If you use Excel quite often, you know firsthand about the benefits of charts. Graphical representation of your data turns to be very helpful when you want to make a comparison or pinpoint a trend at a glance.

Microsoft Excel has lots of predefined chart types, including column, line, pie, bar, radar, etc. In this article we will go above and beyond creating basic graphs and have a closer look at a special chart type - the **Waterfall chart** in Excel. You will find out what a waterfall chart is and how helpful it can be. You will know the secret of creating a waterfall chart in Excel 2010 - 2016 and learn about different utilities that can do it for you in a minute.

So let's start brushing up on your Excel skills! :)

First let's see how a simple waterfall chart should look and when it can come in handy.

A waterfall chart is actually a special type of Excel column chart. It is normally used to demonstrate how the starting position either increases or decreases through a series of changes.

The first and the last columns in a typical waterfall chart represent total values. The intermediate columns appear to float, and show positive or negative change from one period to another, ending up in the final total value. As a rule, these columns are color-coded for distinguishing positive and negative values. A bit further in this article you'll know a trick how to make the intermediate columns float.

A waterfall chart is also known as an Excel bridge chart since the floating columns make a so-called bridge connecting the endpoints.

These charts are quite useful for analytical purposes. If you need to evaluate a company profit or product earnings, make an inventory or sales analysis or just show how the number of your Facebook friends changed during that year, a waterfall chart in Excel is just what you need.

Don't waste your time on searching a waterfall chart type in Excel, you won't find it there. The problem is that Excel doesn't have a built-in waterfall chart template. However, you can easily create your own version by carefully organizing your data and using a standard Excel Stacked Column chart type.

Let's create a simple sample table with positive and negative values to understand the things better. I'll take the sales amount as an example. If you look at the table below, you'll see that the sales grow during some months, and they fall during others as compared to the starting position.

Excel bridge chart will be a perfect way to visualize the sales flow over twelve months. But if you apply a Stacked Column chart template to these particular values now, you'll get nothing similar to a waterfall chart. So the first thing you should do is carefully rearrange your data.

You start with inserting three additional columns in your Excel table. Let's call them Base, Fall and Rise. The **Base** column will be a calculated amount that is used as a starting point for the Fall and Rise series in the chart. All the negative numbers from the Sales Flow column will be placed in the **Fall** column and all the positive numbers will be in the **Rise** column.

I've also added the **End** row at the bottom of the Month list to calculate the sales amount for the whole year. Now move to the next step and fill in these columns with the necessary values.

The best way to complete the table is entering special formulas in the first cells in the corresponding columns and then copy them down to the adjacent cells using the fill handle.

- Select cell
**C4**in the Fall column and enter the following formula there:`=IF(E4<=0, -E4,0)`

The formula says that if the value in cell E4 is less or equal to zero, the negative number will be shown as positive and the positive number will be displayed as zero.

**Note.**If you want all the values in a waterfall chart lie above zero, you need to enter the minus sign**( - )**before the second cell reference**(E4)**in the formula. And two minuses will make a plus. - Copy the formula down to the end of the table.

- Click on cell
**D4**and type in`=IF(E4>0, E4,0).`

It means if the value in cell E4 is greater than zero, all the positive numbers will be displayed as positive and the negative ones as zero.

- Use the fill handle to copy this formula down the column.

- Insert the last formula
`=B4+D4-C5`

in cell**B5**and copy it down; include the End row.

This formula calculates base values that will prop up the rises and falls to the appropriate height.

Now your data are well-organized and you are ready to build the chart itself.

- Select your data including the column and row headers, exclude the Sales Flow column.
- Go to the
*Charts*group on the*INSERT*tab. - Click on the
*Insert Column Chart*icon and choose*Stacked Column*from the drop-down list.

The graph appears in the worksheet, but it hardly looks like a waterfall chart. Take the next step and turn the stacked column graph into Excel bridge chart.

The time has come to know the secret. You just need to make the Base series invisible to get a waterfall chart from a stacked column.

- Click on the Base series to select them, right-click and choose the
*Format Data Series…*option from the context menu.

