Create a Waterfall Chart using Excel

Waterfall Charts in Excel show the increase or decrease in values towards a total. They are great for showing contributions to a total, while also providing the ability to see a trend to the contributions.

Waterfall charts are often referred to using other names. These may include Mario Chart, Bridge Chart or Flying Bricks Chart.

Enter the Waterfall Chart Data

The first step to creating a waterfall chart is to enter the data for the chart to use. The image below shows the data being used by the waterfall chart in this tutorial.

The element values are the sales revenue of each product, and the base values is a running total of the revenue. The base values are used to create the white space below each column in the chart.

Enter the waterfall chart data
Enter the waterfall chart data

Create a Waterfall Chart

After entering the data the next step is to create a simple stacked column chart and perform some modifications to turn it into a waterfall chart.

1.  Select the required range of cells to chart (in this example cell range A2:C6)

2.  Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon, click the Column button and select the Stacked Column

If using Excel 2003 or previous, click the Chart Wizard button on the toolbar, select Column and then Stacked Column and click the Finish button

A stacked column chart in Excel
A stacked column chart in Excel
Remove the fill colour from the base values
Remove the fill colour from the base values

3.  Click the Layout tab under Chart Tools on the Ribbon

4.  Click and Legend button and select None to remove the chart legend

5.  Click on the Gridlines button, select Primary Horizontal Gridlines and then None to remove the gridlines from the chart

6.  Right click on the Base Values data series and select Format Data Series

7.  Select Fill from the categories on the left and then No Fill from the options available

8.  Select the Element Values data series

9.  Click the Data Labels button on the Ribbon and select Inside End from the list

10.  Move the data labels above each column

The finished Excel waterfall chart
The finished Excel waterfall chart

The Excel waterfall chart is completed. Further modifications can be made as desired. It is quite popular for people to close the gaps between the columns. The rest is up to personal preference.

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2 comments

supplies expert profile image

supplies expert 5 years ago

very useful, thanks for walking me through these steps!


Alex 4 years ago

Hey,

the company I'm working with has developped a tool allowing you to generate a waterfall chart for Excel in one click! It may interest some of the readers of this article. The tool is called UpSlide, and there's a free online version (you enter your data and receive the waterfall chart by email), the website is called www.waterfall-chart.com

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