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Visualizing Survey Data

Online class

Visualizing Survey Data using Tableau

February 27 and March 1.  Click here for details. 


Click to download Tableau’s white paper on visualizing survey data.

Click to download completed survey data workbook from online class.

Click to download PowerPoint, packaged workbooks, and source files for 2014 Tableau Conference presentation on visualizing survey data.

Watch the presentation on visualizing survey data from the 2014 Tableau Conference.

Click to download PowerPoint, packaged workbooks, and source files for the 2016 Tableau Conference presentation on visualization survey data 2.0.

Watch the presentation on visualizing survey data 2.0 from the 2016 Tableau Conference.

Also, here is a consolidation of the various blog posts I’ve written on visualizing survey data.

General Survey Considerations

Getting Survey Data “Just So” A review of how and why survey data should be formatted a certain way

Getting Survey Data “Just So” Using EasyMorph How to use EasyMorphto get survey data in an optimal format

Getting Survey Data “Just So” using Tableau 10.x How to use Tableau 10.x’s pivot feature and ability to join different data sources to get survey data in an optimal format

Getting Survey Data “Just So” Using Alteryx How to use Alteryx to get survey data in an optimal format

Getting Survey Data “Pretty Close” with Tableau 9.x Use the 9.0 pivot feature and data blending to get the data set up

Using Qualtrics’ Web Data Connector How to use Qualtrics’ web data connector with Tableau

The Second Thing You Should Do When Working with Survey Data Once you get the data “just so” you should do this.

Using Tableau to Visualize Survey Data — Part 1  A look at typical survey data and what you need to do to make it work well with Tableau. This post dated, but still useful.

Using Tableau to Visualize Survey Data — Part 2 Connecting to data and dealing with different question types (Yes/No, Check-all-that-apply, Likert scale). This post is very dated.

Using Tableau to Visualize Survey Data — Part 3 Dealing with multiple memberships for respondents. This post is dated, but still useful.

Intra-question analysis  Cut and filter any question by any other question.

Dealing with Survey Tools that Don’t Code Check-all-that-apply Questions Correctly How to deal with survey tools that code 1s and blanks instead of 1s and 0s. Qulatrics users, this is for you.

When Filtering Produces Too Few Responses What to do when extreme filtering reduces the number of responses so much that the results are statistically meaningless.

How Many People Selected 1, 2, 3 … N Items? And what did they choose? Very useful technique for finding some surprises in check-all-that-apply questions.

Working with Weighted Survey Data How to modify your formulas to deal with weighted responses.

Showing Percentages? Lookout for these pitfalls  Two very useful techniques to combat Tableau’s auto-sizing axes.

Statistical Significance  How to show that changes from a previous period are statistically significant.

Likert Scale and Divergent Stacked Bar Visualizations

Likert Scales — The Final Word? Step-by-step instructions on the best way to visualize Likert scale data

Visualizing Importance vs. Satisfaction Both use Likert scales and both have to be shown at the same time to be able to make comparisons. Here are several approaches.

Guns, Gantt Bars, and Divergent Stacked Bar Charts Another good case for divergent stacked bars

Likert vs. Likert on a Scatterplot Finally, a good use for packed bubbles to show how responses to one question compare with responses to another question.

Visualizing Net Promoter Score data Using a divergent stacked bar chart with NPS overlap to make the data clearer

Visualizing Sentiment and Inclination Dealing with different sentiment scales (NPS, Likert, Top 3 minus Bottom 3, etc.) and showing sentiment and inclination over time.

Don’t Ignore the Neutrals! Dealing with polarized survey responses and the importance of highlighting neutrals (or lack thereof.)

Benchmarking and Visual Ranking

I’ve Got the Jitters (and I Like it!) Using a jittering technique with benchmarking data

Boxes, Whiskers, and Jitters Making box-plots easier to understand

Visual Ranking within a Category Technique to show how responses rank when broken down by different dimensions


All Politicians Lie, Some More than Others A recasting of a New York Times infographic

Mostly Monthly Makeover — Masie’s Mobile Pulse Survey A look at some visualizations from the MASIE center and suggestions on how to improve them

Mostly Monthly Makeover – Utah State University Survey of Student Engagement A look at survey results from Utah Stage University and suggestions on how to improve them

 Posted by on September 12, 2013  Add comments

  21 Responses to “Visualizing Survey Data”

Comments (19) Pingbacks (2)
  1. I second Keith, this is very valuable and a big help. Only problem is that its too bad that Tableau doesn’t have reshape for the Mac version yet. Eagerly waiting for version 9 release. Maybe that’s why I like Xmas more this year … it will be 2015 sooner.

  2. Do you have the workbook where you show the NPS Score calculations and layout mentioned in your whitepaper?

    • Trudy,

      NPS is just a special case of doing a Likert visualization with a divergent stacked bar chart. I would build a viz where the detractors point to the left and the promoters to the right, and I would superimpose the NPS as a circle chart. I would also argue that showing the neutrals is very valuable. I’ve receive a lot of requests about this so I will blog about it and post a workbook — I just need to create dummy data that fits the bill.


  3. Thank Steve. A blog would be great!. In the meantime, I will take a stab at what you described. Thanks for your help. All your other workbooks and examples have been extremely helpful to me!

  4. Do you have any tips on displaying the results from open ended comment questions? Right now I just print out all the comments and hand them to management. Any help on this is appreciated.

    • Anthony,

      Funny you ask as I’ve been looking into this and am less than delighted with what I’m finding.

      You need a way to group / bucket / linguistically normalize open text responses. From the little research I’ve done the tools are either expensive, time-consuming, or both.

      My clients currently us

      SPSS Modeler

      Hope this helps.


  5. Thanks steve for sharing knowledge. Can you please give me some hints how to create the drop down (quick filter) to pick the type of graph to visualize in the view. something you show in your video

    • Moussa,

      I’m not sure what you need. Can you specify which video and at what time in the video I mention this?



  6. Hi steve,
    I was able to download the presentation, so I got it now. Instead of having the top box on the top of graph, I’m trying to have it in a separate column to the right and the divergent bar char to the left but just cant do it. I would like some hints please.

  7. Moussa,

    Don’t have it as a dual axis chart; just have two separate charts and for the second chart (the top box chart) make sure there’s nothing controlling colors as it will force a different circle for each color.

    If you are still stuck, can you send me the packaged workbook, or perhaps we can do a screen sharing session?


  8. Steve,
    I did what u said but scores are kind of spread. I want them all to align as a column intead having .14 more aligned to the right than .08. the box scores are using the horizontal axis

  9. Okay, if you want all the scores to be lined up in a column create a field called “one” that has a value of 1; then place MAX(one) next to the divergent stacked bar chart. Use a Circle chart and then put the Top Box on label.

  10. Steve,
    You a genius. it is working but how to make it closer to the end of the bar char?

  11. Steve,
    I changed the 1 to (-9), I think it is close enough. Steve thanks for all. You make my day!

  12. Hi Steve,
    I’m doing something similar to you “Check All Break Down” with the sample size next to the wording but because I use too many filters some of members of wording may not show up in some cases. I tried to used SHOW EMPY ROWS but the samples sizes are repeated in each row.

  13. Hi steve,
    Any reference about highlighting or in Bold the max in a row. I set a calculation value to “1” and drag it to color but did not work
    VAR1 VAR2 VAR3
    CATA 15 20 30
    I want to highlight the max value 30

  14. Hi swexler,

    Could you Please share Examples for Data Preparation for Tableau with different scenario’s by using Alteryx Reporting Tool.


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