The

*Format Data Series*pane immediately appears to the right of your worksheet in Excel 2013 / 2016. - Click on the
*Fill & Line*icon. - Select
*No fill*in the*Fill*section and*No line*in the*Border*section.

When the blue columns become invisible, just delete Base from the chart legend to completely hide all the traces of the Base series.

Let's finish up with a little formatting. First I will make the flying bricks brighter and highlight the Start and End values in the chart:

- Select the Fall series in the chart and go to the
*FORMAT*tab under*CHART TOOLS.* - Click on
*Shape Fill*in the*Shape Styles*group.

- Pick the color you want in the drop-down menu.
Here you can also experiment with the column outline or add special effects to them. Just use the

*Shape Outline*and*Shape Effects*options on the*FORMAT*tab to make changes.Then you should do the same trick with the Rise series. As for the Start and End columns, you need to color-code them individually, but they should be of the same color.

When you are done, the chart should look like the one below:

**Note.**Alternatively, you can change the color and outline of the columns in the chart by opening the Format Data Series pane or choosing the*Fill*or*Outline*options in the right-click menu.Then you can remove excess white spaces between the columns to make them stand closer to one another:

- Double-click on one of the chart columns to bring up the
**Format Data Series**pane. - Change the Gap Width to something smaller, like
**15%**. Close the pane.

Now the holes in the bridge chart are patched.

When you look at the waterfall chart above, some of the flying bricks seem to be of the same size. However, when you refer to the data table, you'll see that the represented values are different. For more accurate analysis I'd recommend to add data labels to the columns.

- Select the series that you want to label.
- Right-click and choose the
*Add Data Labels*option from the context menu.

Repeat the process for the other series. You can also adjust the label position, the text font and color to make the numbers more readable.

**Note.**If there is an apparent difference in column size and the specifics aren't important, you can omit the data labels, but then you should add a Y-axis for better data interpretation.

When you are done with labeling the columns, just get rid of unnecessary elements such as zero values and the legend. You can also change the default chart title to something more descriptive. Please take a look at one of my previous blog posts how to add titles to Excel charts.

My waterfall chart is ready! It looks completely different from the commonly used types of charts and it is very readable, isn't it?

As you can see, it is not difficult at all to manually create a waterfall chart in Excel 2016 - 2010. But if you don't want to mess with rearranging your data, you can use special add-ins that can do all the work for you.

Jon Peltier offers to use his time-saving Peltier Tech Chart Utility to automatically create waterfall charts and other custom graphs from raw data. You can choose to make either a standard Waterfall Chart or a Stacked Waterfall Chart. It is not necessary to enter any formulas, just select your data, click the Waterfall Chart command in the Ribbon, set a few options, click OK and Excel bridge graph is ready. In addition to custom charts, the add-in provides you with different Chart, Data and General Tools to make your work in Excel easier.

You can even create a waterfall chart online and receive it as an Excel file by email. It is possible thanks to a great waterfall-chart online service. You just need to submit your data, specify your email address and wait less than a minute while your chart is generated. Then check your inbox. The waterfall chart is sent to you in an Excel file. You can then change the title, labels, colors, etc. like in any other Excel chart. However, you cannot change the numeric data. In this case you will have to create a chart again. You should also follow some rules of submitting your data if you want your waterfall chart to look as expected.

The more complex chart you want to build, the more complex formulas you have to enter when rearranging your data. And the chance of getting an error is increasing. In this situation the Waterfall Chart Creator add-in for Microsoft Excel can help you save your time and effort. With this add-in you can create, change and update multiple waterfall charts at a time. It allows you to specify colors, solid or gradient fill, show values and position, and gives you many other options. You can also customize the default settings and colors for new charts.

Now you've got a collection of waterfall charts in Excel. I hope it won't be a problem for you to manually create your own version of a bridge graph. Otherwise, you can take advantage of Excel waterfall chart add-ins.

Thank you for reading.

If you are curious of other means of data visualization, the following articles may also be interesting for you:

Excel formulas
CSV
Excel functions
Print
Financial functions
Vlookup
Merge data in Excel
SumIf
CountIf
Excel Compare
If statement
Excel Charts
Pivot Table
Conditional formatting
Excel formatting
Excel duplicates
Excel date
Excel tips
Excel macro
Outlook
Google Sheets
Outlook duplicates
Outlook templates

## 149 responses to "How to create waterfall chart in Excel (bridge chart)"

Why couldn't you include the actual worksheet from this tutorial?

What i am going to use

As mentioned in a lot of comments below, we need a method that works for waterfalls that go below zero!

What he said.

Also, my series are showing zero's across the other series. How can I address this?

How do you get the end series to show up?

I agree having the actual spreadsheet would be a big help.

Hello Jeff,

I am sorry, we were on vacation. We'll be sure to add the spreadsheet as soon as we sort out all the comments.

1. the end-bar cannot be colored independently...it cannot show up at all.

2. in legend box, 'base' is there strangely without any legend display...

same problem as Jeff above and OZ below, full comment at bottom of page

Was the spreadsheet ever added?

Great Tutorial, thanks for taking the time and showing this first of all.

Dookie - I got rid of the zeros by clicking on each individual data point and deleting them. Can the original poster please advise if this is the method that was used as well?

Jeff - The end series is shown in the example above as the data in cell B17 which is "7375" Must be included in the data used on the graph.

Thanks again

Hello, Joe,

Thank you for your kind words and help in replying to the comments.

why so of the things that we search does not appear?

Thanks for these clear explanations! :-) It is so helpful.

This is brilliant. Saves purchasing a 3rd party add-in to achieve the same thing.

To manually color the first and last bars, click it once (this will select the whole series), then click it again (this will select the single bar). Right click and choose 'Shape fill'.

Well done Ekaterina. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you very mach

How to build the chart we should use to show what would have happened if we had made the change in 2013

Great tutorial, thank you. Thanks also for explaining exactly what this chart is for.

I managed to get the negative sign by going into 'Format data labels'> Number> Type (in 2013 version or Format Code in 2007 version) (default says General), add a - in front of the General.

Thank you for making a comment on how to get the negative sign added.

Thanks for a great Tutorial !

One Question, how are you getting minus sign in the data labels for negative values? All the values in fall column are positive?

Thanks,

Sam

I managed to get the negative sign by going into 'Format data labels'> Number> Type (in 2013 version or Format Code in 2007 version) (default says General), add a - in front of the General.

Thanks a lot, it worked !

Also, is there a way to get data labels on the top and outside the bars? Excel does not provide a default option for this.

Usually suggested method is to create a total series on top of stacked columns and hide the bars. In this case that will also not be possible

How did you get the negative sign to be shown on the data label values? Also my numbers are different starting the month of May. I checked my formulas few times and it looks fine but my end value is 6835! Thanks

Thank you, very straight forward

Thank you for this. Ridiculous deadline has been met...

This was very helpful! Can you please do one on how to create the same chart but this time with various components that make up the data. For ex. lets say there were 4 different departments that makes up your sales number of 4,000. How do you show the 4 different departments on 1 bar with different colors and what each of their sale numbers were?

Its amazing. Wonderfully explained. Going through this step by step even a layman can prepare the Waterfall Chart. Thanks a lot.

I was wondering how you get the blocks to go below the x axis if the data is made up of many negative values. Currently if there are lots of negatives then they just sit on the x axis and don't go below.

To get negative bars below the x axis, you need 2 further datasets. A green one for ascending bars and a red one for descending bars. Then set the number values so bars that cross the x axis are made in 2 pieces: One piece above the x axis and one below. HTH

Excellent tutorial. Thanks for the time taken to prepare and explain. god bless you!!!

Awesome...Thanks for such nice explanation and guidance. It help me a lot.

and what if the base is <0? I think this dos'nt work

Dear all,

I have been trying to drawn the waterfall chart as your tutorial but one thing i should ask about the data labelled of negative in fall column, in my spreadsheet it could not have minus sign. How can i fix it?

Thank you for your fast reply

I found that in summing the 'base' column it was adding all 3 items together rather than minusing the 'fall' figure, I counteracted this by adding a double minus symbol in the equation.

