Data Visualization tools are becoming popular in the market day by day and their efficiency to gain customer insights is always being put to the test. These tools help organizations understand their customer’s needs and help them survive in a competitive market.
One such collaborative BI (Business Intelligence) software that allows you to visualize your data and become more data-driven is Tableau. Histograms are a popular data representation technique that visualizes your data in an efficient manner.
Tableau Histograms are an interesting way through which businesses can use the flexibility, robustness, and scalability of Tableau to design histograms to visualize their data in a simple and accurate manner. Although Tableau Histograms have been a part of Tableau for a long time, very few people know how to use them.
In this article, you will be given a step-by-step guide to building Tableau Histograms with images for a better understanding. You will also be given a brief overview of Tableau and Histograms.
Read along to find out how you can build Tableau Histograms for your company.
Table of Contents
- A Tabluea Desktop user account.
- Basic understanding of Tableau and how to connect Tableau to data sources like Excel and CSV.
What is Tableau?
Tableau is a Business Intelligence (BI) tool, that lets users analyze data, create visualizations, and develop dashboards and reports.
Tableau is available in two flavors – A completely managed online service called Tableau online and an on-premise installation called Tableau Desktop. Off late Tableau is also offering a suite of applications to make it easier for analysts to connect to data, prepare data, and manage the report generation jobs.
Tableau Prep builder lets one connect and prepare data. Tableau Prep Conductor can be used to schedule and monitor the jobs. It also plays a major role in building Tableau Histograms. The effectiveness of a business analyst lies in his ability to portray the data used for decision-making in the most intuitive way.
Tableau’s biggest strength is its ability to create great-looking visualizations intuitively. It supports many kinds of visual elements like charts, tables, maps, graphs, and infographics.
Key Features of Tableau
Tableau has a wide range of features which makes it a better choice over other BI tools. Some of these are as follows:
- Tableau provides extensive features in Dashboard to perform analytical analysis on the data and allows users to create a visual masterpiece.
- With Tableau, users can collaborate sheets among colleagues and other team members to review the designs.
- Tableau supports real-time data as well as batch data with robust in-memory computation.
- Tableau has over 200+ connectors available in its library, which can connect to any relational and non-relational databases, CSV files, excels, Hive, Snowflake, etc.
- Tableau allows users to develop advanced charts and graphs to create high-quality visuals.
What is Histogram?
A histogram is a plot that lets one find out the distribution of numerical groups inside your data. In other words, it gives you an idea of the count of the data sample that belongs to disjoint groups.
Tableau Histograms serve the same function but also help generate reports and dashboards according to your business requirements.
For example, let us consider that you have a data set that contains user transactions ranging from $10 to $1000. If your goal is to try and increase high-value transactions for your business, you may want to know what is the current distribution of transactions in your data. You may want to know how many of your customers’ transactions are less than $500 and how many are between $800 to $1000. This is where histograms come into play.
Histograms will divide your data into equal-sized bins and then take the count of data points that belong to each of the bins. In this particular data, one may divide the data points into bins of 100$ and take the count of transactions that belong to the 0-50$ category, the 100-150$ category, and so on. The count is indicated as the length of bars in a histogram.
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Steps to Build Tableau Histograms
Now you will head to the crux of the blog which is to create Tableau Histograms using a custom dataset. This tutorial assumes you are comfortable with adding data to Tableau through CSV or Excel sheets.
We will use the sample superstore data provided by Tableau to build the histogram. It can be downloaded from the Tableau community website here.
It contains data about individual details of the orders that were received at a store. Each order information contains details like the number of products in that order, the segment of the customer who placed that order, etc.
Generally, you can build Tableau Histograms by following the below steps:
Step 1: Connect to the Tableau Data Source
The first step in creating Tableau Histograms is to connect to the sample superstore data that Tableau provides. Open the connect pane, Select Excel as the type, and load data to the Excel file you downloaded.
Step 2: Drag the Quantity Field
The next step in creating Tableau Histograms is to drag the Quantity Field from the left side of the pane to the center. The Quantity Fields contain information on the number of products in each order for the store. This is shown below.
Step 3: Accessing the Show Me Pane
The next step in creating Tableau Histograms is to head to the “Show Me” pane on the right side and click the histogram. This will create a histogram with a basic configuration as shown below.
Step 4: Understanding the Basic Histogram Configuration
The basic histogram configuration looks as shown in the below figure. It shows the number of products in orders divided into 7 bins and the number of orders falling in each bin.
Step 5: Optimize the Histogram Created
Even though this is good enough, considering we only clicked a few icons to generate this, it does not convey any useful information. Building great histograms is about conveying actionable insights.
If you are a senior manager looking at this data with the motive of increasing sales, you will want to get information about the segments of customers who are placing these orders.
For example, knowing which customer segments constitute the major part of each of the bins will be useful information. This is an interesting feature of Tableau Histograms.
To achieve this, drag the segment field from the left-hand side to the Color section in the Marks Pane. This creates a histogram as below. Different segments like Consumer, Corporate, and Home Office are now indicated with different colors.
Step 6: Segmenting the Histogram
Now, the most valuable information that can be derived from this data set is if we can get the percentage of each of these segments in their respective bins. That will give an idea about how to create strategies for improving the order values.
To achieve this, drag the Quantity Field to the Label section on the Marks pane. Then right-click on the “Quantity” field in the Marks pane, Select Quick Table Calculation and then Select Percentage of Total. In the Table calculation dialog box, ensure that the “Compute Using” field is selected as “Cell“.
Step 7: Adding the Final Touches
Once done, you will be looking at a histogram as below. It shows the percentage of orders from each segment as the actual value in respective bins.
That concludes the sequence of steps involved in building Tableau Histograms. A histogram becomes great when it unearths an otherwise invisible trend or pattern. Tableau provides us with all the tools and configurations required for impeccable histograms, but ultimately, it is the analysts’ domain knowledge and intent that leads to a great visualization.
This article provided a step-by-step guide on building Tableau Histograms. It also gave a brief overview of Tableau and Histograms to help readers understand the fundamentals of the process. Overall, Tableau Histograms provide an excellent way to visualize your data in the most simplistic way possible. They can definitely prove to be an asset to your organization.
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Share your experience of Building Tableau Histograms in the comments section below!