Want an Excel waterfall chart with ultimate flexibility? Crossing the x-axis, green for up, red for down – all automatically. Download the template by clicking here.
Excel Waterfall charts – why?
Waterfall charts have become more and more popular over the last few years. Management accountants, among others, often use them to provide insight into the contributors to movements in financial results. With that goal in mind, waterfall charts are an excellent way to display this kind of information. Whilst I am not an accountant, I have a keen personal interest in data visualisation. One of my favourite sources for information and inspiration in this area is Hichert, and it was through his work that I was first exposed to waterfall charts.
One of our management accountants mentioned that she had problems the previous half with an Excel waterfall chart that needed to cross the x-axis. Building a waterfall chart from scratch sounded like a cool topic to cover in one of the Excel classes I run at work.
- No VBA. These classes are run for people with basic to intermediate Excel skills. No time, nor appetite, for VBA.
- Must be as simple as possible in execution. Following the class, the files are shared. I don’t run an Excel helpdesk, so if there are problems with the files after they’ve been in situ for a while (and people have made changes, etc), then people need to figure out how to sort itout themselves!
I could write a step-by-step post on how it was made, but do you really care? The waterfall chart does pretty much everything an Excel waterfall chart should. The chart can cross over the x-axis with ease. Green for up, red for down.
Note, the template is in xlsx format. If you have a pre-2010 version of Excel, let me know and I will send you a compatible version.
I hope the template is of some use to you, and saves you some time when you next need a waterfall chart to explain some movements.