8 Replies Latest reply on Jul 11, 2017 9:16 AM by Alex Hewson

    Grouping multiple dimensions for visualisation

    Alex Hewson



      I'm currently in the process of getting started with my first workbook using Tableau, and trying to wrap my head around it.


      I'm starting small, with a data source based on the performance indicators of 10 prisons in England over the last decade, and I'm attempting to visualise and analyse the data.

      Each report for each prison has four key indicators—Safety, Respect, Purposeful Activity, and Resettlement—and each has an assessment against it. I've been attempting to visualise these indicators but have been hitting a brick wall.


      I would like to have each prison on the x-axis and each year on the y-axis, with a colour depending on the rating for each indicator. Each of the indicators is an individual dimension, and I can only colour for one dimension. These indicators aren't hierarchical, so creating a hierarchy doesn't seem appropriate. I'd like all of the indicators included in the visual, with the option to filter if possible.


      I've attempted to group, create parameters, create a combined field, but none of these appears to give me quite what I want.

        • 1. Re: Grouping multiple dimensions for visualisation
          Alex Aitken

          I've went totally old school here but I'm sure there are better ways to do this.


          I think I would create a calculated field for each of your four dimensions (Purposeful activity, Resettlement, Respect and Safety). Create a case statement to convert the text (poor, not sufficiently good, insufficient progress, reasonably good and good) into relevant number 1,2,3,4,5. (assuming I have the order correct)


          Then create a calculated field (total) to sum the four numbers (per prison) to get a single value between 4 and 20.


          Assign (total) measure to dimensions Prison and Year and you should get a good KPI.

          Colours 1-9 = Red, 10-14 = Amber and 15-20 = Green.

          • 2. Re: Grouping multiple dimensions for visualisation

            Please see attached workbook . is it close , what you are looking for ?


            If so,  I have pivoted your data .  Please see below link about pivoting

            Also, i have made year to discrete . it lets you assign different colors


            Quick Start: Pivot Data from Columns to Rows


            Hope this helps

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            • 3. Re: Grouping multiple dimensions for visualisation
              Michael Gillespie

              Alex, PIVOT is the answer!


              Here's a very similar take to Ari's, but I've color-coded the Rating value rather than the Metric Name.  You can reassign colors as you like.


              I also dropped the values onto Shape, so you can assign a visual cue that isn't color-related (helps for accessibility requirements).  You can change the assigned shape, or even add your own shapes to Tableau.


              There is SO much you can do with this little tiny data set - that's what makes Tableau so much fun!

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Grouping multiple dimensions for visualisation
                Alex Hewson

                Michael and Ari, two extremely helpful replies, thank you so much.


                Michael, I feel like you were closest to what I was trying to achieve, although both solutions require the use of pivot, so I'll definitely look into that in some more detail for future reference.


                Michael one slight issue, given that each report has four indicators, I would expect that all four indicators would show in the visual, but for some reason some of the prisons only show one or two indicators on a given year (and don't show an ellipsis after).


                One other minor point, can I manually sort the Pivot Field Names rather than ascending/descending?


                Thanks so much again.

                • 5. Re: Grouping multiple dimensions for visualisation
                  Alex Aitken

                  Duh, what am I like, I always forget pivot.


                  I couldn't tell which one is Safety and which is Respect in your workbook.


                  I dropped your 'Pivot Field Name' onto colour and that made a lot more sense.

                  I think I would still go with an overall Total so that I just have one icon per prison. If there were 10-20 dimensions then it would get really busy and hard to read.

                  • 6. Re: Grouping multiple dimensions for visualisation
                    Alex Hewson

                    Some trial and error, and a bit of comparing Michael and Ari's solutions has meant that I found my own.


                    Michael, I noticed that Ari had also included Pivot Field Name within the marks as a colour, which I felt was a little confusing. However, by dragging it to the marks panel as a detail all of the indicators appear as they should and are helpfully colour coded.


                    I'm still not quite sure if it's possible to change the order of the Pivot Field Names or Pivot Field Values, but this is a great starting point. Thanks again everyone.

                    • 7. Re: Grouping multiple dimensions for visualisation
                      Michael Gillespie

                      You can change almost anything, starting with the "Pivot Field" column names.  you can do that in the Data Source tab or in the workbook Measures and Dimensions panes - make the names something meaningful for the data set.


                      you can also control the order of the color values in the color legend: just drag and drop to rearrange them as you see fit.


                      Those 2 tips should get you closer to something that meets your requirements.

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Grouping multiple dimensions for visualisation
                        Alex Hewson

                        And a bit more playing around and I've now got them in the order that I want. Perfect!