Power BI Waterfall Chart

Waterfall charts are used to show the running total as values where they are added or subtracted, in power bi we also have waterfall chart where the columns in the waterfall chart are color-coded for the view of increase or decrease in the values.

What is the Waterfall Chart in Power BI?

The waterfall chart is a kind of column chartColumn ChartColumn chart is used to represent data in vertical columns. The height of the column represents the value for the specific data series in a chart, the column chart represents the comparison in the form of column from left to right.read more that shows all the positive and negative variance values against the set targeted values. This chart helps us to understand how values are continued to contribute overall numbers over a period of time. This chart, we would call “Positive & Negative Variance” values towards set goals. In this article, we will show you how to create a waterfall chart in Power BI.


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To create the Power BI Waterfall Chart, you need data to work with, so you can download the excel workbook template from the below link, which is used for this example.

You can download this Power BI Waterfall Chart Excel Template here – Power BI Waterfall Chart Excel Template

How to Create a Waterfall Chart in Power BI?

In order to create the “waterfall” chart, we need to have actual values and targeted numbers over a period of time. Below is the monthly Target vs Actual numbers.

  • You can use the above table to create a “Waterfall Chart” in power BI. Copy and paste the above table into the Excel worksheet.
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Excel Data)
  • Save the workbook in one of the folders. Now open Power BI and click on the “Get Data” option and choose the “Excel” as the data source option. Choose the file and upload, and under the “Data” tab, we should see this table.
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Data)
  • This isn’t the ready data yet to create a waterfall chart in Power BI. We need to find “Variance” between “Target” and “Actual” values. Under “Modelling,” click on “New Column.”
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Add New Column)
  • This will ask you to name a new column.
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Add Column)
  • Give the name “Variance” and enter the DAX formula as “Actual – Target.”
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Enter Formula)
  • After the formula hits the enter key, it will create a new column for our existing table.
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Add Variance Column)
  • Now using this data, we can actually create a waterfall chart in Power BI. Before that, lets how this chart looks like under the column chart.
  • Come back to the “Report” tab and insert a blank column chart.
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Select Chart)
  • Now drag and drop the “Fiscal Month” column to the “Axis” field and “Variance” column to the “Value” field to have the below chart.
drag and Drop in power BI
  • Ok, as you can see below, all the negative values are downward bars, and positive variance values are upward bars.
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Create Column Chart)
  • By selecting the chart from the visualization list, click on the “waterfall” chart.
Select Waterfall Chart
  • Now automatically column chart will be converted to the “waterfall” chart.
Create Waterfall chart in Power BI
  • The problem here is this chart automatically sort the values based on the “Variance” column from highest to lowest, so that is the reason we have all our negative values (red bars) towards the end of the chart. To sort based on the “Month” number by selecting the chart, click on three dots at the top right-hand side of the chart.
click on three dots
  • This will open up the below options for the chart.
Show more options
  • Go to “Sort by” and choose “Month.”
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Choose Month)
  • Now our waterfall chart is sorted based on “Month” and looks like this.
Waterfall Chart
  • So, if the variance value is positive against the targeted value, then we have column bar color with “Green” color, and if the variance value is negative against the targeted value, then we have column bar color with “Red” color.
  • In the end, we have one more bar saying “Total” this is the overall variance value against the target.”
variance value

Formatting of Waterfall Chart in Power BI

  • By formatting this power BI waterfall chart, we can make the chart look more beautiful as well. By selecting the chart, click on the “Format” option.
Choose Format
  • The first thing we need to format is to change the default color and font size of “X-Axis” values.
Changes in font size of X-Axis
  • Next, we will do the same for Y-Axis as well.
  • Under “Data Labels,” change color to “Black,” “Display Units,” to “None,” and “Text Size” to 12.
Change Data Lable
  • Under “Sentiment colors,” we can change the bar colors of “Increase,” “Decrease,” and “Total” value columns.
Change Sentiment colors
  • Now fill background color with “Pink” and make the “Transparency” as 20%.
Fill Background color
  • One final thing we need to add to this chart is “Title.” Under the “Title” formatting category does below changes.
change the Title
  • Ok, now we have a waterfall chart that looks like the below one.
Waterfall Chart

As you can see in the months, “May, June, and July” target was not met, so we have those column bars in “Red” colors.

Note: Power BI dashboard file can also be downloaded from the link below, and the final output can be viewed.

You can download this Power BI Waterfall Chart Template here – Power BI Waterfall Chart Template

Things to Remember

  • It is a built-in chart in Power BI.
  • We need to use the Variance column to Create the Waterfall Chart in Power BI.
  • By default, the positive variance is shown in the “Green” color, negative variance shown in the “Red” color.
  • Even though we don’t have a “Total” column, i.e., Overall variance column, Power BI automatically inserts this column.

Recommended Articles

Guide to Power BI Waterfall Chart. Here we discuss how to create and format a waterfall chart in Power BI desktop along with examples and downloadable templates. You can learn more about Power BI from the following articles –

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