2019 Week 21: Profitability & Sales Dot Plot

One of my favorite chart types is a dot plot/strip plot.  There’s something really special about dots displayed across a single horizontal or vertical axis.  They tend to work really well when you’re showing a lot of data and have the advantage of being able to compare spread and density across different categories within a dimension.  To enhance the dot plot, I wanted to take some time for this workout and try out a few additional data encoding techniques.  The real “use case” of this particular visualization showing manufacturer sales & profitability by sub-category may not be the best translation, but I’m confident there’s a business use case out there for this chart!

So for the workout this week, you’ll be asked to add on additional encoding and enhance the dot plot beyond the default.  You’ll have the size of the dot represent Sales and use color in 2 different ways: first to re-encode Profit Ratio and also as a way to demonstrate the top performer within a Sub-Category.  You can expect some common design elements from me – including dynamic tooltips based on the data, upper case words, and non-default headers.

click to view on Tableau Public



  • Dashboard size: 1200 x 1300; you choose the # of sheets
  • Create a dot plot that shows Profit Ratio and Sales by manufacturer and sub-category
    • Profit Ratio on the X-axis and on color
    • Sales on size
    • The top performing manufacturer within each sub-category should have a black bottom-half to and label
  • Watch out for the tooltip flavor text on the top performers
  • Color scale is Color Brewer Red, Yellow, Green (-1 to 1) – if you don’t already have it, download via Jacob Olsufka’s Tableau Public
  • Create headers for the sub-categories that extend into the data area
  • Add on a Region filter and ensure your headers match the data when you filter
  • Sort the data appropriately (sub-category by profit ratio)
  • Match any final formatting/tooltips (I went pretty easy on you this week!)

This week uses the superstore dataset for Tableau 2019.1.  You can get it here at data.world


When you publish your solution on Tableau Public make sure to take the time and include a link to the original inspiration.


After you finish your workout, share on Twitter using the hashtag #WorkoutWednesday2019 and tag @AnnUJackson@LukeStanke@lorna_eden, and @curtisharris_!

Track Your Progress

Also, don’t forget to track your progress using this Workout Wednesday form.


1 thought on “2019 Week 21: Profitability & Sales Dot Plot”

  1. Hi Ann,
    it took some time to figureout the semicircle graph… but i eventually i figured it out…

    What hit me in the face was the in-graph labels… i had been trying many angles, but never got what i was looking for…

    At last, i said – “ok, lets use a second sheet – but i don’t like it” – I still don’t like it, but lerned something new on dashboard structure 🙂 – super happy

    Happier still when i saw it was your solution also

    Here’s my shot:


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