Working with tree-based hierarchies using data.tree

Lately I tried to visualize an hierarchy with Tableau Desktop. The problem was that the hierarchy had a variable depth because it was tree-based. Each row had an id and a parent_id. Normally hierarchies in Tableau are defined by pulling some fields together, such as product category, product group and product id.

Handling tree-based hierarchies seems to be a lot more complex. I found a plugin at but this only works online.

So I asked myself how I can handle this using R. I found the R-package data.tree at I want to describe how I use this package to preprocess my data.

Using R 4.1.0 and R 4.0.5 on MacOS using RSwitch

Lately R version 4.1.0 was released on CRAN (see

The MacOS version was one day late. But yesterday it was released, too. So I wanted to test the new version without being able to go back. “No problem”, I thought “I’m already using RSwitch”. RSwitch is a tiny Mac program which allows you to switch between installed R versions.

But unfornately RSwitch told me that R version 4.0.5 was incomplete after I’ve installed version 4.1.0.