Silver BlogCreating Powerful Animated Visualizations in Tableau

In this post we explore animated data visualization in Tableau,one of the tool's powerful features for making visualizations appealing and interactive.

By Raji Rai, Data Evangelist

Tableau is a great tool for data analysis and visualization. It has some powerful tools to make the visualizations appealing and interactive. One such awesome feature is animated data visualization. Let us explore how this is achieved through an interesting case study (courtesy: Udemy).


We will be analyzing the World Demographics data (courtesy: Udemy) to understand animated visualization in Tableau. The objective of this analysis is to understand through visualization the change in fertility rate and life expectancy at birth over a period of 53 years, across the globe. Data is country specific, and is further categorized into regions. The time period considered for analysis is between 1960 to 2013.


The first step is to create a basic chart. I have created a bubble chart mapping the life expectancy at birth against the fertility rate for the given population based on different regions.

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In this chart color is used to identify various regions that is divided into 7 categories. Bubble size is used to represent the population. This chart is now showing the overall fertility rate and life expectancy at birth for the entire 53 years period. The same visualization can be transformed into an amazing 5 dimensional animated chart displaying dynamic data over the given time period.

To accomplish this, the required dimension (Year) has to be dragged from the primary data source and placed in the “Pages” grid. Automatically all the Year fields get mapped in the chart. The Year legend appears along with video controls to manage the animation speed and other attributes.

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There are many interesting features that can be added to enhance the animated visualization. One of them is leaving trail in the chart. By selecting the “Show history” check box, user can show a trail of the data over the given time period. By hovering the mouse over each trail point, user can see the demographic information specific to a particular year. This feature is quite handy to mark historic data for selected regions only.

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Annotation can be added to indicate the changing time period in the animated chart. Animation speed can be controlled between 3 levels. It can also be played in a loop continuously. The Tool tip data can be modified to make the chart self explanatory to the user. The chart elements like bubble color and size can be enhanced to make the chart visually appealing. The animated chart is now ready to be added to a dashboard. It can be used to make powerful and impressive presentation as it packs all the required analytic information in one chart.

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During the course of the bubble movement from one year to the next, user can easily see and understand the change in demographics as the bubble size changes. The historic trail further helps to analyse the data clearly.

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This is how simple charts can be transformed to beautiful animated visualizations within a matter of minutes in Tableau.

Bio: Raji Rai (Medium) is a Data Evangelist and a tech-savvy individual with a wide array of interests.

Original. Reposted with permission.