New in 8: Treemap Bar Charts

on January 28, 2013

Treemaps aren’t new – they’ve been around for a few decades, and yet they remain a powerful and compact way to visualize hierarchical and part-to-whole relationships. Tableau Public 8.0 has them, too.

What isn’t so common, however, is a way to create multiple interactive treemaps and easily arrange them into a bar chart for comparative purposes. Say hello to treemaps in Tableau Public 8.0!

But why not just embed everything into one treemap? Why put separate treemaps side-by-side in a bar chart? Let’s consider the following example of cash and debt carried by the Top 50 US Companies by market cap:

Now, as most of us have come to realize, cash and debt are two very different things. Furthermore, they don’t sum up to anything particularly meaningful in this context because companies have other line items on the balance sheet such as inventory and assets. Comparing the overall amount of cash and the overall amount of debt is interesting, though. And what more accurate way to compare two values than to use a bar chart?

This way of visualizing the data allows the following questions to be answered with accuracy and speed:

  1. Do the top companies put together have more cash or more debt? By how much?
  2. Of the top companies, which industries have the lion’s share of the cash (and separately, the debt?)
  3. Within each industry, what are the top cash (and debt) holding companies?

It’s slightly more difficult to examine one particular company – whether it has more cash or more debt – because the rectangles are embedded in separate treemaps and have different lengths AND widths. A tornado chart similar to the original version of this visualization would facilitate a single company comparison, so for this reason the overlapping data table appears when a company box is selected.

Next week Max Marboeuf will be looking at Bubble Charts.

Check out additional 'New in 8' features

Part 1: Freeform Dashboard Design
Part 2: Floating Dashboard Content on Maps
Part 4: Bubble Charts
Part 5: Word Clouds
Part 6: Javascript API Pt. 1
Part 7: Groups, Filters and the Marks Card
Part 8: Javascript API Pt. 2


Did Tableau Public add comments without mentioning it? Or did I just miss the announcement?

Nice stuff Ben. It makes me happy! ;)


Hi Shawn! Thanks for the comment. We've been allowing comments on the Tableau Public blog pages for a while now, but really haven't made any announcements about it. Good to know that this was news to you - we'll get the word out.