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What is Clustering in Tableau?

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

Do you have data that you would like to group together by similar data points? Perhaps when you analyze the data you can't quickly identify any similar patterns. Tableau has a feature called Clustering which will automatically group data points. It also recommends the number of splits or clusters based on your selections.

Here is a simple example of Clustering on a map using the Sample Superstore data set.

With my workbook connected to the dataset I double-click on the State metric to add it to my worksheet. The Latitude and Longitude are automatically added to the worksheet since State is formatted as a geographic location.

Suppose I want to know which states are profitable and have high Sales. I add Sales and Profit to the Detail Marks card for this map.

Now I want to create my Clusters. I click on the Analytics tab in the Data Pane menu on the left hand side.

I see the Cluster is the only option that isn't greyed out for this map.

I click on Cluster and drag it to the canvas. A Create Clusters pop-up menu appears and this is where I can drag Cluster to.

Tableau automatically assigned two clusters for Sales and Profit.

I can adjust this on the pop-up menu by entering a number manually in the Number of Clusters field.

I can also add another variable if I wanted to by dragging it in the Variables field.

If I delete the 4 under Number of Clusters and drag Discount to the Variables field, Tableau changes the number of Clusters to 4.

Now I want to fill the map in to see the Cluster layers better. I go to the Marks Card and change the Chart Type from Circle to Map.

I may need to add the Discount metric to the Detail Marks card, if I want it to display in my Tooltip.

My map will appear as below;

This worksheet is located in my public profile > LINK

What do the clusters mean in this case?

If you click on Clusters, you can scroll down to Describe Clusters which will give you a detailed explanation of each Cluster.

On the Summary tab you can see the break outs below;

So in the Cluster 1 group it looks like they have a high Profit and Sales. Cluster 2 has a high Discount, high Sales and negative Profit. Clustering would help a manager quickly identify states that they need to focus on.

Here is what the Models tab looks like;

Another feature I like to add is a Summary for each metric.

I went to the Worksheet tab and clicked on Show Summary.

This adds the below summary to the worksheet under my legend;

The only issue is when you add this worksheet to a dashboard, the Summary option will be grayed out.

One solution is to take a print screen and add it as an image to your dashboard. Another solution is to create calculated fields and add them to your Title as shown in this link here.

If you would like to learn more on clustering please refer to Tableau's article here.

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