Waterfall Chart | Create a waterfall chart in Excel

Waterfall Chart

Waterfall Chart are one of the Excel charts that are available in Excel 2016. Waterfall Chart also known as Bridge charts or Bridge Graph or Stock Chart. This chart provide a quick view of positive and negative values over a period of time. Some waterfall charts connect between the columns to make the chart look like a bridge while the other leave the columns floating.

Waterfall chart are helpful while visualizing large amount of data. You can use Waterfall chart while evaluating profits, Comparing earning, Keep track of inventory, Demonstrating cost changes over a period of time, etc. The features of Waterfall chart are: Floating Columns, Spacers, Connector Lines, Color Coding, Crossover.

Waterfall charts are mainly used by large industries, big companies. They keep a track on the present performance of the employees or the workers. Waterfall charts are simple format that present data in an impact manner.

Waterfall charts are easy to make and understand but they face few challenges as well. Some of the challenges are: there are a lot of unnecessary data on the chart, you cannot create a vertical excel waterfall chart, do not allow subtotals.

Creating a Waterfall Chart in Excel 2016 is easy because it is in-built, however for creating a waterfall chart in Excel 2013 or earlier version you need to follow few steps:

Note: Once you prepare a dummy column you can easily make waterfall charts in Excel.

Waterfall Chart Excel 2013

Step 1: Create a simple table with positive and negative values. Here in our example Subsidy will be deducted as it is provided by the government.

Waterfall Chart - Data Example

Step 2: Create a dummy column

1. For Material phase we do not need a base as it is the starting column in the chart. So here the dummy column will be 0.

2. For labour the dummy column will show 75000 as we need to add 200000 above 75000. So the gap between the Horizontal axis and the column would be 75000 when we have to add to the total cost.

3. For Overhead the gap will be 275000 we will add 400000 above 275000.

4. For Subsidy the gap will decrease to 630000 as it is provided by the government and we need to deduct it from the total cost.

5. Total cost is the column which is seen after adding or subtracting the various phases. Total cost column won’t be floating.

Waterfall Chart - Dummy Example

Step 3: Select the dummy column along with cost and Phase column.

Waterfall Chart Example

Step 4: Insert a Stacked column chart for the table selected. Click on Insert and in the Chart Group Selected Stacked column from the column chart drop down.

Waterfall Chart - stacked chart

Step 5: The Blue color in the Stacked Column is the dummy pillar which we need to format.

Waterfall Chart - stacked chart example

Select the blue color column. Right click and select format data series. Click on No Fill and No border option in the fill and border option respectively.

Waterfall Chart - format Data series

Step 6: We see that the start and the end column are not floating.

Waterfall Chart Example 2

Step 7: We will highlight the Negative value as red in color. Subsidy in this case will be red in color because it is deducted from the total cost. Add data label to the top of the column to read the chart quite easily. Right click on the column and Select Add Data Labels

Waterfall Chart in Excel

Waterfall Chart Excel 2016

However in Excel 2016 Waterfall chart will be directly inserted without having to carry the above steps.

Step 1: Select the data.

Waterfall Chart Example

Step 2: Go to the Insert tab, Chart group, select Waterfall chart.

Waterfall Chart Excel 2016

Tip: Customize your chart by using the Design and the Format tab. Click anywhere inside the Chart to activate the Chart tools.

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