Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Heat Map

Data

Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Heat Map

Not everyone is a Tableau guru, at least not yet. To help Tableau rookies, we’re starting from square one with the Tableau Essentials blog series. The series is intended to be an easy-to-read reference on the basics of using Tableau Software, particularly Tableau Desktop. Since there are so many cool features to cover in Tableau, the series will include several different posts.

To take a more visual approach to showing data than we might typically see in a crosstab, let’s consider a heat map. A heat map is a great way to compare categories using color and size. In this, you can compare two different measures. In the example below (Figure 1), I have created a heat map to show performance by global region for the different product lines of our fictional company.

Heat Map

Figure 1: Heat map.

The size of the square indicates the volume of sales. You can see the legend breaking down the four tiers into a minimum ($173,140), lower middle ($500,000), upper middle ($1,000,000) and maximum ($1,671,761). In our fictional company, Technology sales have consistently been a big sales generator across the different global regions. You can see this as the marks in the Technology rows are comparatively larger than the others. North America and Asia Pacific are clearly the best performers across regions.

I’ve also color coded the marks based on profit margin. Our fictional company wants to see every global product line that is performing beneath a certain threshold (50%). Those are highlighted in increasingly darker shades of red while the profitable regions are coded in increasing shades of green. The darker the green, the more profitable the product category is in that region.

We can immediately see that across global regions and years, the Furniture product category is among the least profitable in the company. While this seems to be improving by 2013, North America is still below our arbitrary profit margin threshold. Conversely, Technology sales seem to be the strongest performer – except in Latin America until recently.

That is the story of this particular visualization, and the heat map view tells it nicely. There are a lot of different ways to use the heat map. Hopefully, this visualization gives you ideas to use with your data. 

Other Chart Types

Here is the complete list of chart types from the Show Me menu. Be sure to check back often as we continue to release new articles in each chart type in this sub-series.

Introduction

  1. Text Table (Crosstab)
  2. Heat Map
  3. Highlight Table
  4. Symbol Map
  5. Filled Map
  6. Pie Chart
  7. Horizontal Bar Chart
  8. Stacked Bar Chart
  9. Side-by-Side Bars
  10. Treemap
  11. Circle Views
  12. Side-by-Side Circle Views
  13. Lines (continuous & discrete)
  14. Dual Lines
  15. Area Charts (continuous & discrete)
  16. Line Chart Extra
  17. Dual Combination
  18. Scatter Plot
  19. Histogram
  20. Box-and-Whisker Plot
  21. Gantt
  22. Bullet Graphs
  23. Packed Bubbles

More Tableau Essentials

Want to learn more about Tableau? We have several posts outlining all of Tableau’s fantastic features. Check out the full list on our Tableau Essentials blog channel.

As always, let us know if you have any questions or comments about this post or Tableau in general. If you’re looking for personalized training or help with something bigger, contact us directly!

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Want More Tableau Essentials

  1. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Introduction
  2. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – The Text Table
  3. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Heat Map
  4. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Highlight Table
  5. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Symbol Map
  6. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Filled Map
  7. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Pie Chart
  8. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Horizontal Bar Chart
  9. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Stacked Bar Chart
  10. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Side-by-Side Bar Chart
  11. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Treemap
  12. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Circle View
  13. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Side-by-Side Circle View
  14. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Line Charts (Continuous & Discrete)
  15. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Dual-Line Chart (Non-Synchronized)
  16. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Area Charts (Continuous & Discrete)
  17. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Scatter Plot
  18. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Histogram
  19. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Box-and-Whisker Plot
  20. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Gantt Chart
  21. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Bullet Graph
  22. Tableau Essentials: Chart Types – Packed Bubbles
  23. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Introduction
  24. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Custom Shapes
  25. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Labels
  26. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Color
  27. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Tooltips
  28. Tableau Essentials: Formatting Tips – Maps
  29. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Introduction
  30. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Logical Functions
  31. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Number Functions
  32. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Date Functions
  33. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – String Functions
  34. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Type Conversion
  35. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – Aggregate Functions
  36. Tableau Essentials: Calculated Fields – User Functions

More About the Author

Carly Capitula

Principal / Enablement Practice Lead
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