Waterfall charts help to convey how an initial value is affected by a series of intermediate positive or negative values. They are particularly useful for understanding the gradual transition in value of an item that is subject to increment or decrement.
Whole columns represent the initial and the final values, while the intermediate values are expressed as floating columns. The columns are color-coded to distinguish between positive and negative values: green for positive values; red for negative; and gray for totals. These colors can be customized in the Card designer.
Waterfall charts are very flexible and can be useful for viewing product earnings, company profit, cost sheets, the number of contracts in hand, the structure of a sales pipeline, cash flow statements, or monitoring how divisional profit and loss is formed.
Positive and negative values for data items are shown side by side on a waterfall chart, unlike on a bar or column chart, where they display on opposite sides of an axis. This layout means waterfall charts enable you to easily compare positive and negative values at a glance.
What can I use waterfall charts for?
A common use of waterfall charts is visualizing profit and loss statements, which typically comprise a series of increments and decrements, divided into sub-categories.
Waterfall charts have unique configuration options available under the Axis and Data headings. These options include:
- the Auto axis toggle that adjusts the minimum value of the y-axis. Use this option when you need to compare intermediate values that are small, relative to the initial and final values of your chart.
- the Suppress zeros toggle that removes any data items with a value of 0. This streamlines your waterfall charts, making positive and negative data items more prominent.
- the First item as total toggle that changes the first column on your chart to be the same color as a total. If the starting data item on your waterfall chart is a total, this can be useful to aid understanding.
Waterfall charts only use the first column of a view and display the view's rows as columns on the chart. To ensure synchronization with your page when building the view for your chart, you can:
- pivot list items to rows and line items to columns.
- pivot line items to rows with time as a context selector.
These methods enable you to change how data is displayed on a waterfall chart by changing the time context selector on a page.
Use a waterfall chart to answer:
- What happened to the value of X over the past year and why?
- What are the different values that resulted in Y?
- Which of these factors had the largest impact on Z?
A waterfall chart may not be the best option when:
- you need a card to fit into a small space, as waterfall charts require a lot of horizontal space on a board.
- multiple data items need to be compared simultaneously, as waterfall charts can only display the first column of data in a view.
Alternative chart types
Use a different type of chart if:
- you're comparing multiple data series over multiple time periods (use a stacked bar or column chart).
- you want to identify trends for a group of values (use a line chart).
To learn about other types of chart, see Chart types in detail on the Charts page.