How to create a Sunburst Graph in Tableau

Summer is here and even though it doesn’t feel like a true summer yet, we thought to write a thematic blog post, more precisely about how to create a Sunburst Graph in Tableau. When working with data, analytics and excel spreadsheets, you have in mind many rows, columns and numbers. 

Tableau, as a data visualization tool, comes as completion by giving you the possibility to create charts and graphs to help you understand those numbers you see in Excel. You can make your data better, explore with more purpose and deliver the right trends, key messages and data analysis to those interested. 

Data will always have a story to tell, that’s why is essential to understand its unique language and use the right tool. As a Premier Partner for Tableau Software in Romania, we contribute to the expansion of data culture in companies for better decision making by understanding raw data, descriptive analytics via interactive reports and dashboards, delivered by Tableau.

Back to our Sunburst Graph. What is it used for?

To visualize hierarchical data structures

It is made by a central circle surrounded by other rings

The central circle represents the top of the hierarchy

You can better observe categories and lineages

Its structure is beautiful and simple to follow

Sunburst Chart Tableau

This Pie Chart can be a great representation when used in the right context, for example to illustrate the numerical proportion of a whole. In order to create a Sunburst graph in Tableau, please follow these steps:

Step 1: Connect to data

In Tableau Desktop, connect to Superstore sample data provided by Tableau.

Step 2: Create the visualization

Create a Calculated Field named Position with the Formula: MAKEPOINT(0,0)

Double Click on the Position to add generated Latitude and Longitude.

Change the Mark Type to Pie then add Sales to Angle and Category to Colour.

Drag Position onto the Map to create a New Layer named Subcategory and name the other one Category.

Change the type to Pie Chart.

Add Category to Colour and Click the Plus sign to show the Subcategory and change the type into Colour.

Add Sales to Angle

Remove the Latitude and Longitude and change the view to Entire View.


As an optional choice you can separate the Pie chart by adding another layer between the first two, change its type to circle, make it white and adjust its size to create a separator.

If you would like to see the total value of the Sales, you can add another layer onto the top of the others, change its type to circle, change the colour to white and add Sales to Label

Also, watch the video tutorial here:


Now you know how to create and use this aesthetic chart to please your eyes, but also very useful in understanding data hierarchies.

Article and video created by Ana-Maria Scarlat, Data Analyst at btProvider.  

Find more about Tableau, here: