A Waterfall chart (sometimes called a Bridge chart) shows a running total over a period of time as values are added or subtracted. Often this is used to show the net balance over a series of months or years as income and expenses are accounted for.
Each type of column (revenue, expense and balance) on the waterfall chart are colour coded. Normally, the balance is rooted to the horizontal axis while the income and expense figures float.
1. How to set up the data for a waterfall chart
Consider the following balance sheet data:
In between each balance figure there can be one or more positive and/or negative values which represent the activity between each balance point.
2. How to create a Waterfall Chart
1. Select a single cell in your data to select the entire range or select the specific data range you wish to use.
2. Click the Insert tab |
3. Click the Waterfall, Funnel, Stock, Surface, or Radar Chart icon in the Charts group, then choose Funnel.
Alternatively, click Recommended Charts | All Charts tab | Waterfall.
Your initial chart will look similar to this:
4. Right-click the last balance column and choose Set as Total. This resets it back to zero (the baseline).
5. Working right-to-left, repeat the previous step for every BALANCE column on the chart.
6. To remove the intermediate labels between each balance, while retaining the columns, click twice (slowly) on each data label then click Delete.
Your chart will now look similar to this.
The tall grey bars that are grounded on the axis are the cumulative totals. The blue and orange bars in between are the positive and negative events that happened in between.
3. How to change the colours of a waterfall chart
1. On the Page Layout tab, click the Colors button in the Themes group..
2. Click Customize Colors at the bottom.
3. Accent 1, Accent 2 and Accent 3 are the most important as these correspond to the three main colours on the Waterfall chart. Set your preferred accent colours.
4. Type a name for your custom theme.
4. Click OK.
4. Other embellishments for waterfall charts
It is always worth checking out the Chart Styles and the Quick Layouts on the Chart Design ribbon for different configurations and better arrangements of the data..
5. What next?
Please feel free to post any questions you have into the comments below. And before you leave this page, I want to give you one quick little action item!
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