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Office Productivity / Microsoft

Ultimate Excel Waterfall Chart Course

Create impressive Excel Waterfall Charts for Your Reports - From Scratch. No Add-ins, No VBA - For ANY Excel Version!


Want to Include impressive Waterfall / Bridge Charts in your Corporate Reports?

Waterfall graphs or bridge charts provide great visualizations for your Management Reports. In this brand new course you will learn how to include different variations of the Waterfall Chart in your reports. No VBA or Add-ins are required. The best part is you can use ANY version of Excel too. You'd like to impress your Management and colleagues by introducing new techniques to create simple and effective Waterfall charts? Then this course is for you!

Course includes:

  • Downloadable Excel Workbook of all Waterfall Charts covered. Feel free to use these as your Waterfall Templates.    
  • Cheat Sheets in PDF format as your Quick Reference Guide for the future.

This course is right for you if:

  • You want to learn how to create different variations of the Waterfall chart in Excel
  • You are a financial analyst / controller responsible for creating management reports
  • You are interested to learn new Excel techniques to create impressive charts

Why use a Waterfall Chart?

A waterfall chart or a bridge chart is a very liked chart by Management. For good reason too. They provide an effective way of visualizing your data that helps you understand how you got from one balance to another balance. They are common for financial figures – they allow you to see the profit development – how you got from gross sales to net income or how your earnings developed from last year to this year. But they are also a good story teller for non-financial data.

Do you use Excel add-ins for your Waterfall or struggle with your data preparation?

Many people use Excel add-ins to create the Waterfall chart. Why? Because they save on the frustration and headache that comes with preparing the data properly for the charts. It can get really confusing and end up costing a lot of time. On the downside, sometime add-ins can't do exactly what you'd like and for some charts you might want to do it from scratch. You might also be interested to find out what the best method is for creating Waterfall charts from scratch in Excel. If you are, this is the right course for you!

Waterfall Charts Covered

  • Excel 2016 Waterfall chart (for those that have Excel 2016)
  • The most flexible method to create the Waterfall chart (for any Excel version) - This is a surprise for many!
  • How to tweak the Waterfall chart for presentation purposes, e.g. long category labels can result in an "untidy" look for the chart and divert attention from your message, adding dynamic, moving arrows that reflect the total difference between end and beginning values, etc.
  • Vertical Waterfall chart - bar Waterfall version - (for any Excel version)
  • and much more...

Excel Version

You can take this course no matter which Excel version you have. The course is done on Excel 2016 but you can follow along on your version as well. Everything can be recreated in older version of Excel – 2007, 2010 & 2013, except of course the new Excel 2016 waterfall chart. Whenever I use a technique that’s available from a specific Excel version, I do state it in the video. You don’t need to worry about compatibility when you share your charts. Something you need to worry about if you use Excel 2016 standard waterfall chart. 

