Scatter charts are best to show the relationship between two datasets, placed on the x- and y-axis, to reveal possible correlations. With Tableau Public, you can create an interactive scatter chart, where you can hover your cursor over points to view more details about the data. Organize your data in three columns, the same way as the Datawrapper scatter chart tutorial: the first column for data labels, the second column for the x-axis, and the third column for the y-axis. Then you can create an interactive scatter chart as shown in Figure 6.53, which illustrates a strong relationship between household income and test scores (above or below the national average for 6th grade math and English) in Connecticut public school districts. To learn more about the data and related visualizations, see Sean Reardon et al. at the Stanford Education Data Archive, Motoko Rich et al. at The New York Times, Andrew Ba Tran at CT Mirror/TrendCT, and this TrendCT GitHub repo.
To create your own scatter chart using this sample data in Tableau Public, follow this tutorial.
Download the CT Districts-Income-Grades sample data in Excel format, or view and download the Google Sheets version. The data file consists of three columns: district, median household income, and test score levels.
Install and start up the free Tableau Public desktop application for Mac or Windows. It may require several minutes to complete this process. Tableau Public’s welcome page includes three sections: Connect, Open, and Discover.
Under Connect, you can choose to upload a Microsoft Excel file, or choose Text file to upload a CSV file, or other options. Or to connect to a server, such as Google Sheets, click More… to connect to your account. After you successfully connect to your data source, you will see it under Connections in the Data Source tab. Under Sheets, you will see two tables, data and notes.
Drag the data sheet into Drag tables here area, as shown in Figure 6.54. You will see the preview of the table under the drag-and-drop area. You have successfully connected one data source to Tableau Public, and you are ready to build your first chart.
- In the Data source screen, click on the orange Sheet 1 tab (in the lower-left corner) to go to your worksheet, where you will build the chart.
Although it may feel overwhelming at first, the key is learning where to drag items from the Data pane (left) into the main worksheet. Tableau marks all data fields in blue (for discrete values, mostly text fields or numeric labels) or green (for continuous values, mostly numbers).
In your worksheet, drag the Grade Levels field into the Rows field above the charting area, which for now is just empty space. See Figure 6.55 for this dragging step and the following two steps. Tableau will apply a summation function to it, and you will see
SUM(Grade Levels)appear in the Rows row, and a blue bar in the charting area. It makes little sense so far, so let’s plot another data field.
Drag Median Household Income to the Columns field, just above the Rows field. In general, choosing between Rows and Columns shelves can be challenging, but it is convenient to think of Columns shelf as representing your x-axis, and Rows as y-axis. Once again, Tableau will apply the summation function, so you will see
SUM(Median Household Income)in the Columns shelf. The bar chart will automatically transform into a scatter chart with just one data point in the upper-right corner, because the data for both is aggregated (remember the
We want to tell Tableau to disaggregate the household and grade levels variables. In other words, we want to introduce an extra level of granularity, or detail to our visualization. To do so, drag the District dimension into the Detail shelf of the Marks card. Now a real scatter chart will appear in the charting area. If you hover over points, you will see all three values associated with these points.