Thank You!

Great job. This was incredibly helpful!

Thanks for this, had never even heard of this kind of graph until I got asked to produce one. Good, simple instructions.

Thank you! It is very easy to make waterfall chart with you help.

Thank you! Very well explained.

Hello,

First of all, thanks for the great tutorial.

I have following problem:

the Rise column appears appropriately, beginning always at base level, but the Fall column always begins at zero level. I tried to change the sequence between Base, Fall and Rise but the Fall always is below the 2 others.

How can I move the Fall chart above Base?

Thanks for your answer in advance!

I found the mistake: my numbers in the Fall column were negative. :)

How can I separately show the Start and End balances from the increase or base numbers? If I enter the balances in the Rise column,theyยดll have the same colour as rises in the chart. If I enter them into the base column, they will disappear.

Thanks for your help!

Hi Ekaterina,

Thanks for your tutorial. Unfortunatelly it does not work for negative values:-(

David

It doesn't seem to work with negative values when the base starts at zero. Anyone else having this issue?

Ekaterina - thank you for the great tutorial. I really enjoyed creating a waterfall graph to highlight a GM bridge by significant customers. Could not have done this without your Tutorial.

I have a waterfall chart but in the first column only the fill the start and end is filled with a line a dark line on top any idea how is done

Any idea?

Hello

Dear Jeo

can you please send us link of video.

thanks

hi,

its really useful every one and I want all chart how to make it easily I need some more explanation other its good work thanks to all and am working fully excel and PowerPoint I want to know some technical steps that's useful to my work thanks that's all thanks to all dude.

dude can you please send all chart making step...

how can a water fall chart be created using all positive values

What an excellent article, perfectly articulated and demonstrated, this is impressive work.

Thank you for taking time to publish this.

It solves my problem. Thank you.

Thank you very much , the way it is explain its fantastic

Brilliant, thank you.

thanks.It really helped

Much appreciated. Your article has made it so simple to understand the waterfall graphs

Thanks, great help

What an excellent article on Waterfall chart, perfectly articulated and demonstrated, this is impressive work.

Great article! Thank you.

How can I get rid of the start column completely, I do not want it to show up in my chart, but great chart, it's really simplified waterfall charts for me :-)

Thanks for the tutorial, very easy to follow (for us excel dummies!)

Vey useful

Awesome article!!!!!

So, to fix the "zero display" issue, you can create another column to chart (or enhance what's there - up to you), with an "IF" statement that replaces zero values with "NA()" (without the quotes).

So, if the original calculation is in "I3", a formula in another column (to be charted) with this formula results in "#N/A" showing in the cell, ant that will not get charted:

=IF(I3=0,NA(),I3)

Also, if my chart had the dates in the first column on the zero axis, but there were was nothing below zero; so to make the dates as labels at the bottom, click on the Y-axis, Format axis, Axis options, and make the Minimum "Fixed" and = 0.

As others have said, a downloadable version of the spreadsheet would be helpful, especially if it incorporated some of the comments above. (Otherwise, that was / is a really long vacation :) ).

Dear Ekaterina Bespalaya - Thanks for sharing this tutorial; so easy for even excel dummies to follow. Enjoy your vacation to the Max.

Outstanding & easy to follow!

Great Post

Dear Ekaterina, thank you for sharing this. I agree will all positive comments.

Yes, very helpful guide. Can anyone advise on how to include connector lines between the monthly values

(------) Thanks.

Very very very useful. Takes minimum time to understand and execute

Thank you

Thank you so much for sharing, this really helped. God bless!

Thanks alot....very nicely explained a complex chart....awsome....cherss...... :)

Excellent, crystal clear explanation! Thank you so much.

Hello Thank you for your note.just getting confuse with end data how to populate that in graph.

Thank you so much for publishing this!! Awesome detailed instruction for something a little bit intricate!! Really needed to do some of these charts - deadline today and never did them before. Thanks again!

When you have several consecutive negative values forcing the base to become negative the falls do not appear below the x axis and show as positive values. Is there a fix for this please?

