Can you label & sort small multiples?

A colourful #WOW2022 challenge this week set by Kyle Yetter and using his favourite data – Baseball. Let’s jump straight in.

Building the required calculations

First up we need to calculate the core measure the viz is based on – % of wins

Win %


I formatted this to 3 decimal places, then applied a custom number format to remove the leading 0 (custom number format looks like ,##.000;-#,##.000).

We also need to know the number of losses as this is part of the tooltip.


SUM([Games]) – SUM([Wins])

Let’s pop all these out into a table (I formatted all the whole numbers to display without any decimal places).

The viz however isn’t plotting the actual Win%, it’s plotting the difference from 50% (or 0.5), so values less than 50% are negative and those above are positive.

Plot Postion

[Win %] – 0.5

And we also need to know whether the Win% is above 50% or not

Above 50%

[Win %]>0.5

Pop these out onto the table too

The viz also displays the overall Win% for each team, and also uses this to sort the data. As it is used for sorting, we need to use an LoD calculation (rather than a table calculation).

Overall Win% LOD

{FIXED [Team]:SUM([Wins])} / {FIXED [Team]: SUM([Games])}

for each team, get the total wins, and divide by the total games for the team. Format this to 3 dp with no leading 0 as before.

pop this into the view (you’ll see it’s the same value for each row for a single team), and then apply a Sort on the Team field to sort descending by the Overeall Win% LOD.

Now we have the data sorted, we can create the fields needed to build the trellis chart.

I have already blogged challenges relating to trellis charts / small multiples (see here) which in turn reference other blogs in the community, so I’m not going to go into all the details. We just need to build two calculated fields to identify which row and which column each Team will sit in. The table is fixed at 6 columns wide as the data wea re using is static. Some solutions work with a more dynamic layout depending on how many entities you need to display. We’re keeping things simpler.





Add both these fields to the table as discrete dimensions (blue pills), and as they are both table calculations, set them both to Compute Using – > Team.

Building the Core Viz

On a new sheet, add Cols to Columns as discrete dimension, Rows to Rows as discrete dimension and Team to Detail. Set both Rows and Cols to Compute Using Team.

Add Year as continuous (green) pill to Columns and Plot Position to Rows and change the mark type to Bar and reduce the size. Sort the Team field based on Overall Win% LOD descending.

Add Wins, Losses, and Win% to the Tooltip shelf and adjust the tooltip to display as required. Add Above 50% to the Colour shelf (you may need to readjust the size). Leave the colours as they are for now – we’ll deal with this later.

Adding the labels

Create a new calculated field

Dummy Plot

FLOAT(IF [Year]=2000 OR Year = 2020 THEN 0.35 END)

This is basically going to position a mark at height 0.35 but only if the year is either 2000 or 2020. These values were all just based on a bit of trial and error as to what worked to get the desired result.

Also create a field


IF [Year]=2000 THEN [Team] END



IF [Year]=2020 THEN [Overall Win % LOD] END

format this to 3dp and exclude the leading 0.

Add Dummy Plot onto Rows and change the mark type of this measure to circle. Amend the Tooltip of this marks card so it’s empty.

Add LABEL:TEAM and LABEL:Win% to the Label shelf, and adjust the label so both fields sit side by side (only 1 value will only ever actually display). Adjust the table calculation of both the Rows and Cols pills so they now compute using both the Team and the LABEL:Team fields.

Adjust the alignment of the labels so they are positioned bottom centre. Set the font colour to match mark colour and bold.

Then reduce the size of the circle mark to as small as possible, reduce the opacity of the mark colour to 0.

Now make the chart dual axis and synchronise the axis. Remove the Measure Names field that has automatically been added to the All marks card.

Hide all the headers and axis (uncheck Show Header), remove all grid lines, zero line, axis rulers.

Hide the null indicator (bottom right).

Colouring by Team

Copy the colour palette text Kyle provided into your preferences.tps file (usually located in the My Tableau Repository directory). For more information on working with custom colour palettes see this Tableau help article.

You’ll need to save your workbook and re-open for the new palette to be available for use.

In order to prevent having to manually set all the colours (and believe me you don’t want to do this!), perform the following steps in order

  • Add Team to also be on the Colour shelf. Click on the 3 dots (…) that are to the left of the Team pill on the All marks card, and change it to Colour. This means there are now 2 fields on colour. Move the Team field so it is listed above the Above 50% pill. This means your colour legend should be listed as <Team>, <True|False>
  • Adjust the Sort of the Above 50% pill, so it is manually sorted to list True before False.

  • Now change the Sort on the Team field so it is sorted alphabetically ascending instead. This will cause the viz to change its sort order, but don’t worry for now. It also changes the list on the colour legend, so ARI, True is listed first then ARI, False etc.

