Arc Chart Tableau Tutorial



After years of using Tableau, I was finally given a use case that would allow me to create an Arc Chart; I always strive to build the best visualization for the client’s requirements. The client wanted to visualize the number of issues that were being escalated from each level. In this tutorial, I will go through the steps to create an Arc Chart.


Our data set will consist of:

Step Start Point End Point Path Escalations
A to B 1 2 1 10
A to B 1 2 181 10
A to C 1 3 1 4
A to C 1 3 181 4
A to D 1 4 1 2
A to D 1 4 181 2
A to E 1 5 1 1
A to E 1 5 181 1
B to C 2 3 1 5
B to C 2 3 181 5
B to D 2 4 1 2
B to D 2 4 181 2
B to E 2 5 1 1
B to E 2 5 181 1
C to D 3 4 1 4
C to D 3 4 181 4
C to E 3 5 1 2
C to E 3 5 181 2
D to E 4 5 1 4
D to E 4 5 181 4

Copy and paste this into Tableau and look at the data.

Note: We could have used the left and right functions to isolate the level and then use Calculated Fields to work out the Start Point and End Point, but for simplicity we I will include this in the data set. But if you want to try, use something like IF LEFT([Step],1) = “A” THEN 1…

Calculated Fields

We will create a Path (bin) object by:

  • Right click on Path
  • Go to CreateBins…
  • In Edit [Path] set the Size of bins to 1
  • Click Ok


Create the following Calculated Fields by as follows:

Index: INDEX()-1


WC_End Point: WINDOW_MAX(MAX([End Point]))

WC_Start Point: WINDOW_MAX(MAX([Start Point]))

WC_Step Size: ([WC_End Point]-[WC_Start Point])/2

WC_Escalations: WINDOW_MAX(MAX([Escalations]))

X: ((COS([Index]*[WC_PI]/180))*[WC_Step Size])

Y: SIN([Index]*[WC_PI]/180)*[WC_Step Size]

Now that we have all the Calculated fields, we will now go about building our worksheet.

The Worksheet

Let’s start by dragging our Calculated fields onto the worksheet:

  • Drag Step onto Detail Mark
  • Drag Path (Bin) onto the Details Mark
  • Drag X onto Columns
    • Right click on X, select Compute Using and choose Path (Bin)
  • Drag Y onto Columns
    • Right click on Y, select Compute Using and choose Path (Bin)
  • Change the Mark Type to Line
  • Drag Index onto the Path Mark
    • Right click on Index, select Compute Using and choose Path (Bin)
  • Drag WC_Escalations onto the Size Mark
    • Right click on WC_Escalations, select Compute Using and choose Path (Bin)

You should now see the following:


Ok, we are not quite there yet, but we are getting there.

  • Edit the X Calculated Field by changing it to:
    • ((COS([Index]*[WC_PI]/180))*[WC_Step Size])+[WC_Step Size]+[WC_Start Point]

This will shift the half circles and will give you the following:


And we are done, at least from a technical perspective.

Now do the following:

  • Remove Gridlines and other lines, so that we get a white background
  • Fix the x-axis to be from 0.75 to 5.25
  • Hide the X and Y Axis
  • Add some tooltips
  • Add Labels underneath the visualisation in a dashboard

In the end, hopefully, you will have something that looks like this.


This type of chart can be used to highlight:

  • Time spent at each stage of a manufacturing process
  • Drop-offs on during an online sales process
  • Visitor drop-offs for views on a website

I hope you enjoyed following this blog and, as always, let me know your comments below, or on Twitter at @thoang1000


Toan Hoang

About Toan Hoang

Toan Hoang is a technology enthusiast with a broad understanding and appreciation of most aspects of technology but with a passion for Business Intelligence Solutions and Technologies, Data Management and Web Programming.

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