Thanks for this easily understood tutorial. I have one question which I think still has not been resolved. How did you manage to remove the "base legend" without removing the invisible bar chart? When I try to remove my similar bar chart it makes the floating bars fall to the ground...

thanks for the information

Very Well explained..I developed PowerPoint/Excel plugin for creating Waterfall chart just like that..Contact me at abhinovpankaj1@gmail.com for more details.

Thank you for the simple, yet effective explanations and illustrations.

How about in S.A

But thanks ,well done

Thank you - very helpful and user friendly.

Very NICE!!! Thank you!!

I love you, you saved my day at office.

Still getting confused with the last bar, the "end" column, cannot select and format on its own, can only select the entire series of "hidden" bars that are hidden/underneath the incremental changes, i.e. the rise/fall bars. Using Excel 2007 (no, cannot upgrade)

This is great thank you so much!! I had a question. If I wanted to split the fall or rise into three stacked groups as opposed to one how would I do that? For example, January would have Group A=+1500, Group B=+1500, Group C=+500 = 4000 all in one bar.

Thanks again! :)

-Chris

Is there a way to break the Bar chart in waterfall bar chart. One of the value in my data set is quite big and everything else looks very small. So I would like to break the Y axis and the big bar so that all bars are properly visible.

Great tutorial

Thank you So much this was the most easiest explanation i found on creating waterfall graphs.

Hello , thank you for this helpful demonstration it has taught me alot . My chart is populated and looks exactly as yours does other than the series fall on my chart is showing as 0s instead of the minus numbers . how can i change this without having to enter all of the figures manually please? Many Thanks Amy

Very good and easy explanation , Thank you.

Hi All,

I want Create Hours Base Graph. can you tell me how can create this.

Question Example:- 10:00 Am 01:00 PM Total Hours ? Graph Chart?

It worked well for me.Thanks a ton!

very helpful, thanks

Thanks much for wonderful tutorial. Nobody could teach the technique in such an easy to understand manner.

Will go through all other tutorials.

Thanks a lot , you are doing an awesome work.

Hi,

Need to create a waterfall chart with price growth & volume growth data.

Can u plz guide?

Arun

Genius. thank you. it works perfectly.

Thank you for a clear and concise explanation.

Very usefull. Congrats

Great explanation. It would be useful to know how to deal with negative figures as the above method doesn't seem to work for them.

Not to nit-pick, but "=IF(E4<=0, -E4,0)" is the same thing as "=-MIN(0,E4)" and the latter is easier to understand. I see people use IF statements for this all the time, but learning MIN and MAX make writing out and auditing the formulas a lot easier. Just FYI.

Also, it looks like Excel 2016 finally has built-in waterfall chart support. I haven't tried yet so if someone has, please post your experience with it. I hate manually doing this (rather, I hate executives that require these).

if my start value is Zero, how to do the waterfall? thanks

This is a great and simple solution. Many thanks.

But I always use bridges in situations where I have to show 'negative' going into 'positive' ie, EBITDA improvement.

The current solution will not work for negative to positive positions, I think. Do you have any tutorial that would address this case?

Best

Need a solution for water falls that go negative!

Thank you first of all for this great tutorial and simple to use instructions. When I tried to create my WF chart, after I started with all positive values, and then when the negative values started and the first negative data set "added" to the total of the positive values - that is the stacked column actually went higher rather than dropping - the rest of the negative values after that - it dropped and the final ending number was proper to scale - but the first negative value - the column actually went up instead of dropping - Not sure what I am doing wrong? Please help if you are able to.

I use MarketXLS for this and it's great.

Thanks for sharing!

Oh my god this was amazing!!! Thank you so much!

This is awesome!! It really sorted me out. Thank you.

Thank you very much. Great explanation. Just what I needed.

Thanks!!

Brilliant and very helpful step-by-step tutorial. Many thanks.

Thank you for taking out time to explain the tutorials. It is excellent and easy to use. Thanks.

Alexander,

Thank you for taking time to leave your comment to the article. Appreciate it! ๐

Works like a charm. Thanks