Creating Useful Tree Maps in Tableau

Tree maps are a data visualization used to communicate hierarchal values in a systematic way with nested rectangles. A lot of the tree maps I see look something like this:

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t find this to be particularly informative or compelling. I prefer to use tree maps as a way to highlight a few relevant data points. Notice in the dashboard below how I use a tree map to highlight the top 10 items sold.

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I’ll walk you through how I build something like this.

 

Building a Top 10 Tree Map

For this example, I’ll be using superstore data. Feel free to follow along to learn if you’d like.

1. Create a new worksheet, change the mark type (in the Marks Card) to square and drop the “Product Name” field on “Detail” in the Marks Card.

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2. Drag a measure (in this case “Sales”) to “Size” on the Marks Card and change the worksheet fit to “Entire View”.

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3. Drag a copy of the “Product Name” field to the Filters card and create a top 10 filter based on Sum of Sales.

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4. Drag copies of the “Product Name” and “Sales” fields to “Label” on the Marks Card.

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5. Use the “Label” tab in the Marks Card to customize text layout.

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6. Use the “Color” tab in the Marks Card to change the background color of the rectangles and make the borders in between them white. This really helps them pop.

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Now you’ve got a beautiful, informative tree map that just highlights relevant data.

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