Introduction: Strip Plot

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Get to know your data without hiding critical details: the Strip Plot

There are numerous chart types to help us determine the main properties of a distribution (like central tendency, spread and form). The most popular ones are histograms, frequency polygons and box-and-whisker plots.

The challenge with these kind of charts is the fact they group your data in such a way it potentially could hide important features. Histograms and frequency polygons are extremely sensitive to the bin-size you select as user. The box-and-whisker plot is only applicable when you have a bell-shaped distribution, but becomes useless in case of a multimodal distribution.

The Strip Plot is a chart type that addresses these challenges by not aggregating any of the data points, but by simply showing each point individually. This will not only show you where the (concentration of) observations are, but also where gaps are between subsequent observations.

Key features of the Strip Plot are:

  • Choose an object for your data points: Data points can be displayed by either a round dot, a triangle or a line;
  • Format the objects: Each of the data point objects can be formatted by selecting a fill and stroke color. Also the size and opacity of the objects can be set;
  • Multiple series: the user can display one or multiple series (distributions) by adding a Category variable;
  • Change the Details: The column placed in the Details field determines at which detail level the objects are displayed;
  • Large number of data points: The Strip Plot can display up to 30,000 data points;
  • Selection & Highlighting: Like in standard Power BI Charts you can make use of the Selection & Highlighting functions within the Strip Plot;
  • Context menu: Like in standard Power BI Charts you have access to the context menu to Include/Exclude data points;
  • Full tooltip support: Besides the default Tooltip behaviour (show the value of the element you hover) you can also add additional feeds to the tooltip.

How to use: Fields

Of the four fields you need to specify at least the first three fields, being: Axis, Values and Details. The last field (Tooltips) is optional. 

  • Axis: Here you add the field(s) containing the categories you want to place on the y-axis. If you place multiple fields here you can drill through the different fields as if they were levels of a hierarchy. You can also use any hierarchy you already have in your data set;
  • Values: This is where you specify the measure as it will be displayed on the x-axis. The value of this measure will determine the location of each category marker on the y-axis scale. By default it will SUM all the values per category, but you can also select any of the other aggregation functions (like Average, Minimum, Maximum, Count, etc.);
  • Details: This filed allows you to specify the level of detail you want to show in the chart. For each unique element in the data (here: product name) a marker will be shown at its corresponding value.
  • Tooltips: The fields added here will shown in the tooltip when the user hovers a specific data point.

How to use: Format

Besides the standard Format Sections there are a number of additional Format Sections that allow you to change the default behaviour of the visual:

  • Paid Features: here you can switch on the Paid Features and fill your license details. The sections called “Data colors” and “Shapes” are only available when the Paid Features are turned on.
  • X-Axis: the formatting options for the x-axis (value axis) are similar to the options available within the Clustered Bar Chart (standard Power BI visual). These familiar options allow you to change the visibility and formatting of the x-axis elements (like: begin and end values, display units, decimal places, grid lines, etc.)
  • Y-Axis: the formatting options for the y-axis (category axis) are similar to the options available within the Clustered Bar Chart (standard Power BI visual). These familiar options allow you to change the visibility and formatting of the y-axis elements (like: title, labels, grid lines, etc.)
  • Data colors: within this section you can change the color of the marker itself (=Default Color) and the edge of the marker (=Stroke).
  • Shapes: Here you determine the kind and properties of the marker. First you can select the Marker shape: Bar, Circle or Triangle. With Thickness you can set the width of the edge of the marker, and with Size the size of each marker. Finally, you can change the Opacity of each marker. This is especially helpful when you have a lot of markers grouped together.

For any questions or remarks about this Custom Visual, please contact us by email at Nova Silva Support.

Next Tutorial: how to use the Strip Plot
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