How to Build Tableau Line Charts: 5 Easy Steps

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Tableau Line Charts

Tableau is one the most sought Business Intelligence tools and it is very popular among its competitors. It is a robust and flexible solution that is very easy to use. It provides detailed visualizations of data but in a simple manner. These visualizations allow the companies to understand their customers better and plan accordingly. It also supports integrations with various sources and ETL tools.

Tableau being a BI tool provides many visualization options and Line Chart is one such option. In this article, we will look in detail at steps to build a line chart.

Table of Contents

What is Tableau?

Tableau line chart: tableau logo
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Tableau is one of the popular Business Intelligence tools currently in the market. It has the provision of analyzing enterprise data and then providing a detailed visualization. It is founded in 2003 in California but is now headquartered in Washington. Salesforce acquired Tableau in 2019, for about $15.9 Billion. Tableau helps organizations analyze the data and visualize it for better understanding and make proper data-driven decisions.

Tableau is an advanced analytics platform that visualizes complex data and simplifies it making it easier to understand and analyze. It also helps users to schedule jobs related to dashboards and reports, debug using information received during monitoring.

Key Features of Tableau

 Some of the key features of Tableau are: 

  • Robust Security: Company’s data is protected by tableau. It ensures the use of proper authentication and provides proper data control capabilities. 
  • Mobile View: Tableau is also available on mobile platforms allowing the users to view reports from mobile devices.
  • Predictive analytics: Machine Learning is used to analyze data and predict new trends. Tableau uses machine learning for analysis. 
  • Collaboration and Sharing: Tableau provides many options to share and comes out as easy collaboration software, and sends visualizations, spreadsheets, dashboards, and many more in real-time. 
  • Data Sources: Tableau accepts the data from various different sources and hence is very flexible in analyzing data. 

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What is Tableau Line Chart?

The Tableau Line Chart is a visualization option where the two axes of a graph represent the dimension ( like time) and a measure ( like say sales of a company) are plotted together. This generates points known as Markers. By joining all the points together a line is formed which represents a trend or any useful insight.

Tableau line chart: line chart
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Types of Tableau Line Charts

Simple Tableau Line Chart:

Where there is only one dimension and one measure plotted together

Tableau line chart: simple line chart
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Multiple Tableau line chart:

Where there are multiple measures for a single dimension

Tableau line chart: multi line chart
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Tableau Line chart with label:

After the line is plotted, the markers can be labeled

Tableau line chart: line chart with label
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Tableau Line Chart Advantages

The advantages of Tableau Line Charts:

  • It is the best method to represent changes that are spread over different time periods.
  • It helps in understanding and predicting trends over historical data.
  • Line charts are simple, easy to make and understand, at the same time very informative.
  • Line charts can be optimized in such a way that they can represent even minor changes that is not possible in other charts.
  • It also allows for easier comparison between different parameters since multiple lines can be plotted on the same axes.

Tableau Line Chart Disadvantages

Disadvantages of Line Chart in Tableau:

  • Plotting multiple lines over the same axes makes it cluttered.
  • If the data has many parameters, it becomes quite complex.
  • It is only ideal for data with numerical values.
  • Deciding consistent scales for axes is difficult and even a small error in them will lead to a distorted graph.
  • If the numerical values are fractions and decimals the line chart is not very efficient.

How to build a Tableau line chart?

The following steps can be used to create a Tableau line chart. The Electronics Store sales dataset that is present in Tableau Desktop is used throughout the example, but you can use the dataset of your choice.

Step 1: Add the Measure and Dimension Field

  • For this example, we will create a simple line chart where the dimension is Order Date and Measure is the Sales field. Drag and drop the Columns and Rows and a preliminary chart is created.
tableau line chart: add row and column in tableau line chart
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Step 2: Add a new Profit Measure

  • Let’s create a multi-line graph from the simple graph created in the previous step.
  • We need to add another measure. Add profits to the rows section. 
  • A new line chart is created instantly just below the first one.
tableau line chart: add profit
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Step 3: Drag SUM Measure

  • We can merge two different columns to perform an action the same. We can drag SUM(profit) to the y-axis of the chart.
tableau line chart: drag measure to line chart in tableau
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Step 4: Details of Measure Fields

  • We will have a common y-axis for both the sales and profit values. 
  • We use the Measure value in the rows section to be able to remove separate values.
  • To find details of Measure Value we can click on the Measure Value card-present beneath the marks card.
  • To make the two lines different colored put the measured value into the color card.
tableau line chart: details of measure field
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Step 5: Manage the Appearance

  • Now that we have both measures sharing a common y-axis, we can change the dimension.
  • Here we are changing the order data from year to month, but it can change to weeks and days as well.
tableau line chart:: month dimension in tableau line chart
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  • The image shows we have data points for each month.
  • Moving the cursor on data points shows the details of points such as a month, year, profit/sales in detail
tableau line chart: monthly line chart in tableau
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  • The color scheme can also be changed.
  • Other properties like line opacity, chart borders, line markers, and many more can be changed. 
  • Also labels can be added by dragging the label card present on the marks card.
tableau line chart: manage the appearance of tableau line chart
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  • As we know tableau uses machine learning, we can also add forecasting lines which are like predictions of coming years

Conclusion

Tableau is a leading data visualization tool with millions of users due to its easy-to-use nature and flexibility. That’s not it, Tableau provides various visualization options for the data. Tableau Line chart is one such option and in this article, we discussed the steps to create Tableau Line Chart along with its types.

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Share your experience of learning about the Tableau Line Chart in the comments section below.

mm
Former Research Analyst, Hevo Data

Arsalan is a data science enthusiast with a keen interest towards data analysis and architecture and is interested in writing highly technical content. He has experience writing around 100 articles on various topics related to data industry.

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