Waterfall Chart in Excel(Table of Contents)
Waterfall Chart in Excel
In Data Visualization we have different kind of charts like Pie charts, Bar charts, line charts etc. One of the Visualization charts that is available in Excel is a Waterfall chart.
Waterfall chart, the name itself tells us that it looks like a waterfall. This chart also has another name called “Flying bricks chart” as the chart looks like bricks flying in the air. After viewing the examples, you will understand why it is called as “Waterfall” or “Flying bricks” chart.
Waterfall chart helps to explain the cumulative effect of how the growth or reduction happening over a period of time. Let’s see an example of a waterfall chart to understand better.
How to Create Waterfall Chart in Excel?
Waterfall Chart in Excel is very simple and easy to create. Let understand the working of Waterfall Chart in Excel by some Examples.
Waterfall Chart in Excel Example #1
Let’s take the example that “XYZ” company which want to know, how the sales accumulating month by month from the initiation of business for a period of one year and also want to analyze how sales fluctuating each month.
Below table shows the sales generated each month for a particular year.
Now we need to add accumulated sales to current month sales to know the current month accumulation. For example 15000(Jan)+16500(Feb)=31500 is the total sales by the end of February similarly you can add the 31500(Sales up to Feb)+17000(March sales)=48500 is the total sales by end of March.
Performing accumulation in Excel
First, copy the Jan sales in the first cell of accumulation as shown below.
Later insert the formula for addition of January sales to February sales in the accumulation row under February column as shown in the below screenshot.
The Formula gives the result as:
Now copy the formula to all other months as shown in the below screenshot so that we will get the accumulated sales of each month.
Creating the chart
Now select the entire data range go to insert >charts >column >under column chart > select Stacked column as shown in the below screenshot.
You will get the chart as below
Now we need to convert this stack chart to waterfall chart with the below steps.
Select the chart or bars and right click you will get the pop-up menu from that menu select “Select data” option.
When you click the “Select Data” one menu will pop up as below. Click on “Accumulation” and then click on “up arrow” as marked with red color.
Then the chart will convert as below. The blue color appears on the up and orange appears at the bottom.
Now select the orange bars and do a right click, Click on “fill” option available, select “No fill”. So that orange bars will change to white color (colorless).
Now the chart will look like the below picture.
Select the total bar alone and fill some color as your wish then it looks like below.
If you observe the chart it looks like water falling from up to down or “flying bricks” that is the reason it is called a waterfall or flying bricks chart.
If you want to see the sales of each month in the chart you can add the values to the bricks. Select the blue bricks and right click and select the option ”Add Data Labels”.
Then you will get the values on the bricks, for better visibility change the brick color as light blue.
Double click on the “chart title” and change to waterfall chart.
If you observe, we can see both monthly sales and accumulated sales in the singles chart. The values in each brick represent the monthly sales and the position of the brick with respective the values in the left axis represents the accumulated sales.
Waterfall Chart in Excel Example #2
Let’s take the example of fluctuation of the share price of “ABC Ltd” for a week.
Column “Start price/End price” represents the starting and ending price of the share for the week. 500 is the beginning price and 545 is the ending price.
The column “Price” represents the share price by end of the day (If the share price increases the change will add to the last date price and vice versa). Column “UP” represents the growth in share price. The column “DOWN” represents the falling of the share price. The column” Fluctuation” represents the amount of increase or decrease of share price on a particular day.
Now select the data excluding the last column “Fluctuation” and create a chart as described in the previous process then the chart will look like below chart.
The green color bar you can consider as “Base” hence you can make the color as “No fill” then you will get the waterfall chart with a combination of colors.
As described in the previous, add the values to the chart.
If you want to decrease or increase the gap between two bars or want to perform any other changes as per your project requirements, then you can do that by selecting the bars and right click then select “format data series”.
You will get the menu on the right side, change the gap width as per your requirements.
You can also select the pattern in the background by selecting “Format Plot Area”.
Under Format Plot Area go to fill and Select “Pattern fill” and Select the first pattern as shown in below screenshot.
Then your chart will look like below screenshot.
We can also change the thickness of gridlines by selecting the grid lines option as shown below.
By clicking on Format Gridlines a pop-up menu will appear under that go to “Line Color” and Select “Solid Line” and also select the fill color as shown in below screenshot.
You can observe the thickness of lines has changed from the previous screenshot to the current screenshot.
Like this, you can do a little makeover to look your waterfall chart more attractive.
Pros of Waterfall Chart in Excel
- It is easy to create with little knowledge in excel.
- One can view the monthly and accumulated results in a single chart.
- The chart will help to visualize both negative and positive values.
Cons of Waterfall Chart in Excel
- When we send to users who have Excel version apart from 2016 they may not able to view the chart.
Things to Remember
- Gather the required data without errors.
- Apply formulas to get the accumulated balance in any one column as it should have accumulated a balance.
- One column should have start and End values.
- Select the data and apply a stacked bar chart.
- Apply “No Color” to the base.
- Add required formats as you wish to look chart better
This has been a guide to a Waterfall chart in Excel. Here we discuss its uses and how to create Waterfall Chart in Excel with excel examples and downloadable excel templates. You may also look at these useful functions in excel –