Comparisons are one of the most common reporting tasks you may perform as an analyst. Whether it’s comparing between time periods, channels, pages, or products, there always seems to be a need for making comparisons. Comparison is also a fundamental use case for data visualization. Our brains are able to compare visual representations of data much more quickly than, say, a table of values.
One type of visualization that is particularly valuable for showing comparisons is a slope chart. A slope chart compares the change in a metric across multiple categories between two points in time. This could be leads by channel from last month to this month, sessions by browser from last year to this year, or revenue by product from fall to winter. The possible applications are endless!
The slope chart encodes the change in the metric as the slope of each line. An upward slope indicates an increase, while a downward slope indicates a decrease. A steeper slope means a greater change.
To demonstrate the process, we’re going to create a slope chart using this Gaming Platform Revenue dataset. The data shows the change in revenue across mobile, console, and PC gaming platforms from 2012 to 2019. Hence, it’s a perfect use case for a slope chart!
Here’s what we will create:
Read on for a step-by-step guide to creating your own slope chart in Data Studio.
How to create a slope chart in Data Studio
1. Start with a Line chart
Add a new Line chart to your report. Note that the “Line” chart type in Data Studio is different from a Time Series.
2. Select dimensions
In the Data panel of your chart, configure both primary and breakdown dimensions:
- Select a primary dimension that will determine the x-axis values.
- Select a breakdown dimension that will distinguish the individual lines.
For our example, we have selected Year as the primary dimension and Platform as the breakdown dimension.
3. Select metric
Select the desired metric that will determine the y-axis values. For our example, we selected % of Revenue.
4. Add filters
If required, add filters to your chart to include only the relevant values of the primary and breakdown dimensions.
As the Gaming Platform Revenue dataset contains 2012, 2019, and all the years in between, we have added a filter to include only 2012 and 2019 for our comparison.
5. Configure line style
In the Style panel of your chart, adjust the formatting options of each series as desired. For example:
- Set the desired line width.
- Enable “Show Points” to show points at the start and end of each line.
- Enable “Show data labels” to show text labels for each data point.
- Adjust dimension value colours.
6. Configure chart style
Adjust other chart style options as desired. For example:
- Gridline colour
- Axis colour and font size
- Legend position
Those are all the essential steps to creating a slope chart! There is of course much more that you can customize about your chart and report. In our example above, we have added text boxes with a chart title and data source credit.
How will you use a slope chart? Let us know in the comments!
Complete list of posts in our 2019 Data Studio series:
1. 5 More Calculated Fields for Data Studio
2. Using Drill-Down Charts in Data Studio
3. How to Schedule Email Delivery of Reports in Data Studio
4. 4 Scatterplot Hacks for Google Data Studio
5. How to Add Clickable Images in Data Studio
6. Calculating Ratios with Filtered Metrics in Data Studio
7. Using Optional Metrics in Data Studio
8. Using Conditional Formatting in Data Studio
9. Creating Ecommerce Funnels in Data Studio
10. How to Create a Slope Chart in Data Studio
11. Creating Radar Charts in Data Studio
12. Creating Stepped Line Charts in Data Studio