Get More Insights by Visualizing Tabular Data using the Cobblestone Table

I’m always interested in new ways to visualize data, so I was thrilled to discover a method for visualizing tables, which I call a “cobblestone table”.

Imagine you have this table showing percentage of Americans with a certain Myers Briggs personality type (I’m a very rare INTJ). It’s hard to see any patterns in this table because each cell is the same size and shape.

But we can draw more inferences if we convert each cell into a different sized shape based on its value, like this.


Now a lot of insights start jumping out

  • There are roughly an equal number of introverts and extroverts
  • There are about twice as many sensing types as intuiting types
  • Sensing types are also more likely to be judging types (the “J” at the end of the 4-letter type)


I have no idea what this table is called, even after researching it extensively. For now, I’m calling it a cobblestone table because of its similarity to cobblestone paths. But if you know its proper name, please leave a comment below.

Cobblestone tables are complex to make. You will have to use the table tool in PowerPoint to size each column, then create separate shapes and resize them accurately. You’ll also have to use the alignment tools to get them lined up neatly. But they are a great visualization tool for exploring or explaining the data.

I’ll be talking about cobblestone tables, as well as a lot of other types of graphs, in my new book “Storytelling with Graphs”, which I hope to have available in the next month or so. If you’d like to be alerted when it’s available, please subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

7 thoughts on “Get More Insights by Visualizing Tabular Data using the Cobblestone Table

  1. Hi Bruce,

    I love the name and the design of this example, but this is essentially a tree map. ( Hope that’s not a disappointment!

    I love using tree maps in presentation because they are so visual. You can make them with Tableau, but there are a few free online resources for creating them. I usually use, take a screenshot of the tree map, bring it into PPT and then just visually match PPT shapes on top of it.

    I’ve written a bit about them on my site.

    Can’t wait for the new book!

    – Nolan

  2. Wow, what a before/after example! Thank you for sharing this, and Jackie, thank you for sharing Dave Paradi’s tool. I’ll definitely try it.

    Bruce, I’m eagerly waiting for your new book. Congratulations.

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