How to create a parallel coordinates plot

parallel coordinates

In this new #skillpill video, you will learn how to create a parallel coordinates plot. Parallel coordinates are very useful when analyzing very large datasets. They allow you to compare multiple series and numeric variables. Values will be plotted as lines that are connected to an axis.

Each axis can have a different scale, as each variable works off a different unit of measurement, or all the axes can be normalised to keep all the scales uniform.

For this Tableau viz, Anamaria Brinaru used the Global Superstore database. Learn more about how!

If you want to create your own parallel coordinates plot, here are all the steps you must take.

Step 1: Connect to data

→In Tableau Desktop, connect to Global Superstore data provided by Tableau.

Step 2: Create a graph

Create a calculated field named ‘Sales Normalized’:



Create a calculated field named ‘Profit Normalized’:



Create a calculated field named ‘Shipping Cost Normalized’:

(SUM([Shipping Cost])-WINDOW_MIN(SUM([Shipping Cost])))/

(WINDOW_MAX(SUM([Shipping Cost]))-WINDOW_MIN(SUM([Shipping Cost])))

Create a parameter named Analyze by: with the following properties:

Data Type: String

Allowable Values: List

List of values: Country, Customer and Sub-Category

Create a calculated field named Column Used:

CASE [Analyze by:]

WHEN ‘Country’ then [Country]

WHEN ‘Customer’ then [Customer Name]

WHEN ‘Sub-Category’ then [Sub-Category]


Add Measure Names on the filter (select only the 3 Normalized fields previously computed) and on columns

Add Measure Values on rows and choose line as mark type. Add Measure Values on rows and choose circle as mark type

Right-click on the second Measure Values pill → Dual Axis. Right-click on-axis header → Synchronize Axis

Place Column Used field on Marks → All → Detail

Right-click on each field placed on Measure Values card → Compute using → Column used

Right click on Analyze by parameter → Show parameter

Add SUM(Sales), SUM(profit) and SUM(Shipping Cost) on Marks → All → Tooltip

Add Measure Values on Marks → All → Color

From Marks, → All → right-click on Column Used field → Show Highlighter

Happy data analysis!

Here is the Viz on Tableau Public>

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