Feature image Tableau Warerfall Charts

Tableau Waterfall Charts: The How-To Guide

By Laurent Mauer · October 13, 2022 · 7 min read

The most challenging problem in Tableau is that we can’t create a definite visualization from the given constraints data.

To overcome this challenge, we have a most efficient solution, which is creating Tableau Waterfall Charts with various measures and getting the option to apply specific filters to create desired visualizations.

The previous Tableau Waterfall chart was not such a modified version to make efficient visualization. But the upgrade version has all these capabilities to provide multiple measures and add filters for creating the best visualization.

Let’s dive deeper into Tableau Waterfall Charts and how to create one with guided steps.

About Tableau Software

Tableau is one of the widely used Business Intelligence and Data Visualization tools in business or at the individual level.

This tool helps visualize collected data so everyone can easily interpret it.

With Tableau, you can create multiple kinds of visualization with its help and aggregate them to display in the dashboard.

Tableau has some crucial features, as mentioned below: 

  • Tableau users can create interactive dashboards with their data through their excellent visualization techniques.
  • It gives the extensive feature of sharing the dashboard over the cloud, thus can be available from anywhere the user wants.
  • In Tableau, users get 200+ connectors that can be actively connected to data sources.
  • It’s simple to do collaborative work with a team.
  • Different data sources can be connected along with importing data.

What is a Waterfall Chart?

A waterfall chart is a unique bar chart that explains the exact difference between values at two points.

In a waterfall chart, each element is displayed in chart form that leads to net change apart from just showing one starting value in one bar and an ending line in another.

Because of its shape, the waterfall chart gains its name.

Now taking the Waterfall chart into consideration, its first bar starts at zero point, and it tells about the initial value of the measure that is taken into consideration.

It begins from zero baselines as of the first bar, following all the sequence bars floating in the space.

And the last bar represents the overall quantity of the chosen measure taken into consideration.

What are the steps required to create a Tableau Waterfall Chart?

In this article, Tableau’s sample dataset is used for creating a Tableau Waterfall Chart.

With this help, users get the option to select the dimension member along with highlighting the appropriate selections.

Moreover, percentage contribution can also be mentioned at each point of the bar chart.

Step 1 - Import the required data in Tableau

The first step is importing all the relevant superstore datasets from the given sample datasets in the Tableau tool.

Now you need to define the parameter of measure on the Rows shelf and the parameter on the dimension on the Columns shelf.

With the help of this data, Tableau will automatically generate the chart.

For making the bars, remember it is not sufficient to compare them with their sizes, but you need to keep in mind their ranks to arrange them in descending order going from left to right.

Step 2 – Add Numbers to the Waterfall Chart

You must right-click the measured parameter on the Rows shelf and click on the “Quick Table Calculation” option.

After that, click on the running total table calculation to sales measure.

Step 3 – Create Gantt Bars

In this step, you need to change the type of Marks from automatic Bar to Gantt Bar by selecting the marks section from the drop-down menu located at the left-hand side toolbar.

After that, click on the size card given in the mark section and select the necessary measure for the chart based on the dataset available.

Step 4 – Standardize the Chart

As of now, you will find that blocks in the chart appear to be of the correct size, but the main problem is that they are starting from the location of each Gantt mark and moving toward an upward direction since values in the column direction are positives.

Therefore, to correct this and make all the blocks placed just after the last block gets over, you need to make negative values in the column direction. 

This is much easier as you must click on the column measure card from the Marks section given the list.

After this, select the sales option and add the (-) sign before SUM([Column Measure]) in the given text field. Now finally, hit the enter option.

Step 5 – Handle Positive and Negative Value in Waterfall Chart

After completing all the previous steps successfully, you will see the chart looks upside down compared to the initial stage of the chart until we have done two steps.

First, sort the chart in descending order along the x-axis.

Secondly, reverse the sum of column values to negative. Thus the worst performer would be placed at starting and the best at last.

Alternatively, by clicking on the sorting option, you can reverse the chart by placing the worst performer last and the best first.

However, you can also add multiple colors and filters to the chart. As a result of following all the steps successfully, you have created a fundamental Tableau Waterfall Chart.

Conclusion

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Laurent Mauer
Laurent Mauer
Laurent is the head of engineer at RestApp. He is a multi-disciplinary engineer with experience across many industries, technologies and responsibilities. Laurent is at the heart of our data platform.

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