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Table of contents
What is Tableau?
What is a Waterfall Chart?
Features and Uses of Waterfall Chart in Tableau
Features of Waterfall Chart in Tableau
Uses of Waterfall Chart in Tableau
Creating a Waterfall Chart in Tableau
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Dual Axis in Tableau?
What is a Blended Axis in Tableau?
What are aggregation and disaggregation?
What is a heatmap in Tableau?
What are the connection types in Tableau?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Making Waterfall Chart in Tableau

Author Nitika
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Anubhav Sinha
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12 Jun, 2024 @ 01:30 PM


In the world of data science and analytics, data illustration with the use of patterns and graphs is one of the most crucial ways to enrich storytelling capabilities with data. One of these is the waterfall chart. It is an interesting data visualisation tool which is a  2-dimensional chart. These depict the cumulative effect of sequential positive and negative values. As much fun as it sounds, the users can also customise it by adding text, labels and colours.

We will cover the basic introduction to waterfall charts in Tableau, its features, uses and step-by-step procedure to making waterfall chart in Tableau. 

Making Waterfall Chart in Tableau

What is Tableau?

Tableau is one of the leading Business Intelligence tools present in the game right now. With its uses like Data Visualization, Data Blending, Data Collaboration and Real-time data analysis, Tableau makes its mark in the Business Intelligence industry. Data is cleanly generated in dashboards and worksheets to allow people to gain meaningful insights into the data provided. 

Data is taken from various sources like Excel, PDF, Oracle, or Amazon Web Services. 

This data can also be published to the Tableau Server, where collaboration and distribution mediums are also provided. The Tableau Product Suite includes applications and services like  Tableau Server, Tableau Desktop, Tableau Reader etc.


What is a Waterfall Chart?

Also known as a cascade chart or a floating/flying bridge chart, the waterfall chart is a 2-dimensional chart used to visualise how dimensions contribute to an overall change of measures in a dataset. It shows where the value starts and ends and how it reaches there. The waterfall chart is said to be the most effective and simple way to depict the total change and the parts driving that change. These are used to measure gains and losses over time. As the name suggests, the waterfall chart resembles the flow of water in a waterfall. 

The waterfall chart in Tableau provides us with an in-depth analysis of the unique dimensions and measures contributing to the entirety of the data we are working with.

Waterfall charts are mainly in a horizontal setting. Meaning that the start of the chart is from the horizontal axis and is connected by floating columns which are in relation to the negative or positive comments. 

Note: At least one dimension and one measure is needed for making Waterfall Chart in Tableau. 

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Features and Uses of Waterfall Chart in Tableau

The reason why we make use of waterfall charts is to give context to the data with the help of individual gains and losses, which we do not see on standard bar graphs. Waterfall Charts are used in a wide range of industries. They provide a clear illustration of data patterns. 

Features of Waterfall Chart in Tableau

Waterfall charts come with numerous features.Here are some salient features of making waterfall chart in Tableau. Let us have a look at them:

  • One of the most prevailing features of the Waterfall Chart in Tableau is its compliance and the ability to customise & alter labels and colours and also add annotations.
  • The Waterfall chart helps in displaying a comprehensive depiction of the cumulative values.
  • These charts provide us with a clear grasp of the change in data points in each category. 
  • Waterfall Charts take into consideration the positive and negative values.

Uses of Waterfall Chart in Tableau

Making waterfall chart in Tableau has many uses. These are used in the following ways: 

  • Waterfall charts are mainly used in companies and organisations for financial analysis. These include essential aspects of an organisation like sales, profit, revenue and much more.
  • These are also valuable in making the budget and forecast reports in an organisation.
  • They also provide helpful insight into making progress reports by people in the managerial units. 
  • Waterfall charts help familiarise with the phases of an organisation’s project by involving categories like overhead costs, revenue resources etc.

Creating a Waterfall Chart in Tableau

Let us see how we can make our own Waterfall chart in tableau. Below are the steps to making Waterfall Chart in Tableau.

  • Open a worksheet in Tableau. We are using the sample Superstore data to make a waterfall chart.
  • Remove the existing filters, calculations, rows and columns from the panels.
removing filters


  • Add the ‘sub-category’ and put it into the column section.
  • Add ‘Sum(Profit)’ into the rows section.
  • An automatic bar graph will be shown as follows.
sub categories


  • Go to Row<SUM(Profit)<Quick Table Calculation<Running Total.
running total


  • This will give us a quick running total to our Profit field values. 


  • Now go to the Marks card and change ‘Automatic’ to ‘Gantt Bar’ from the drop-down menu. The Gantt Bar gives us individual flat marks as the data in our plot.
Gantt Bar
gantt bar


  • To the calculated field section, we will add ‘SUM(-Profit)’ and change the Details to Size from the drop-down menu.
calculation section
waterfall chart


  • Change the size of the waterfall chart as per your liking.
adding size


  • To change the colours, add one more calculated field of the same parameter. Go to colours and change as per your liking. Your Waterfall chart is ready!
final waterfall chart

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Dual Axis in Tableau?

The Dual Axis is used to compare multiple measures. These are two independent axes layered on top of each other, which are used to analyse two measures with different scales. A Dual Axis chart is used to present the relationship between two or more variables.

What is a Blended Axis in Tableau?

In Tableau, sometimes, measures share a single axis to display the marks in a single pane. A Blended Axis is used to compare two measured values against the same axis. These are mainly used for comparing measures that have a similar scale and units.

What are aggregation and disaggregation?

Data values are treated in two ways, aggregation and disaggregation. When data values are combined or aggregated to give a higher level of data, it is called aggregation. The disintegration of grouped or aggregated data into its primary form is called disaggregation. 

What is a heatmap in Tableau?

 A Density Heat Map, or Heat Map, is used for analysing areas in a plot where the data points are dense or scattered. Mainly used for large data sets with values overlapping each other, heat maps help to discover various data trends.

What are the connection types in Tableau?

There are two connection types: Live and Extract. A live connection builds a direct connection to the data source, which helps in the fetching of data. It also provides real-time updates. Extracts are snapshots taken from the data source, which can be placed in the Tableau repository.


Hope this article helped you in your learning journey. We have understood the basic introduction to waterfall charts in Tableau, its features, uses and step-by-step procedure to making waterfall chart in Tableau.
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