  • Now edit the Colour Legend and select the new MLB Team Colours palette we added. Click the Assign Palette button to automatically assign the colours. As we’ve made sure the entries listed are in the right order, they should get the correct colours.

  • Change the Sort on the Team field back to be based on Overall Win% LOD descending

And that should be it. You can now add the viz to a dashboard and publish. My published version is here.

Happy vizzin’!



Can you create a common starting point?

Kyle set the challenge this week, revisiting his favourite topic – baseball. The aim was to build what I’ve often referred to as a ‘rocket chart’, as it charts progress from a single ‘launch’ date/point. However having had a quick google, I can’t see any other reference to this being used for this type of chart….no idea where it came from <shrug>.

Anyway, the requirement was to compare the profiles of when home runs (HRs) had been accumulated over the course of a player’s career, restricting to just the players who are in the all-time top 10. These players hadn’t necessarily played during the same years or even decades, so there was a need to baseline the information according to the days since they started. Kyle also threw in the requirement that this was to be an LoD based challenge only, with no use of table calculations.

Build the basic chart

As mentioned above, we first need to ascertain how many days have passed between when the player hit their first home run, and the subsequent dates. We use a FIXED LoD to work out the minimum date per player

Min Date Per Player

DATE({FIXED [Player] : MIN([Date])})

And with that we can the work out the number of days that have passed

Days Since Min Date

DATEDIFF(‘day’,[Min Date Per Player], [Date])

And with this, we can quickly build out the main crux of the chart. Add Days Since in Date to Columns, and change to be a continuous dimension. Add Career HR to Rows and amend the aggregation to use AVG rather than SUM, as I found there looked to be duplicate records for some dates for the same player. Add Player to Detail.

Colouring the lines

Kyle provided a custom colour palette to use based on the team colours of the player. I updated by preferences.tps file with this data, and closed and reopened Tableau Desktop to ensure it picked it up. For more information on working with custom colour palettes see this Tableau help article.

Along with the player colours, we also need to identify which player has been selected.

For that we need a parameter to define who the selected player is


string parameter using a List where the values are added from the Player dimension. this causes the default to be set to Albert Pujols.

Show the parameter on the display.

We can now create

Is Selected Player?

[Player] = [pPlayer]

which will return a boolen true/false.

Kyle stated that we should be able to set the colours without having to manually click against every Player|T or F combination.

Now I managed this when I first built my solution, but in writing this blog and trying to replicate the steps, I’m not getting the same behaviour. So I have managed to come up with another way. The gif below hopefully demonstrates, but I’ll list the steps too.

Move the Player pill from Detail onto Colour

Edit the Is Selected Player field to just return True (use // to just comment out the original calculation)

Add Is Selected Player to the Detail shelf, then click the detail icon to the left of the pill and change it to Colour. This is a way to get multiple pills on the Colour shelf. Dragging will just replace the field being used for colour.

The colour legend dialog box should display a list of <Player>, True entries (if the legend isn’t displaying go to Worksheet > Show Cards > Reset Cards – you may then have to add the parameter to the display again).

Edit the colour legend, select the MLB HR Top 10 colour palette and click Assign Palette. This will automatically assign the relevant colour to each entry, since they were added based on alphabetical order.

Re-edit the Is Selected Player field, so it is back to [Player] = [pPlayer].

The entries in the colour legend will now only list one <Player>, True entry and the rest all false.

Edit the colour legend, and multi-select (ctrl-click) all the False entries, and then select the lightest shade of grey from the Seattle Grays palette. This should give you the desired display.

Select Alan Rodriguez from the parameter control. Both Albert, False & Alan, True should now be coloured. Edit the colour legend again and manually set the Albert Pujols, False entry to the same grey shade.

Now if you select any other player, only 1 line should be coloured, and it should be coloured to the corresponding player’s colour.

Setting the Tooltip

Add Season HR to Tooltip and change the aggregation to AVG. Add Date to Tooltip too and set it to be an Attribute. Amend the tooltip accordingly.

Adding the highest season HR indicator

Firstly we need to determine what the maximum Season HR value is per player

Max Season HR Per Player

{FIXED [Player]: MAX([Season HR])}

With this, we then want to get the corresponding Career HR value for that same time.

Career HR | Max Season HR

IF [Season HR] = [Max Season HR Per Player] THEN [Career HR] END

Add this field to Rows and change the aggregation to Avg.

Set to Dual Axis, Synchronise Axis and then set the mark type to Circle. Adjust the size of the circle mark slightly if need be.

Labelling the lines

On the Line marks card, add Player and Career HR to the Label shelf. Adjust the aggregation of Career HR to Avg. Edit the label, so only line ends are labelled. Adjust the font size to something quite small, and set the colour to Match Mark Colour.

Finally remove all gridlines, row & column dividers, and hide the axis. Title the chart.

