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Create a Quilt Chart


Published: 22 May 2018
Last Modified Date: 25 May 2018

Question

How to create a quilt chart, which is a chart where every column is a year and every row is a rank. For example, sub-categories could be ranked by sales, so the first row will always be the sub-category with the highest sales for that year even if it is a different sub-category each year.

Environment

Tableau Desktop

Answer

The attached example workbook uses the sample data set Superstore to demonstrate the following directions:
 
1. Drag [Order Date] to Columns

2. Drag [Sub-Category] to Label on the Marks card, and then drag a second copy of [Sub-Category] to Color

3. Optional: drag [Sales] to Label on the Marks card

4. Select Analysis > Create Calculated Field

5. In the Calculated Field dialog box that opens, do the following, and then click OK:
 
  • Name the calculated field. In this example, the calculated field is named "Rank of Sales"
  • In the formula field, create a calculation similar to the following:

 RANK(SUM([Sales]))

6. Right-click [Rank of Sales] in the data pane and select Convert to Discrete

7. Drag [Rank of Sales] to the Rows shelf

8. Right-click [Rank of Sales] on the Rows shelf and select Compute Using > Sub-Category

9. On the Marks card, select Bar from the dropdown menu

10. Right-click and drag [Number of Records] onto Size on the Marks card

11. In the Drop Field dialog, select MIN(Number of Records) and click OK

12. Click Size on the Marks card and move the slider all the way to the right

13. Right-click [Rank of Sales] on the Rows shelf and uncheck Show Header

Additional Information

You may also consider making a bump chart, which conveys the same information. For instructions, see the free training video Bump Charts
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