How to Make a Waterfall Chart in Google Sheets [FREE Template]

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Hi. In this article, we will learn how to make a waterfall chart in google sheets.

The waterfall chart is very useful in google sheets added in 2017 in the native charts of google sheets. We can use a Waterfall chart to show the changes over time. Each phase shows the independent position of that phase. The waterfall model is widely used in software development is a software development life cycle model, and its mostly used by project managers to show projects progress, and status using linear sequential progress of tasks and the outcomes of the previous one.

But in google sheets, we use waterfall chart as a general-purpose chart not only for software projects. It can be used mainly for change analysis. Now change analysis can be done in various use cases such as sales, profit, project progress, company growth, marketing campaign success, etc.

Use Cases of Waterfall Chart in Google Sheets

Just like many other charts, we have studied inside google sheets; Waterfall is also a useful chart that helps you to study the change analysis. The waterfall is primarily used to detect the change and study the gap over time in any process, project, workflow, business goal, etc. For example, I run a business and I want to see last year’s performance in a graphical representation. I can use a pie chart to see the distribution of profit/loss, or I can use a bar chart to see the highest lowest, and average profit/loss value.

Similarly, I can use a line chart to see where I got the profit and where I got the loss. These all are showing me the changes coming over time but they are not showing the current status over time. Using waterfall for the same scenario enables me to know how much profit or loss individually I got at a specific time of the year. This is why the waterfall is very useful and helpful for us. We can determine each phase individually not by just the difference between phases.

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How to Make a Waterfall Chart in Google Sheets

Here, we will learn how to add and work with a waterfall chart in google sheets. We will first see how to make it, then we will see how to customize it. So, let’s start. Note that, a waterfall chart is a built-in chart type in google sheets.

How to Make a Waterfall Chart in Google Sheets – The Data

To make a waterfall chart you need some data first. The data should have some validation. Data can be singular or double, firstly let’s see a simple dataset that can be used to make a waterfall chart.

Step 1

Sample data

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Step 2

Select all the data

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Step 3

Go to Insert > chart

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Step 4

Select the “Waterfall Chart” from the “others” Category, inside the setup tab in the Chart editor.

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Step 5

Select the “stacked”, or “sequential

For single data, choose “sequential

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Step 6

Your Waterfall chart has been added.

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Now you can make changes and do customization as per your need and preferences.

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How to Make a Waterfall Chart in Google Sheets – Customizing the Chart

Here, we will learn how to customize a waterfall chart we have just created using a sample data set. Let’s see how we can customize it and can use its feature in a better way.

The first important customization is to add a meaningful name or the chart and the name of horizontal and vertical axes to make it look more communicative to the readers.

Step 1

Name your waterfall chart

Double click on the chart, in the chart editor, click on customize, then click on chart axis and title, then edit the below title input field.

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Here you have further customization options for the chart title.

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Step 2

Style your waterfall chart

Double click on the chart, in the chart editor, click on customize then click on chart style (the first drop-down), here you have various options for the chart styling.

2.1 Background color

Here you can select a background color for the chart body

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2.2 Font

Here you can select the Font family for the overall chart font.

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2.3 Chart border-color

Here you can select a color for the outer border of the chart

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2.4 Show connector lines (Checkbox)

These lines are the connector line that shows the connection between two phases of the waterfall chart. They show the positive or negative value as well, if the connector line is connected from the bottom, then it’s a negative value.

When you check this checkbox, there will be some more customization options be appeared for the connecter line.

You can set connector line color, thickness, and dash type.

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Step 3

Series

Here you can work with the series of the waterfall chart, if you have worked with any chart before you must be aware of the series. Series are the data points of your chart, here you have the boxes, and you can customize them.

3.1 Fill color

Here you can change the fill color of your series.

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3.2 Fill opacity

Here you can control the fill opacity

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3.3

You have further edited options for the series, you can change line color and line opacity, and below you can change line dash type, and line thickness.

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3.4

Some options you have the negative label (Only appear if you have at least one negative value in your waterfall chart)

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3.5

Same options for the subtotal.

