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How to Make a Bump Chart in R

Visualize rankings over time instead of absolute values to focus on order instead of the magnitude of change.

The bump chart is a line chart variant that focuses specifically on ranks over time instead of absolute values.

The advantage of the bump chart is that it’s unaffected by large differences in magnitudes, whereas a standard line chart might find itself with a bunch of lines clustered at the bottom, because of a high-value category. The bump chart instead spaces ranks evenly.

This tutorial starts with a standard time series dataset, and takes you through the steps to make the necessary adjustments.

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About the Author

Nathan Yau is a statistician who works primarily with visualization. He earned his PhD in statistics from UCLA, is the author of two best-selling books — Data Points and Visualize This — and runs FlowingData. Introvert. Likes food. Likes beer.