How to create a Tableau Bump Chart with a background

How to create a Tableau Bump Chart with a background

Do you remember the popular bump chart named “Car Colour Evolution” by Matt Chambers, the Tableau Zen Master? His amazing data visualisation of the car’s colour in North America between 2000 and 2015 made a pretty good impression worldwide and even was nominated for 2016 Viz of the Year. His chart emphasised, even more, the importance of ranking the data and how to see all the changes in time.   

Find out more about this popular chart here.  

All data analysts, business leaders and data masters who use Tableau know that this software offers many creative possibilities to visualize and understand data in a few minutes using intuitive drag & drop products. Anyone can combine multiple data visualisations to obtain better insights, can measure your analytics and take better business decisions after interpreting them.  

Why create a Bump Chart?  

If rankings are your top priority right now and you need to communicate the changes between them, then the bump chart is the best solution. Thus, you will be able to visualize a progression of values and dimensions in time and make comparisons with the previous statuses. Long story short, a bump chart will help you compare 2 dimensions with values in time for best data visualisation. 

Creating the Bump Chart with a background 

If you want to add more clarity to your chart map, we advise you to add a background to it. Follow the steps bellow and you can visualize your data as in the preview: 

Let’s see what are the steps for creating a Bump Chart with a background. First, you need to open a new worksheet in Tableau.  

Step 1: Connect to data 

→ In Tableau Desktop,  connect to Tableau: Sample Superstore 

Step 2: Create View 

  1. Create a calculated field: Rank 

RANK UNIQUE (sum([Sales]))   

    2. Create a calculated field: Rank + 0.5 

[Rank] + 0.5  

   3. Create a calculated field: 1 


   4. Drag Rank + 0.5 and Rank on Rows 

   5. Select Dual Axis 

   6. For Rank + 0.5, drag Category on Text 

   7. For Rank + 0.5 Compute using: Category 

   8. From Marks select Line 

   9. For Rank, drag Category on Detail, Min(1) on Size, Rank on Color 

10. For Rank Compute using: Category 

11. From Marks, select Gantt Bar 

12. Drag Quarter([Order Date]) on Columns and select Discrete 

Also, in case you need, here is the video to watch the entire process: 

Enjoy creating Bump Charts! 😊 

Article and video created by Eduard Arhire, Data Analyst at btProvider.  

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