop chart in Tableau.

But, why should one learn this chart? And are there other alternatives for this chart? Bar and line chart are some of the best alternatives for this chart, but truth be told, in their simplicity of presenting data, these two charts are boring to some users and I know some you can concur with me. Depending on the target audience, there will always be mixed reactions in the way people prefer information packaged, and therefore you don’t want to appear boring especially if your audience prefers new thoughts, inspiring work and visually appealing products. Learning how to create this chart can save you in such a scenario. In a nutshell, this article prepares us on how to respond to different market demands in the data visualization niche.

Related: How to create a dual axis chart.

We’ll be using data set on Superstores pre-packaged with Tableau app, to visualize Sales for different product Sub-Category’s. Connect data set above to Tableau app and follow along.

Step 1: Build a simple bar chart.

  • Drag dimension field ‘Sub-Category’ to the rows shelf.

  • Drag measure field ‘Sales’ to the columns shelf.

  • Select ‘Bar’ under the Marks card.

Step 2: Create a dual bar chart.

Two ways to do this;

  • Hold down Ctrl key and drag the aggregate field SUM(Sales) in the columns shelf next to itself.

or

  • Drag the measure field ‘Sales’ to the columns shelf next to aggregate field SUM(Sales).

Make the charts dual.

Synchronize the axis.

Step 3: Change the second bar chart to a circle.

This can be done as follows;

  • Select the second bar chart and change it to ‘Shape’ under marks card.

  • Choose circle on the ‘Shape’ tab.

Adjust the two charts as follows;

  • Make the bar chart (1st chart) thinner and the circles (2nd chart) larger by adjusting their respective sizes under Size tab.

Executing this gives us the Lollipop chart below;

Note, the Shape tab of the second chart gives us a variety of icons to choose from, hence giving us control of how we would like to present our data. See the few examples have compiled below.

From our resulting chart of this article, you will agree with me that a Lollipop chart doesn’t add any new insights if you were to compare it with a simple bar chart. But, it gives us a different way of presenting same insights, it makes users more interested in the viz, it adds some fun and new thoughts too.

But this is not all we can do with the shapes in a Lollipop chart, we can add different icons other than the standard ones provided by Tableau, we can even add images which resonate with our data story to make it even more insight rich.

Therefore regarding this, in our next article of the Tableau tips, we’ll be demonstrating how to use external images and icons in a Lollipop chart, to improve our story telling with data.

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Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

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