Full details


  • Introduction to Waterfall Charts & Course Scope
    Waterfall Chart Course Introduction
    In this introduction I show the type of Excel waterfall charts / bridge charts I will cover during the training. Please note: Demonstrations are done with Excel 2016, but you can take this course if you have older versions of Excel as well. The only Excel chart you wouldn't be able to replicate is the new built-in Excel 2016 Waterfall Chart. Apart from this, all other charts will be compatible with older versions of Excel. As long as you are familiar with Excel's charting and graph options, you should be quickly able to find the corresponding option in your Excel version.
    When to Use a Waterfall Chart? Business Case Examples
    This lecture provides you some background on the waterfall chart and shows you where - You shouldn't be using the Waterfall chart - You should be using the Waterfall chart - Real business examples which include a Waterfall chart to track Cash Flow changes, Working Capital changes, Profit (EBIT) development as well as the vertical Waterfall chart.
    Download Excel File HERE
    Download the Waterfall Demo Excel file which includes all the different variations of the Waterfall Chart I cover in this course. There is also an exercise tab for you to test and apply your knowledge.
  • Excel 2016 Built-in Waterfall Chart - What Works, What Doesn't
    Excel 2016 Waterfall Chart & its Limitations
    Excel 2016 came with a built-in waterfall chart. In this lecture I’m going to show you how to use the Excel 2016 standard waterfall chart. I will also highlight it’s shortcomings and why I still prefer to create the waterfall chart from scratch. Even in Excel 2016. It obviously involves more steps but it comes with great flexibility. Flexibility that the new built-in Waterfall graph does not provide. Those of you that have older versions of Excel, can get to see how the Excel 2016 Waterfall chart works. You cannot replicate the steps in Excel as you do need the 2016 version. This is the ONLY lecture that requires Excel 2016, if you want to follow along. All the remaining lectures and techniques can be replicated in older versions of Excel. Those of you that have Excel 2016, can see the advantages and the disadvantages of using this new graph.
    Excel 2016 Waterfall - Advantages Versus Disadvantages
    This lecture provides a summary of the new Excel 2016 built-in Waterfall chart. It highlights it's advantages and the shortcomings of the new Waterfall graph.
  • Excel Waterfall Chart from Scratch for ANY Excel Version
    Easiest Method to Create the Waterfall in ANY Excel Version
    Here, I take you through the basics of creating the Excel Waterfall graph from scratch. I will introduce you to 3 "secret" - or better, "less known" Excel techniques that you can use to create an easy and super flexible Waterfall chart in Excel. The techniques I describe here allow you to quickly create a Waterfall Chart that not only works on ANY Excel version but also shows negative cumulative values. If you've been using stacked columns until now, you can say goodbye to them. You will learn a much simpler approach here. The three techniques talked about here, can be applied to ANY other chart to get the impact that you want from the chart. Do pay close attention to these and think about how you could use the techniques in your other Excel charts.
    Flexible Waterfall Chart - Step by Step
    In the last lecture I introduced you to important techniques required to create a flexible chart. This lecture, will be hands-on where I take you through each step in Excel from scratch until we have our flexible Waterfall chart which also works with negative cumulative values as well, i.e. below the horizontal axis.
    How to use this Waterfall Chart as Your Template
    I show you here how to customize the existing Waterfall Excel chart to your own data sets. For example, what you need to update if you have more delta categories than the ones I show in the lectures.
    Adding Subtotals to the Excel Waterfall Chart
    Some Waterfall charts need subtotals. I find that when I have a lot of deltas, the graph is easier to read when you add subtotals to it.In this lecture I show you how.
  • Improving the Waterfall Chart for Better Presentation
    What to Do When Category Labels are Too Long - Long Horizontal Axis Labels
    Real business case scenarios are generally more complex than the models you learn in a standard course. What if you have very long category labels or you want to group your categories on the x-axis? You might want to format certain categories different to the rest. You might also want to add deviations to previous year deltas below the horizontal axis. How can you handle these cases in Excel? In this lecture, I will show you various options.
    My Favorite Trick - Handling Long Category Labels in Reports
    In this video I will introduce you to a very "hidden" Excel feature that can help you improve your Excel Reports. The feature you see here, can be used for MANY different situations. Handling long category labels is just one of them. You can apply this technique to your other Excel files to create nicely designed Excel Corporate reports.
    Add Dynamic Elbow Connectors from Start-to-End and Show Total Change
    Here you will learn how to create dynamic Elbow connectors that are a PART of your Excel chart. They will move up and down dynamically as the values for your Waterfall chart change. You will also see how you can dynamically present the difference between your end and start values in the chart for easier readability. This technique will surely impress your management.
    Add Dynamic Arrows from Start-to-End and Show Total Change
    This is an alternate technique to the one shown in the previous lecture and works well if your end value is negative. It includes floating arrows "above" the chart - Actually, they look like they are above the Excel graph, but in fact they a PART of your chart. They also reflect the difference between your end and start values for easier readability.
    What to do When Delta Values are Too Small
    In many business case scenarios the delta values (the values corresponding to your changes) are too small in comparison to the start and end values. In this lecture I show you a smart alternative to handle such cases.
  • Vertical Waterfall (Bar Waterfall) Excel Chart
    Easy Method to Create a Vertical Waterfall Chart
    I show you here, a simple approach to creating a Waterfall bar chart (Vertical Waterfall Chart) in Excel. The method uses stacked bars. It’s relatively easy to create and helps you get a good feel of using bars instead of columns. It does come with a limitation though. It works as long as everything is on the positive side of the axis. In later lectures I will show you other methods that are fully flexible, which work on both sides of the axis. It’s always best to start small and then build on it. That’s what we're going to do in this lecture.
    Vertical Waterfall Chart With Improved Data Labels
    Here, we build on the Excel chart we created in the previous lecture and improve the positioning of the data labels to have them all lined up at the outside end of the bars.
    Flexible Vertical Waterfall Chart - Positive & Negative
    Here, I show you how to create a Waterfall bar chart (Vertical Waterfall graph) that works on both the positive and negative side of the axis. To keep our data preparation table as simple as possible, you need to use another technique. The techniques we applied in the first sections of the course to create a fully flexible standard Waterfall chart, unfortunately do not all work in the "bar" version of the Waterfall. Watch this lecture to find the best approach. This might surprise you!
    Full Proofing the Vertical Waterfall Chart
    In this lecture I will build on what you learned last and full proof the Waterfall chart. We will normalize our Y values.
    The Quickest Vertical Waterfall Chart - Use This to Save Time
    Here, you will see how to use the "hidden" technique which I previously introduced you to, to create a vertical Waterfall chart in no-time. This is specially great and saves a lot of time if you are designing a prototype to show your colleagues and management.
    Waterfall Add-on: Vertical Dynamic Arrows to Show Total Change
    You will find out the best method to add a vertical dynamic line (with arrows) to your Excel chart that also reflects the difference between end and start values. These dynamic arrows, look like they are outside your chart, but in fact they are a part of your chart. The positioning of the line changes depending on the values for your bars and so does the total difference.
    Waterfall Add-on: Horizontal Dynamic Arrows to Show Total Change
    You will learn how to add a dynamic line that reflects the length of the difference between your end and start values and also shows this value in the middle. The line looks like it is outside your chart but it is dynamic and adjusts it's size and position as your data changes. Here, you will learn a brand new technique you can use in other charts as well.
  • Traditional Excel Waterfall Chart: Stacked Approach
    Traditional Approach for Waterfall Charts Using Stacked Columns
    In this lecture, I show you the traditional approach of setting up the Excel Waterfall chart which is using stacked columns. It is always good to see different ways of getting to the same place. Note that the approach shown in this lecture works as long as cumulative values are positive. In the next lecture, I will show you how to expand on the data preparation and use the stacked column method to create a Waterfall chart that also works with negative cumulative values.
    Traditional Stacked Approach Tweaked to Work Below the Axis (negative values)
    This lecture expands on the previous lecture. I take you through the steps of setting up a Waterfall chart which also works on negative cumulative values using the stacked column approach. You will see here, how your data preparation needs to be setup. I explain each step as I set it all up from scratch.
    An Alternative Method for the Waterfall Connectors
    Here I show you an alternative to creating the connectors used in Waterfall charts.
  • Waterfall Summary
    Wrapping up...
    Where I wrap-up everything you learnt in this course which includes - the various versions of Waterfall charts covered - important techniques required to create these charts in a flexible & easy manner - the approach you need to take when designing more complex charts in Excel
    Waterfall Cheat Sheets to Help you Remember

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