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How to Make Waterfall Charts In Google Sheets

May 8, 2024

Unsure which chart type to use? Click here to find the right chart for your data and the ideas that you want to convey.

The waterfall chart, also known as the bridge chart, illustrates how an initial value becomes the final value through a series of additions and subtractions. It can be used to analyze sales and profit, changes in the budget amount, or the number of employees. 

In this tutorial, we will learn how to create a waterfall chart in Google Sheets. 

How to format data in waterfall charts

Data for a waterfall chart is straightforward. 

  • First column: labels for each row or the labels for each column in the horizontal axis of a waterfall chart
  • Other columns: numeric data. You can also add a category name.

For this tutorial, we will use hypothetical data of a company’s monthly revenue. Negative numbers are shown in parentheses.

Image: Sample dataset

How to add waterfall charts

Step 1. Select your data. 

Image: Dataset, selected.

Step 2. Go to Insert, then click Chart.

Image: Insert tab, chart option.

Or look at the near end of the main toolbar and click on the chart icon.

Image: Insert chart icon. It is located near the right end of the main toolbar. 

Step 3. Google Sheets will automatically create a graph based on your data. If the chart is not on the waterfall chart type, go to the Chart Editor, which pops out at the right side of your google sheet. Select Setup. Under chart type, click the drop-down menu, then scroll down and look for the waterfall chart located under the subsection Other.

Image: Setup tab under Chart editor. Waterfall chart located under Other.

If you accidentally closed the Chart editor, you can still open it by selecting the chart on your sheet. Click on  the vertical ellipsis icon located at the upper right corner of your chart. Select Edit chart. 

Step 4. You now have a waterfall chart. 

Image: Waterfall chart

Google Sheets automatically computed the subtotal, and it is plotted as the gray-colored bar located at the last column in your waterfall chart. You can also hover the cursor to each bar in the chart to show their corresponding value.  

Image: September monthly revenue, shown.

How to modify the connector lines of your waterfall chart

Initially, Google Sheets adds connector lines to each bar in your waterfall chart. You can modify these connector lines by ticking on the Show connector lines on the Chart option under the Customize tab. Choose among the connector lines’ color, thickness, and dash type. To remove the connector lines, just tick off the Show connector lines option.

Image: Options for the connector lines.

How to include additional subtotals

In some cases, like income statements and employee growths, it is also essential to note the initial values, which are usually located on the first row of your dataset. To emphasize that on your waterfall chart, you can simply tick on the Use first value as subtotal under the Series tab option of the Customize tab. 

Image: Use first value as subtotal, ticked.

You can also add subtotals within your waterfall chart. Let’s say we want to look at the semi-annual total revenue. To do that, 

Step 1. Under the Series option, click Add new subtotals. 

Image: Add new subtotal option

Step 2. Several options will appear. You can create a new sub-item label. Choose among the subtotal types and column index where you want to include your new subtotal. You can put it after a specific column index, or you can simply replace a specific column index.

Image: Options for adding a new subtotal. 

Step 3. You now have a new subtotal in your waterfall chart. 

Image: Waterfall chart with an additional subtotal.

How to customize the aesthetics of the waterfall chart

You can also customize some aesthetics of the waterfall chart depending on how you would like  to present it. Click here for the tutorial on how you customize the chart and axis titles, legends, and other basic formatting of the waterfall chart. 

Image: Waterfall chart after some modifications

Create a Google Sheets Waterfall Chart

  • Highlight the data you want to use
  • Click 'Insert' in the file menu
  • In the chart editor select waterfall chart

Sample Sheet

You can practice creating a waterfall chart using this sample sheet

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