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Monday, February 23, 2015

Tableau Visualization -- How to build Waterfall chart

Waterfall chart can be used in accounting to show trends in the horizontal time span usually as result of positive and negative influences in sequential order. We will look at the product's profit over years.

To start, lets have profit in row and  product and time in column:

As you can see, some product creates positive profit and some creates negative profit.

Now let's add a new table calculation off profit to get the running total of the profit:

Now the chart looks like this:

We want to distinguish the negative from the positive. To do that we create condition on profit by adding a new calculated field ('profitable ?') with the following formula: SUM([Profit])>=0

This will create a binary output: greater than 0 or less than 0

Putting 'Profitable ?' into the color windows, the chart is colored:

Now change the view from automatic to ''Gnatt" and the chart changes:

Put profit into size windows so that all of the Gnatt size will change based on the profit amount:

Now you might notice that all of the blue color Gnatt bars are growing downwards while the yellow ones are growing upwards. This is because the blue color happens to represent negative profits. Some user maybe okay with the way this chart looks, while others may prefer to flip the blue bars and make it go upwards just like the rest. To do so, let's create another calculated field call 'Negative profit' with the following formula:

Put 'negative profit' into size windows and now all of the bars are facing the same direction:


Until next time


Kevin Roche said...

Can you make waterfall showing the change in profit each year, broken down by category?

So for example, profit is about 50k greater in 2011 than 2010.
Appliance impact is x
Binders impact is -y
Bookcase impact is z
total x - y + z + ... = 50k

and then do same for 2012 vs 2011, to show drivers of profit.

I'm really struggling to do this without resorting to lots of custom SQL which I'd like to avoid. Any help much appreciated.

ericaclayton said...

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