Tableau sparklines are very small line charts, usually drawn without axes or coordinates. It presents the general variation in values trended over time, in a simple and highly condensed way. Tableau sparklines are small enough to be embedded in text.  While the typical chart is designed to show as much data as possible, and is set off from the flow of text, Tableau sparklines are intended to be succinct, memorable, and located where they are discussed. 

Tableau Examples of Sparklines

Here’s a simple example of Tableau Sparklines: 

Tableau Sparklines

How to Display Sparklines in Tableau

  1. To create Tableau Sparklines, Drag Order Date to Columns.  Set it to be Exact Date from the drop down arrow. 
  1. Place Product Category on the Rows shelf. 
  1. Place Order Quantity after Product Category on Rows. 
  1. Hold down the ctrl key, click on Order Date from Columns, and drag a second instance over to the Filter shelf. 
Sparklines Tableau
  1. Click the drop down arrow and set it to be a range of dates.  Set the range to be 10/1/2011 through 12/31/2011.  Click Ok. 
Tableau Examples of Sparklines
  1. Use the Size shelf on the Marks card to thin your line down. 
  1. Remove the axes by right clicking and unchecking “Show Header.” 
  1. Right click on the chart itself and click Format.  Then click the borders icon above the Rows tab in date pane at the left. 
  1. Remove the column dividers by setting them to none. 
  1. Hold down the Ctrl key, click Order Quantity on Rows and drag a second instance of that to the right on Rows. 
  1. Click the Label shelf on the Marks card and select the Line Ends option, and checking the “Show Mark Labels” option at the top. 
  1. Title the chart “Last 90 Day Volume.” 
  1. To get the circles to appear, click the Color icon on the Marks card, and select the middle icon.   
Tableau Sparklines in Table
  1. You can also change the color of the line if you wish. 

Note: To create the different colored dots requires making it a dual axis chart with synchronized axes, and a calculation to get the color that you want. 

Tableau Sparklines are just one of the many chart options you can use to make your Tableau viz look like a pro. To help you improve your Tableau skills, we have created a Tableau course for you. Our highly-specialized trainers will fly to your organization and teach you one-on-one.