When showing trends over time, we usually use line charts to display a time series of data.

I will explain how to create another approach using points, using some scatter plot for times series and enclosing the points for each time period. This approach will help if you want the reader to focus and compare multiples series for each time period.

As an example to guide us through, I will use the data from #MakeoverMonday (Same-sex couples and sexual relations), and try to end up with something similar to what Mark Bradbourne achieve with the same dataset.

Steps to create it on Tableau

1 – After loading the data to Tableau, we can go and create a new sheet. – You need to move both the date variable to Columns and the Value into Rows, in this case “% of acceptance”. Be sure that the date is set as discrete.

2 – Next step will be to split the line into the multiples series we want to compare. In this case, we will divide by age range, dragging the age variable into “Color”. After that change the “Mark” to Circles.

3 – Now, we are ready to start creating the lines that will enclose the points. We will begin duplicating the existing chart and setting its “Mark to Line. In order to copy the chart, hold CTRL and click and drag your values to the right.

Drag the variable we have in colour to “Path”. This will create a straight line connecting each point for the same time period.

4 – We are reaching the end of the process. Next, we will combine the two charts into one. We will achieve this right-clicking in the right field within Rows, and selecting “Dual Axis”.

Now move the right field in the rows to the left, so the points are displayed in front of the lines.

Synchronize the axis, right-clicking in the right one, and after that, you can hide the axis as we will no longer need it.

5 – Now we only have to change some settings such as size for the points and lines.

You will need to play around until you find the setting that you like. Be sure that the line encloses the points. Try to choose a light filling colour for the lines.

Thanks a lot for reading, hope it helped and leave any comment if you feel like it.

Jose Valero