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Blog November 6, 2018

Designing Network Charts in Tableau

In Part I of this blog series, I highlighted some 'out of the ordinary' ways to visualize data in Tableau. In this post, we will look at detailed steps of implementing the chart types we discussed in Part I.

So, we have several relationships that we want to visualize, and we have concluded that the network graph is a great option. How do you implement it? Here are the detailed steps:

Step 1

For the network graph, the data must laid out in a certain way to begin the process of developing the chart. I estimate this is 80% of the work. Once this data layout is done, it is a breeze to complete the remainder of the steps.

Step 2

Drag Line X to the columns shelf and Line Y; drag Circle Y to the rows shelf. This will create two scatter plots as seen below.

Step 3

If we look at the network graph in Part I, we can easily tell that the next step is to combine and create the 'Dual Axis' chart. Right click on Circle Y from the rows shelf and select 'dual axis.' Right click on the Circle Y axes and click 'synchronize axis.'

Step 4

Drag the 'Node' field (# of people) to the labels shelf (selecting 'pie' as the mark type) and drag the 'ID' field to the colors shelf of the Circle Y marks card, as shown below. This will render a plot with all of the connections, and each slice of the pie representing number of people they connect with.

Step 5

Change to the Line Y marks card. Remove 'measure names' from color and change mark type to line. Select the ID and Relationship fields from the dimensions/measures pane, and drop them on the Details card, as shown below. Voila! You have a network graph!

Of course, at this point you can dress it up further by removing the grids, adjusting the size of pies, adding filters, etc.

In Part 3, we will look at the steps to design a Sankey diagram (brush up on your math skills if you haven't already for this one!)