Tableau Tips - Volume 7 "Walking the Lines"

This installment of Tableau Tips focuses on tips for creating reference lines, average lines, constant lines and trend lines in Tableau.
Click on images below for full screen

#10 - Adding a Reference Lines

This one is straight forward, just click on the Analytics tab and drag Reference Line onto the canvas. This works for anything listed on the Analytics tab. You can also Double Click to add a Reference Line, but in this case it will add both a horizontal and vertical reference line.

#9 - Remove Reference Line by Dragging Off Canvas

Click and drag any line off canvas to remove it.

#8 - Remove Reference Line by Using Delete Key

You can also use the delete key to delete reference lines and average lines, but note that this does not work with trend lines.

#7 - Add Average line

Just like Tip #10, but when double clicking on Average Line you will notice that you only have one horizontal line instead of two lines.

#6 - Add Constant Lines

Dragging constant lines onto the canvas is a quick way to add them and the value can be entered without clicking into Edit.

#5 - Multi-Select Lines for Quick Formatting

You can multi-select lines by holding the CTRL Key down while selecting each line. Once they are all selected you can format the color and font together.

#4 - Remove Confidence Bands

Trend lines can be very useful, but often times the confidence bands clutter the view. These are easy to remove under the Edit Trend Line Options and unselecting the "Show Confidence Bands" option.

#3 - Recalculate Trend Line

Under the same Edit Trend Line Options and selecting the "Show recalculated line for highlighed or selected points" plots and additional trend line when selecting or highlighting points, but still shows the overall trend line. Unselecting simply shows the overall trend and does not recalculate another line.

#2 - Overall Trend Line and Trend Line per Color

Under the same Edit Trend Line Options and selecting the "Allow a trend line per color" will plot a trend line for each color being used on the marks card instead of an overall trend. When unselected this shows the overall trend off all the points.

#1 - Trend Lines per Color and an Overall Trend Line

Tip #2 is really helpful, but there may be times where you want to show trend lines by color and also include an overall trend line. To do this, duplicate the field and change the trend line on the secondary field to show only the overall trend line, but leave the original field to "Allow a trend line per color". Then create a Dual Axis. This allows separate formatting for each of the trend lines, so we can make the overall trend line a thicker line or different color or style.

I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any questions feel free to email me at Jeff@DataPlusScience.com

Jeffrey A. Shaffer
Follow on Twitter @HighVizAbility