How To Create Waterfall Chart in Microsoft Power BI

A running total is displayed in waterfall charts when Power BI adds and subtracts values. These graphs help illustrate how several positive and negative changes impact an initial value, such as net income. The graphic has a column for each measure of change. Because the columns are color-coded, it is easy to quickly identify trends in the data, including increases and decreases. It is common practice to arrange the initial and ending value columns so that they always begin on the horizontal axis.

The columns that are in between are floating values. An intermediate column might begin on either the horizontal axis or a different axis that runs parallel to the main axis.  There may be variations in the initial and end values for the intermediate columns’ positions. The resulting view resembles a random waterfall cascade or a concave or convex wave.

Bridge charts are another name for waterfall charts. A waterfall chart shows variations to a value, both positive and negative. As a result, we have baselines of zero for both the beginning and ending bars. Every one of the floating middle bars has a baseline, which is the end of the bar before it. Depending on whether the bar is showing a positive or negative change, this baseline can begin at either the top or the bottom. VisioChart can be used to create waterfall charts in Power BI, providing better visualization of your data.

What is Waterfall Chart?

A waterfall chart comes under many charts for visual data analysis that enables a business to turn the cumulative impacts of a product launch into sequential positive and negative trends. Waterfall charts are considered useful when analysing a frequent gradient of numeric transition in the quantitative value of a number that is the case to increase or decrease incrementally. Numeric sets within the data analysis can be based on time or data type. Whole data columns represent subsequent final values, while floating in-between columns depict intermediate data values entailed from the value of the previous column. Waterfall charts can also be helpful in complex analyses with multiple columns representation and values that spread across the axis of the chart.

When to Use Waterfall Charts?

The waterfall chart is particularly well-liked in the banking industry since it fulfills a very particular but practical use case. The Power BI waterfall graphic that highlights net total changes truly has no true substitutes. Financial analysis and profit and loss statements are the two main uses for waterfall charts. Nevertheless, if you take a broader view, you may use Power BI waterfall charts to depict a variety of data points, provided that the cumulative values and their corresponding changes are the main focus. Waterfall charts can be used to see monthly income, expenses, revenues, and current account balances. When you wish to see the connections between the steps in business processes and to oversee and manage the quality of the data. When you want to visually monitor the progress of project phases, identify and correct data errors, understand inter-departmental relationships, and comprehend organizational functioning.

Benefits Of Waterfall Chart

The Waterfall Chart is like the waterfall model that shows the differential comparison of some data values. Incremental or decremented flows are observed along with the following benefits.

  • It helps showcase fluctuating variations in the quantitative data value of some categories over time of specimen effectiveness.
  • It goes along following a logical data flow with an effective framework.
  • The waterfall chart is essentially helpful in viewing the data as its specialised application for displaying the constituent flow of a larger data transformation.
  • It comes into use when a statistics summary is not being assessed well with communicating the whole picture of data categories. Having a specified mechanism to depict the data value of change between two points may be beneficial. It might be the case. Otherwise, that turns to a line graph to show the frequency of different data values while still keeping the sense of quantity perceivable that a bar graph does a much better presentation of data provision.

Drawback of the Waterfall Chart

Obviously, like the benefits, there are some drawbacks to the waterfall charts.

  • It gives bafflement to get with an application in the testing stage. It becomes very difficult to undo any change at a stage that was not well-arranged out in the basic display stage.
  • No viable software or IT solution emerged until late during the product lifecycle.
  • Big data saturation gives more risk and uncertainty.
  • Not an ideal model for complex data and object-oriented data visualization projects.
  • Unideal model for continuous and stammering projects.
  • Not good for the projects where requirements are at the peak risk of changing.

How To Create Waterfall Chart in Microsoft Power BI

To illustrate the sales variance between estimated and actual sales by month, follow these steps to construct a waterfall chart. Create an impressive waterfall chart for the sales variance by simply adding the values using VisioChart.

  1. Select the Total Sales Variance checkbox after expanding the Sales section of the Data pane. Power BI displays the data as a clustered column chart by default. This action configures the Total Sales Variance data as the chart’s Y-axis on the Visualizations pane.
  2. On the Visualizations pane, select Waterfall chart to turn the visualization into a waterfall chart. This action exposes the category and breakdown sections on the Visualizations pane.
  3. Expand Time in the Data pane and click the Fiscal Month checkbox. Power BI uses the Fiscal Month category data to update the waterfall display. The initial view of the category data shows the value in ascending order.

Arrange the waterfall chart in Power Bi

One way to observe multiple data viewpoints while creating a waterfall chart is to adjust the sort order. 

