Tableau Bump Charts

This is part of my series on Advanced Tableau Visualizations.

What is a Bump chart (also known as a Rank chart)?

Here is a Junkcharts article called “Bump chart goes mainstream” about how the Wall Street Journal used one to visualize how, compared to each other, each country ranks for automobile manufacturing.

Junkcharts sums it up well:

The cris-crossing of lines is key to reading these charts. A crossing (“bump”) necessarily means one entity has surpassed the other entity in absolute terms, even though we are looking at the relative rank.

Of course, there is no Swiss Army Knife of charts. This graphic provides no clue as to the share of world production. It’s quite possible that the first few countries account for the majority of the world’s production, so that the rank shifts toward the bottom of the chart are relatively inconsequential.


More reading & Tutorials

Matt Chambers (@sirvizalot) – How To: Using Ranks to Create Bump Charts in Tableau

How To: Using Ranks to Create Bump Charts in Tableau

I saw a really cool analysis done by Datagraver on the popularity of car colors over time. I built this viz as a way to reimagine what they had done. Check out the interactive version This viz exploded in popularity after posting it on reddit/r/dataisbeautiful to the tune of 300k+ views.

Ken Flerlage (@flerlagekr) – My Thoughts on Bump Charts

My Thoughts on Bump Charts and When to Use Them

Bump charts have a relatively simple purpose-they are used to visualize changes in rank over time. Here’s an example from Tim Brock’s Datato Display blog. These charts are fairly similar to line charts, but instead of graphing some measure on the y-axis, such as Actual Carbon Dioxide Emissions, they show the rank.

Andy Cotgreave (@acotgreave) – The right way to implement a bump chart

The right way to implement a bump chart

I am a great fan of bump charts. They show changes in rank very effectively. Two bump charts caught my attention this week; they teach us an interesting lesson on how to implement them. The first was based on the history of the Oxford Bumps and bought to my attention by a post on Infosthetics.

Official Tableau Tutorial

Bump Charts

Explore Tableau’s solutions for your industry.

Rahul Singh (@singh_rahul0404) – Advanced Charting : Rank Charts in Tableau

Advanced Charting : Rank Charts in Tableau – Data Vizzes

In this article we will see how to construct a rank/bump chart in Tableau. A rank chart is an effective way to see how the rank of our dimensions varied across year. Lets suppose we rank each of the sub category in our Super store data and would like to see if the ranking of these sub categories by sales changed over time or remained constant.


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Eric Axelrod

President & Chief Architect at DIGR
I have helped companies bring new data driven products to market, drive efficiency out of their supply chain, execute strategic plans, and drive top line and bottom line growth by enabling every business function with actionable analytics. I can transform a business which is lacking critical insight into an agile, strategic, data driven organization.

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