How do I display incidence frequency in tableau

So, you are interested in displaying the frequency of a specific type of event over time.

For example, what if each of my orders isn’t making a profit for me and I would like to show the frequency of each of these orders rather than showing the sum total of profit for each week

If I were to show the total of the profit over time, I might show something like this

Profit Chart.png

But, the issue is that this shows the total of the week but doesn’t show the frequency of the loss making orders.

Now, I can do that by something like this



Now, that is definitely a better way to present the data for incidence frequency.

However, in my experience with my customers, I have seen that a more useful way to represent the data is if I split up each of the bars to show individual orders, clearly marking orders are profit or loss making.


This will create a chart that shows a box for each order rather than a bar


How do I create this incidence frequency chart?

Step 1. Drag and drop of time dimension on columns and use the relevant time slice. I am using Week of Order Data

Step 1. Time series

Step 2. Drag and Drop the Measure. I am using Count Distinct of Order Ids

Step 2

Step 3. Add order ID to detail to lower the granularity of my viz and change the mark type to “Bar” from “Automatic”

Step 3. Change the granularity

Step 4. Add the Profit Making dimension to Color and make your formatting changes

Step 4. Slice it by Profit/Loss


If you already have some bar charts, an easy way to to check if this approach works for you is by just adding a dimension like order ID to your detail to see this works for you.

Now, if you are to use this approach of splitting the bars to various boxes, be aware that you are increasing the granularity of your visual.

The resources consumed by the Tableau visual platform are co-related with the granularity of the visual, so please use this when it makes sense.


Here are few of the charts that I build and giving you a perspective of what this will look like


Have fun building some incidence frequency charts

Published by

Lovekesh Babbar

Speaker on topics related to data, analytics and digital transformation