When added to a dashboard, I then used a floating text object for the introductory text and positioned the parameter as a floating object underneath the text.

My published viz is here.

Happy vizzin’!


Can you make a hexbin map?

Sean Miller was back this week to set this challenge to recreate a ‘rat sighting’ map using hexbins. I’ve only used hexbins in other #WOW challenges, so needed a bit of a refresher (the previous challenges pre-dated my own blog, so I couldn’t use myself as a reference). A quick google for ‘tableau hexbins’ and I found a variety of articles that provided the refresher needed.

Sean also used the opportunity to apply some other crucial skills – adding custom shapes and custom colour palettes, which I recommend is the first step you do in completing this challenge.

Adding custom shapes

Download the hexagon shape provided by Sean, and then save it into a folder in your …My Tableau Repository\Shapes directory. I have a folder called ‘Custom’ where I place random shapes I need. This post will help you out if you’re having difficulty with any of this.

Adding custom colour palette

Open a text editor such as Notepad, then open the preferences.tps file that is located in your .. My Tableau Repository directory. Copy & paste the block of code provided by Sean between the opening and closing <preferences> tag. Save the file and close the text editor. This post will help if you’re having trouble.

Building the map

The provided rat sighting data set contains a Longitude and Latitude value for every rat sighting since 2010.

Hexbins provide a way to group (bin) these Lat & Long values together. The size of the bin is typically determined by a parameter, so lets first set this up


integer or float parameter which I set to a default value of 250 (Sean didn’t specify the value he’d used, but trial and error suggested to me this looked ‘about right’).

Now we can build the bins


(HEXBINX([Longitude]*[pRatio], [Latitude]*[pRatio])) / [pRatio]

Edit the geographic role of this field to be mapped to Longitude (right click on field -> Geographic Role).


(HEXBINY([Longitude]*[pRatio], [Latitude]*[pRatio])) / [pRatio]

Edit the geographic role of this field to be mapped to Latitude.

Add HexbinX to Columns and HexbinY to Rows. Modify each field so that it is a continuous dimension.

Change the mark type to Shape and select the hexagon shape you saved earlier.

Add the auto generated ‘count of dataset’ (Count of Rows) field to Colour, and adjust the colour to use the OrRd-5 palette you added earlier. Ensure to set the palette to Reversed.

Set the Tooltip so it doesn’t display anything on hover, and add Borough to the Detail shelf (this is needed for the interactivity later). Hide the nulls indicator that displays in the bottom left (right click -> hide).

On the Map menu, select Map Layers, and set the background style to dark.

Using the map controls, zoom in and pan to the left slightly, so the coloured area is mainly central and there’s less ‘sea’ at the bottom. It’s likely that you may need to adjust further once you’ve placed the map on the dashboard. But before publishing, we want to turn the map controls off, to prevent a user from shifting the display (Map -> Map Options -> uncheck all options).

Building the Bar Chart

On a new sheet, add Borough to Rows and Count of Rows to Columns. Add Borough to Filter and exclude Null and Unspecified. Sort the rows descending. Adjust the colour to suit.

Show mark labels, but only display the max & min values. Format the Count of Rows pill so the labels are displayed in K to 2 dp.

Hide the axes, right align the row label headings, adjust the tooltip. Hide the column heading. Remove zero lines and axis rulers. Set the background colour of the worksheet to ‘None’ (ie transparent).

Further formatting is required, but this is best done after the sheet is added to the dashboard, as you’ll lose visibility of the text at this point.

Creating the dashboard

Add the map to a dashboard, and remove all the additional containers/legends etc that are added, and the sheet title. Then add the bar as a floating object and position bottom left. Fit to entire view. Edit the title so it contains the ‘on hover’ instruction and format in light grey font.

Now you can format the row labels, the row headings and the gridlines to be appropriate colours – light grey rather than white.

Add a dashboard highlight action that on hover of the bar chart, highlights data in the Map

Then add floating text boxes and add the title and description. I ended up adding a text box just containing the OH, and then another position just below containing RATS! and then the description, as otherwise the carriage return between OH & RATS! made the spacing too wide. I used the controls on the layout tab to ensure both text boxes were positioned at the same x-coordinate.

Hopefully, you should now have a beautiful looking viz. My published version is here.

Side note – When I first started building this I tried from memory, and didn’t quite get things right. I then adjusted various fields as described above, but when I then tried to add the Count of Rows to Colour, I was only ever getting a value of 1 against each bin. I double & triple checked all the calcs and couldn’t see any issues. It was very weird. I simply ended up closing down my workbook and starting again from scratch and all was fine. I’m just letting you know this in case you too come across any oddities during your build, and things don’t behave as expected. It meant, what was ultimately quite a straight forward build (once I got the calcs right), ended up involving more time and head-scratching than really required 😦

Happy vizzin’!