The Visual Computer

, Volume 34, Issue 6–8, pp 1087–1098 | Cite as

Cross-table linking and brushing: interactive visual analysis of multiple tabular data sets

  • Rainer Splechtna
  • Michael Beham
  • Denis Gračanin
  • María Luján GanuzaEmail author
  • Katja Bühler
  • Igor Sunday Pandžić
  • Krešimir Matković
Original Article


Studying complex problems often requires identifying and exploring connections and dependencies among several, seemingly unrelated, data sets. Those data sets are often represented as data tables. We propose a novel approach to studying such data sets using linking and brushing across multiple data tables in a coordinated multiple views system. We first identify possible mappings from a subset of one data set to a subset of another data set. That collection of mappings is then used to specify linking among data sets and to support brushing across data sets. Brushing in one data set is then mapped to a brush in the destination data set. If the brush is refined in the destination data set, the inverse mapping, or a back-link, is used to determine the refined brush in the original data set. Brushing and back-links make it possible to efficiently create and analyze complex queries interactively in an iterative process. That process is further supported by a user interface that keeps track of the mappings, links and brushes. The proposed approach is evaluated using three data sets.


Visual analytics Interactive visual analysis Multiple data sets analysis 



This study was funded by BMVIT, BMWFW, Styria, SFG and Vienna Business Agency in the scope of COMET (854174).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (wmv 33514 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.VRVis Research CenterViennaAustria
  2. 2.Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  3. 3.VyGLab Research Laboratory, DCICUNSBahía BlancaArgentina
  4. 4.University of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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