How to Create a Tableau Scatter Plot

Published: May 1, 2024 - 3 min read

Julian Alvarado

Scatter plots are powerful methods for visualizing data because they offer quick insights into the relationship between two numerical variables.

Creating an insightful scatter plot in Tableau can uncover trends, patterns, and outliers in your data. This guide walks you through the process, from preparing your data to customizing your visualization for impactful insights.

Tableau Scatter Plot: Getting Started

Before diving into Tableau, it’s essential to understand the journey of your data. Teams often update spreadsheets or databases to keep data fresh.A few considerations for a smooth data visualization process include:

  • Ensuring Data Compatibility: Make sure your new data aligns with your Tableau workbook’s setup and dashboards.
  • Updating Calculations and Relationships: Adjust calculations, parameters, filters, and relationships for the new data source.
  • Automating Updates: Utilize tools like Coefficient to routinely refresh your data, ensuring it’s always ready for analysis in Tableau or spreadsheets.

Coefficient seamlessly integrates your source spreadsheets in Excel or Google Sheets with your broader data ecosystem, including Tableau.

Selecting the shape option for scatter plot creation in Tableau.

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Now, let’s create a scatter plot in Tableau.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: Creating a Basic Scatter Plot Graph in Tableau

Creating a scatter plot in Tableau allows you to visualize the relationship between two continuous variables, enhanced with customization options for color, text, size, and shapes.

Follow along with the video for a detailed walkthrough.

Step 1. Inserting a Scatter Plot

Navigate to the workspace, and select the ‘Shape’ chart option.

Dragging Sales and Profit fields for scatter plot analysis.

Step 2. Inputting Data Fields

Drag and drop two continuous values: Sales and Profit into the workspace.

Assigning categories to colors in the scatter plot.

Step 3. Categorizing Data

To visualize categories by color, drag the ‘Category’ field to the color option.

 Drilling down into details using Ship Mode for nuanced insights.

Step 4. Drilling Down with Details 

Enhance your scatter plot by adding the ‘Ship Mode’ to the detail box to see the data at a more granular level.

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Customizing label appearance for clearer visualization.

Step 5. Adding and Formatting Labels

Drag ‘Sales’ to the label field for displaying sales figures on the scatter plot.

Customize label formatting by selecting format options to adjust the display of the sales values.

Enhancing scatter plot clarity with size and shape adjustments.

Step 6. Adjusting Sizes and Shapes

Increase or decrease the size of the marks for better visualization.

Then, explore more shapes for differentiating data points.

Assigning custom arrows for trend visualization in the scatter plot.

Step 7. Customizing with Arrows

Assign custom arrow shapes to emphasize direction or trends within the scatter plot.

Assign custom arrow shapes

Tips and Tricks for Perfecting Your Tableau Scatter Plots

  • Start with Clean Data: Ensure your dataset is clean and well-structured before you begin. This will save you time in the long run and lead to more accurate visualizations.
  • Utilize Color Wisely: Use color to highlight differences between categories or to show density when data points overlap.
  • Employ Tooltips Wisely: Make the most out of tooltips to provide additional information on hover without cluttering your scatter plot.
  • Customize for Clarity: Don’t shy away from adjusting sizes, shapes, and labels to make your scatter plot as clear and informative as possible.
  • Explore Trend Lines: When applicable, add trend lines to your scatter plots to easily identify patterns and relationships.
  • Iterate and Experiment: Don’t hesitate to try different configurations. Sometimes, the best insights come from iterating on your visual design.

Master Tableau Scatter Plots

Learning how to create scatter plots in Tableau is a valuable skill for analyzing and presenting data. By following the steps and tips provided, you can create effective scatter plots that provide meaningful insights.

Ready to leap further into data visualization? Try Coefficient for free today to  Start today for free!.

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Julian Alvarado Content Marketing
Julian is a dynamic B2B marketer with 8+ years of experience creating full-funnel marketing journeys, leveraging an analytical background in biological sciences to examine customer needs.
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