Waterfall charts are powerful visuals for your data dashboard because they effectively display the cumulative effect of sequential positive and negative values. If you’re interested in showing where a value starts, ends and how it gets there incrementally, a waterfall chart may be for you! Building waterfall charts in Tableau requires a few specific steps which can be hard to remember if you don’t build them often, so we’ll tackle building the visual together.
For starters, below is a waterfall of the Seattle Seahawks point differential by game throughout the 2014 regular season. As you can see, the team stumbled along for the first half of the season, but really found their groove in the second half.
Now that you’ve had a chance to see the visual in action (Go Hawks!), let’s build one together.
1) Connect to the “Sample – Superstore Subset (Excel)” excel file under the My Tableau Repository folder on your machine. In order to find it navigate to Documents, My Tableau Repository, Datasources, and then select the file.
2) Drag the Orders worksheet into the Drag Sheets Here section and select the orange Go to Worksheet button.
3) Drag a dimension to the Columns Shelf and a measure to the Rows Shelf. I’ve right-clicked and dragged continuous (green) quarter onto the Columns Shelf and Profit onto the Rows Shelf.
4) Right-click on the quarter field on the Columns Shelf to convert it to “Discrete”.
*Be careful at this step that your drop-down looks exactly like the drop-down above. You should have the second option for Quarter selected (Q2 2011) and then select the Discrete option.
5) Add a Running Sum of Total Table Calculation to the measure on the rows shelf. To do this, right-click on the Profit pill, select Add Table Calculation, and add the following table calculation:
6) Change the mark type from Automatic to Gantt Bar in the Marks Card.
7) Create a calculated filed named “-Profit” and write the following formula: -[Profit]
8) Drag the new measure “- Profit” to the size tab on the Marks Card. Previously, we only had a singular line denoting where the Running Sum of Profit stood from one quarter to the next. We want to backfill all of the space from one bar to the next and therefore show the growth (or contraction) in profit from one quarter to the next. Positive values will therefore extend our bar upwards and negative values will extend the bar downwards.
9) Add the Profit measure to the color tab on the marks card and edit the colors and change the color palette to be two stepped.
10) If you followed all of those steps, you should now have a working waterfall chart showing growth and contraction in profit from one quarter to the next. Pretty cool!
By: Eric Parker
Posted by admin