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Note: you can also edit the labels: Positive, Negative, and Subtotal

 

3.6

Now you have three checkboxes.

Data labels: Here you can tick, to actual data labels, checking it will give you some more editing options for the data labels.

Use first value as subtotal: First value will become subtotal

Add subtotal after the last value in the series: The subtotal will appear after the last value in the series.

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Step 4

Legend

Legend means the identity of your chart. It is by default shown on the top. It represents all the entities that exist in the chart with their identical colors.

In this section, we can perform basic customization for legend.

You can set the position, legend font family, font size, format, and text color

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Step 5

Horizontal Axis

Here you can customize the area of the horizontal axis, which means the content on the X axis.

You can change label font family, label font size, label format, and text color, and you can also slant label text.

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Step 6

Vertical Axis

This is an identical section to the Horizontal axis, same editing options you have in this section but they are on the y-axis.

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Step 7

Gridlines and ticks

Here you can customize the gridlines and ticks on your chart, based on the vertical and horizontal axis

a- Horizontal Axis

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b- Vertical Axis

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This is how to make and customize a waterfall chart in google sheets.

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How to Make a Waterfall Chart in Google Sheets – Stacked Chart

In this section, we will learn how to make a waterfall chart in google sheets when having multiple data columns, here we will use a waterfall stacked chart instead of a sequential one. Let’s move forward and this is how it works let’s also look at the sample data set for the stacked waterfall chart.

Step 1

Sample data in multiple columns

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Step 2

Insert the chart

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Step 3

In the Chart editor, click on the Setup tab > Stacking > select “Stacked”

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Step 4

Your Stacked waterfall chart is ready, you can see both columns’ data is displaying simultaneity.

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This is how you can use the stacked waterfall chart to display multiple data columns together.

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How to Read a Waterfall Chart

In this section, we will learn how to read/understand a water chart. We will learn about the components of the waterfall chart and will see how to use them to display the important data only.

We have made a waterfall chart in the previous section so we will take the chart as an example and will learn about its important elements and components of it.

Components of the Waterfall chart

The waterfall chart is pretty similar to other line and bar charts in google sheets.

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This is how you can work with a waterfall chart in google sheets. I hope you find this article helpful.

Download/Copy Google Sheets Waterfall Chart Template

Notes to remember to make a waterfall chart in google sheets

  • The waterfall chart is a built-in chart and it can be found in the other category.
  • You can remove the subtotal series if you don’t need it.
  • The connectors lines are very important they show the positive and negative phase
  • You can set colors and other formatting for the positive series, negative series, and subtotal series separately.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need to use the Waterfall chart in google sheets?

The waterfall chart is a very good graphical representation of the phases between two endpoints, here waterfall not only shows the value of it as total, but it also shows the specific value on each phase, which means that 1000-dollar profit in July, and also 1400, total profit from June. This is how the waterfall chart helps us to draw useful insights from the data.

What is a sequential and stacked waterfall chart?

The sequential chart is used when we have only one series in our waterfall chart, and stacked is used when we have multiple series (more than 1). We can pick “stacked” or “sequential” from the Setup tab in the chart editor.

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Conclusion

Wrapping up how to make a waterfall chart in google sheets. We have learned how to make a waterfall chart, how to customize a waterfall chart, how to make a stacked waterfall chart, and how to read the waterfall chart in google sheets. I tried to cover all the things from the scratch and tried to deliver to you about the waterfall chart usage in the context of google sheets. The waterfall is not a small thing. You will see a waterfall chart in many other places such as software development. It is also referred to as the Waterfall model in software engineering terms.

So, that’s all from how to make a waterfall chart in google sheets. I hope you find this article helpful. Take care and keep learning with Office Demy.

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M. Shaiq Ansari

Hi, I am Shaiq. A young and self-motivated content writer having years of experience expertise in MS Office suite, Google docs Editor Suite. I have a technical education background that empowers me to stand out in today's digital world. I am currently a freelance content creator and a part of a local digital marketing agency in Karachi Pakistan.

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