Slope charts are good to compare categorical data across a few points in time. Although they are similar to line charts, the main difference between them is that slopes work best with two or three points in time and, most importantly, that their axes don’t start at 0.
Slope charts are made up of axes representing the points in time and lines that represent the series in the data. The start and the end points of each line are positioned on the axes based on their value and the line is the connection between these two points.
Slope charts show data through the steepness and direction of the lines. The more acute the angle of a line, the more drastic the change. The direction of the line reveals if the values are increasing or decreasing.
You can split series by categories and color them differently, or you can add a filter and show a subset of your data.
- Show change over limited periods of time (2-3 axes)
- Reveal hidden trends within the data by comparing precise data points
- Discover sharp increases and decreases between series
To build a slope chart, you need a CSV, Excel or Google Sheets file with your data. To use this chart, you need a column with the labels of each of your series, like columnbelow. Then, you need as many columns as axes on your chart, like and below. We recommend sticking to 2-3. Any additional categories you want to use for coloring or filtering should be in separate columns.
The Flourish “slope chart” template also supports auto-setting of columns in the Data tab – an exciting feature that interprets the dataset you upload, works out the data type each column includes (this could be text, numbers or dates) and automatically binds columns under the most appropriate settings. Read more about this in our blog.
Slope charts in Flourish have three modes:
Score: this shows the absolute values on your data. Thus mode is good to show general trends and for spotting outliers.
Ranks: this orders the values on your dataset from highest to lowest, or vice versa, and plots them following this order. This mode is good for showing top and bottom players in your data.
% change: this mode calculates the percentage change between the values and positions the dots on the second axis according to that value. This mode is good to show drastic changes in the data.
Here are some examples of what our customers have created with the slopes template. Click on each card to learn more about each project.
Here are some resources to help you get started with slopes: