How to make a waterfall chart
Waterfall charts are useful for showing part-to-whole relationships where some of the components are negative. Also known as "floating bar" or Mario charts, column elements are positioned relative to each other to show cumulative changes.
We've added a special mode for waterfall charts to our core Line, bar, pie template so you can create them just as easily as a typical column chart.
Most commonly used with financial data, they can help communicate changes over time or break down data into categories, for example, calculating profit by adding incomes and subtracting costs.
To create a waterfall chart,
- Start from any Line, bar, pie visualization and select Column chart (waterfall) from the Chart type dropdown .
- Add your data to the template. It should have the same structure you would use for a typical column chart: a Labels/time column followed by a Values column.
- Positive values will be added to the total, plotted upward from the previous column, while negative values will be subtracted and move downwards.
TIP: Waterfall charts work best with just one column of values, as it is easier to track how one column relates to the next
- Waterfall charts use totalizer columns to calculate the difference between the last bar and the X axis. This is often the final data column, like in the example above where we added incomes (sales, grants, and rebates), subtracted expenses (payroll and rent), and our totalizer column calculates the difference which is equal to profit.
- To create a totalizer column, add a row in your datasheet that has a label but leave the value cell blank. The template will calculate the difference between the end of the previous value and the X axis and will draw the totalizer column.
- Waterfall charts typically shade positive bars one color and negative bars another, to make it easy for the user to interpret.
- To achieve this, first go to the Colors settings and select the Color mode called By row.
- Now, use the custom overrides box to choose colors for each row in your dataset. In our example, we've colored all positive values in green, negative values in red, and our totalizer column in grey using the following syntax:
Sales: #6fcc88 Grants: #6fcc88 Rebates: #6fcc88 Payroll: #ff4136 Rent: #ff4136 Profit: #666666