  • Find the three dots ( ) in the upper-right corner of your waterfall chart, then click them to view additional choices.
  • Choose the Sort axis from the options that appear. Both ascending and descending orders are options for sorting depending on the Category or Value.

Customizing your Waterfall Chart

To make it simpler for you to understand your data, you can make adjustments to your waterfall chart. Navigate to Visualizations and select Format Visual. You can perform the following actions here:

  • To indicate the beginning and end of a data series, you can add start and endpoints. This helps define your analysis’s scope precisely.
  • You can alter the colors of the totals, declines, and increments to better suit your reporting theme and make the chart easier to read.
  • For convenient access, turn on data labels to have the value of each segment shown right on the chart.
  • To change the title, axis labels, legend, and other elements, use the formatting pane. 

Tips to make the Waterfall Chart Comprehensive

  • Make sure your categories make sense and are arranged logically.
  • To avoid misunderstandings, make sure your value indications are consistent across your dataset.
  • Eliminate superfluous categories from your chart and concentrate on the key factors that affect the result.
  • Make use of Power BI’s modification options to improve your chart’s readability.
  • To make it simpler for users to comprehend the underlying information in the chart, add tooltips that will display further information when they hover over data points.
  • Use clear labels for each category when making a waterfall chart in Power BI to ensure that the chart is simple to read at a glance.

To facilitate easy interpretation, simplicity is crucial. Use several kinds of charts and graphics, like Power BI matrix, to increase the usefulness of your dashboard. VisioChart is another tool you may use to prepare your data before transferring it to Power BI. You can add additional columns to your reports, organize the data, and remove any columns you don’t need. Additionally, you may use the automation tool to ensure that your reports are always current.

How to Comprehend a Waterfall Chart?

This is a very commonly frequently asked question that is often explored by non-statics knowledge people. The answer is, though, technically tricky, nevertheless, quite simple to make sense.

A typical or general waterfall chart is perused from a specific rule or order. Waterfall chart data values are read from left to right data flow. You see a time-being fluctuation on a subtotal value. However, on a software utility, these values are highlighted with colored bars through which the values are added or subtracted. The data categories on the horizontal x-axis usually stand at a fixed time period. These are called constants, such as months, weeks or quarters. This will empower you to assess the total values of data subject to read. For example, if the particular period of a month or week ended with a positive or declining trend of views and what the current status of the views or traffic looks like.

You can further differentiate the length of lines and colors against the specific and dedicated trends of data in the changeable or fixed time period.

What Key Information does Waterfall Chart Show?

Cascade Charts’ importance in Data Visualization

Waterfall charts are most frequently used to depict the nature of a product fluctuation or trend-changing fashion after eliminating or adding some numeric values or digits either in the composition of a metric or the range of change for a resultant metric over time.

For instance, you can make sense that waterfall charts are often used to show the frequency of change of a corporation’s operating ROI with margin or the profit of a business’s final results.

When you hear the word “waterfall,” that’s typically what you call to mind. However, the common senses can perceive you are going to think about a different kind of cascade — the waterfall chart that shows a data visualization flow rhythmic blow.

Waterfall Charts Help in a Data Visualization

Data resource that can assist you in gathering and tracking important chunks of data such as traffic goals and lead generation. Below, let’s review what a waterfall chart is, how to read one, and create one.


The waterfall chart is a compilation of bar charts, giving more elaborative information on complex data visualization with simpler effects. You can adopt this chart type to depict business analytics with a high data flow value.


When should you use a waterfall chart in your visual?

The statisticians and data analysts recommend that the company use a waterfall chart in place of other ordinary chart types to view information. It is well to undertake the cascade charts upon trying to view data visualization with effective margin notices in a row of glance reading. It is recommended because it experiences both gains and losses with marginal upturn or downturn of the data rhythm. It’s especially helpful if you need to visualize data that shows how a loss stream subsequent values are going in a way.

How is Waterfall Chart Used in Businesses?

A waterfall chart is also called the bridge chart. It gets known as the bridge chart because of its view-ability, just like the cascade. A waterfall chart is commonly used to show a total of the continuous model as values are added or subtracted with an increase or decrease in values.

What Other Good Things a Waterfall Chart Does For You?

Generally, waterfall charts help in data view for a latent reader. However, there are some other good things with which a waterfall chart can be essentially useful. The instincts are given below.

  • Gathers the related data types.
  • Shows a table with multiple columns in waterfall streamline.
  • Accepts your data in chart Sheets or Excel.
  • Adds up the data values.
  • Represents in distinction all of the Dataset.
  • Full-fledge data presentation with your waterfall chart.
  • Adjusts your waterfall chart with new data values or categories.