Home Quick Tips Tableau QT: Spiral Charts

Tableau QT: Spiral Charts

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This is a Quick Tip on how to build a Spiral Chart in Tableau, so less reading and more jumping in. We are going to spend 5 minutes or less building our Spiral Chart in Tableau.

Note: As always never choose a data visualisation type and try to fit your data into it, instead, understand your data and choose the best visualization for your data consumers.

Data

Load the following data into Tableau Desktop / Public.

Country,Path,Percentage
United Kingdom,1,0.95
United Kingdom,360,0.95
United States,1,0.77
United States,360,0.77
Germany,1,0.55
Germany,360,0.55

Note: we require path and duplicate lines for densification. See our tutorial on Data Densification for more information. Click here

Calculations

We will start by creating the following calculated fields.

Path (bin)

  • Right-click on Path
    • Go to Create, and select Binsโ€ฆ
    • In the Edit Bins window:
      • Set New field name to Path (bin).
      • Set Size of bins to 1.5.
      • Click OK.

Index

INDEX()-1

TC_Percentage

WINDOW_MAX(MAX([Percentage]))

Color

IF [Index]/WINDOW_MAX([Index]) <= [TC_Percentage] THEN
    WINDOW_MAX(MAX([Country]))
ELSE
    "Grey"
END

Size

IF [Index]/WINDOW_MAX([Index]) <= [TC_Percentage] THEN
    1
ELSE
    0
END

X

SIN(RADIANS([Index]*5))*[Index]

Y

COS(RADIANS([Index]*5))*[Index]

Worksheet

Now that we have created our Calculated Fields, we will build our Worksheet.

  • Change the Mark Type to Line.
  • Drag Country onto Columns.
  • Drag Path (bin) onto Columns.
    • Right-click on this object and ensure that Show Missing Values is selected.
    • Drag this object onto the Path Mark.
  • Drag Y onto Columns.
    • Right-click on the object, go to Compute Using and select Path (bin).
  • Drag X onto Rows.
    • Right-click on the object, go to Compute Using and select Path (bin).
  • Drag Color onto the Color Mark.
    • Right-click on the object, go to Compute Using and select Path (bin).
  • Drag Size onto the Size Mark.
    • Right-click on the object, go to Compute Using and select Path (bin).

If all goes well, you should now see the following:

Now we will adjust the cosmetics:

  • Edit the Colors.
  • Edit the Size.
  • Hide the Axis Header.
  • Hide the Grid Lines.
  • Hide the Zero Lines.
  • Add a Label.
    • Add the Percentage object.
    • Ensure that you allow overlapping values.
    • Ensure that you only show values at the end of the line.

You can really go to town with the formatting, but you will want to end up with the following:

and boom, we are done, nice, simple and quick. You find my Spiral Chart Dashboard on Tableau Public at  https://public.tableau.com/profile/toan.hoang#!/vizhome/SpiralCharts_15589761568080/SpiralChart

Variations 1

Click on Color and set Markers to All.

Variation 2

Edit the value of Path (bin) and change the Mark Type to Circle, and change the Color transparency to 50%.

Variation 3

Explore the Shape Mark Type to see what you can come up with.

Summary

I hope you all enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Do let me know if you experienced any issues recreating this Visualisation, and as always, please leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter @Tableau_Magic.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Hi
    I tried to recreate the spiral but even though I followed the steps to the letter (twice), I only get a “partial” spiral. Nothing like the beautiful effect you created. Any thoughts where I might have gone wrong? Your public tableau post did not allow me to download the worksheet to compare to mine and see where I might have messed up.
    Many thanks

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