How to Create a Waterfall Chart

by Lee Mason - Updated September 26, 2017
Opening a new workbook

Waterfall charts are a specialized floating chart that show how values increase and decrease. They start with initial values that mark the increase or decrease in a period with a floating column. The next period starts with the ending value and creates a floating chart with that period's increase or decrease. The charts are useful for understanding growth trends and are easy to create in Microsoft Excel.

Open Excel and choose "File>New Workbook." A blank sheet of columns and rows should appear.

Enter the data to be used in the chart. Use the "Format Tab" to format the data as needed for concise understanding (i.e. dollars, number of decimals, units of measure).

The Chart Wizard

Select "Insert>Chart" from the top menu options. A Chart Wizard should pop up.

Choose a column chart and select the custom tab. In this section, scroll down to find a floating bar chart and select this. Click "Next."

Selecting a floating bar chart

Choose the data to be used in the chart by right-click, selecting the information. The Wizard will automatically format it for you and create the chart. Click "Next" to customize the chart unit values on the horizontal or vertical axis, colors or data units. Click "Next."

Choose whether the chart will be included with the data information or exported to a fresh worksheet. Click "Finish" to complete the Wizard and have the chart built.

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