Treemap Charts: Visualizing Hierarchical Data with Nested Rectangles

Treemap Charts stand out in the data visualization landscape for their unique ability to display hierarchical data as a set of nested rectangles. Each branch of the tree is given a rectangle, which is then tiled with smaller rectangles representing sub-branches or leaves. This guide delves into the intricacies of Treemap Charts, their applications, benefits, and guidelines for creating insightful visualizations.

What is a Treemap Chart?

A Treemap Chart is a method of displaying hierarchical data by using nested rectangles. Each rectangle's size is proportional to a specific dimension of the data, often the value it represents, while its color can represent a separate dimension, such as category or performance metric. Treemaps efficiently utilize space, allowing viewers to compare parts of a hierarchy on the same screen.

Interactive Treemap Chart Example

Try our interactive treemap chart example below!

Applications of Treemap Charts

Treemap Charts are versatile and find applications across various fields:

  • Finance and Economy: Visualizing stock market sectors, portfolio allocations, or company financials.
  • Sales and Marketing: Comparing product categories or sales performance across regions.
  • Information Technology: Managing disk usage or analyzing software codebases by module size and complexity.
  • Social Sciences: Demonstrating population distributions, economic indicators, or educational metrics across different demographics or regions.

Benefits of Using Treemap Charts

  • Space Efficiency: Treemaps make excellent use of space, displaying a large amount of data in a compact area.
  • Immediate Insights: The size and color of rectangles provide immediate insights into the data, highlighting trends, anomalies, and hierarchies.
  • Comparative Analysis: Allows for easy comparison of data points within and across categories.
  • Visual Appeal: The colorful and orderly arrangement of rectangles can make complex data more accessible and engaging.

How to Interpret Treemap Charts

Interpreting a Treemap involves analyzing the rectangles' size and color:

  • Size: Larger rectangles represent higher values, making it easy to identify significant data points.
  • Color: Different colors can indicate different categories or performance metrics, such as growth rate or profitability.
  • Hierarchy: The nesting of rectangles illustrates the hierarchical structure, showing how individual parts contribute to the whole.

Best Practices for Creating Effective Treemap Charts

  • Simplify: Avoid overcrowding the Treemap with too much data. Focus on the most relevant levels of the hierarchy.
  • Color Scheme: Use a coherent color scheme to represent different categories or performance indicators clearly.
  • Balanced Rectangles: Strive for a balance in rectangle sizes to improve readability and comparability.
  • Labels: Include clear labels for significant rectangles, but avoid cluttering the chart with excessive text.


Treemap Charts are a powerful tool for visualizing complex hierarchical data in a compact and visually engaging format. By effectively displaying large datasets as a collection of nested rectangles, Treemaps facilitate quick comparison and analysis of different data segments. With careful design and thoughtful interpretation, Treemaps can reveal deep insights into the structure and dynamics of the data, supporting informed decision-making and data-driven storytelling.