Excel waterfall graph

Waterfall graph in Excel and Tableau

Lots of people are fond of creating a waterfall graph, but haven't figured out how to do it.

Here's the method that I've found to be simple and effective.  The basics are to first create four series:

A Base series for setting the beginning and ending balances. (blue)
An 'UP' or positive influence to the balance - (green)
A 'DOWN' or negative influence. -- (red)
A series that sets the bottom of the element in the UP or down.  This series is formatted with the border and area set to 'None'.

That's it.  The tricky part is the calculation to determine the number to use in the bottom series.  For the first element, it is simply the beginning balance less the down amount.  Subsequent columns are the prior bottom plus the prior up amount less the current column down amount.

Because I really like Tableau for graphics, I also used it to create the waterfall chart.  Download the Tableau workbook to understand how that was done.

Download Sample Excel Workbook Download Sample Tableau Workbook
Sample Excel Waterfall Chart:  Sample Tableau Waterfall Chart:
Copyright© Brad Earle


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