Power BI Waterfall Chart

Updated on January 2, 2024
Article byJeevan A Y
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Waterfall charts are useful to show the running total as values where they are added or subtracted. In Power BI, we also have a 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 showing all the positive and negative variance values against the targeted values. This chart helps us understand how values continue to contribute to overall numbers over time. This chart, we would call “Positive & Negative Variance” values towards set goals. This article will show you how to create a waterfall chart in Power BI.


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You need data to work with to create the Power BI waterfall chart. So you can download the Excel workbook template from the link below, which we have used for this example.

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

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How to Create a Waterfall Chart in Power BI?

To create the waterfall chart, we must have actual values and targeted numbers over time. Below is the monthly target vs. actual numbers.

  • The above table can 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, click on the “Get Data” option, and choose “Excel” as the data source option. Next, choose the file and upload it. Under the “Data” tab, we should see this table.
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Data)
  • This data is not ready yet to create a waterfall chart in Power BI. First, we need to find “Variance” between “Target” and “Actual” values. Then, under “Modeling,” click on “New Column.”
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Add New Column)
  • It 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, press the “Enter” key. It will create a new column for our existing table.
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Add Variance Column)
  • Using this data, we can create a waterfall chart in Power BI. But, before that, let us see what it looks like under the column chart.
  • Return to the “Report” tab and insert a blank column chart.
Power Bi Waterfall Chart (Select Chart)
  • Now, drag and drop the “Financial Month” column to the “Axis” field and the “Variance” column to the “Value” field to have the below chart.
drag and Drop in power BI
  • As you can see below, all the negative values are downward bars, and positive variance values are upward bars.
Power bi Waterfall chart bars
  • Selecting the chart from the visualization list, click on the “Waterfall chart.”
Select Waterfall Chart
  • The column chart may automatically convert to the waterfall chart.
Power bi Waterfall chart blue
  • The problem here is this chart automatically sorts 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.
Power bi Waterfall (More options)
  • It 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)
  • 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, we have a column bar color with a “Green” color. If the variance value is negative against the targeted value, we have a column bar color with a “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 the background color with “Pink” and make the “Transparency” 20%.
Fill Background color
  • One final thing we need to add to this chart is “Title.” Under the “Title” formatting category, do the below change.
change the Title
  • Now, we have a waterfall chart that looks like the one below.
Waterfall Chart

As you can see in the months, they did not meet the “May,”  “June,” and  “July” targets, so we have those column bars in “Red” colors.

Note: We can also download the Power BI dashboard file from the link below and view the final output.

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 must use the “Variance” column to create the waterfall chart in Power BI.
  • The positive variance is default shown in the “Green” color and the negative variance in the “Red” color.
  • Even though we do not have a “Total” column, i.e., the overall variance column, Power BI automatically inserts this column.

Recommended Articles

This article is a guide to Power BI Waterfall Chart. Here, we discuss creating and formatting a waterfall chart on the Power BI Desktop, along with examples and downloadable templates. You can learn more about Power BI from the following articles: –