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July 18, 2018

Financial Times Visual Vocabulary: Tableau Edition

We're all in the never ending search for resources that will help us pick the "best" chart for the situation. The Financial Times Graphics team created the Visual Vocabulary to help all of us make better chart choices.

Over the past month, I've been building all of these charts in Tableau so that everyone in the Tableau Community would have examples they could use and learn from. This has been quite the labor of love and I would like to thank the (best) team at The Information Lab for their support, reviews and feedback along the way.

There are 72 charts in total, most of which I built myself or with help of tutorials from the community. To build the violin plot, equalized cartogram, and heat map examples, I prepared the data in Alteryx and the output was shape files. The scaled cartogram was built using Tilegrams by Pitch Interactive based on this tutorial from Ken Flerlage.

While the people listed below may not have been the original creators of the charts, they are the resources I used to create the charts in my workbook.

Diverging Stacked Bar Steve Wexler Data Revelations
Surplus/Deficit Filled Line Jeffrey Shaffer Data +Science
Violin Plot Ben Moss YouTube / Alteryx App
Sunburst Chart Leonid Golub Super Data Science
Arc Chart Ken Flerlage
Venn Diagram Leonid Golub Super Data Science
Radar Chart Adam McCann Dueling Data
Scaled Cartogram Ken Flerlage
Sankey Diagram Leonid Golub Super Data Science
Chord Diagram Noah Salvaterra DataBlick

How to use this workbook

  1. Start on the Visual Vocabulary tab.
  2. Click on the text in any section to get to the chart types associated with that topic.
  3. To go back to the beginning, click on the Visual Vocabulary tab (NOTE: I'll add dashboard navigation buttons once Tableau releases that feature.)
  4. You should be able to swap your data out for any chart type fairly easily.
  5. Give credit to the creator of the chart as appropriate.
  6. If you want to see how that charts are built, email me and I'll we can have a chat.

This has taken up a tremendous amount of my time, so I would appreciate it not being downloaded and then re-posted as if it's your own work. If you see someone has done that, please tweet me with a link to the person/page that has done so and I'll take it from there. Feel free to show these charts to customers and prospects to show the capabilities of Tableau. 


  • This is NOT meant to be an exhaustive list of charts that can be built with Tableau. This is based on the charts created by the Financial Times for the Visual Vocabulary.
  • Actions are quite slow to respond on Tableau Public. If you download the workbook, it's much more responsive. 
  • There's a mobile version as well.
  • Images of each set of charts can be found on Google Photos.

If you find what I've created useful, please share a link to this blog post to them. Any feedback you have is very much appreciated. Click on the gif below for the interactive version. Enjoy!


  1. Andy - would you be willing to share this workbook again? I see it's not downloadable from Tableau Public. It's fantastic and I'd love to dig more into it.

    1. Hi Jules. Check out the description on Tableau Public.