Friday, September 18, 2015

Power BI: Comparing the Waterfall, Line and Column Charts

The Waterfall visualization (often called a progressive bar chart) combines a column chart with a line chart. In effect, it lays out the incremental data as individual columns that add incrementally to the total. Visually, each record provides you with a proportionately sized column that is added to the total over time. It is a great visual for showing unit and sales growth.

For our example below, we used the monthly gross profit numbers for the Adventure Works sample database. Using a waterfall chart, the value for each month shows up like a step, sized according to the impact it has on the total. Showing sales, gross profit, or any other incremental item allows you to see not only the overall trend, but also the individual contribution by month. It is a really nice way to display these types of trends.

These three graphs display the same data to compare the Waterfall Chart with the Column Chart and the Line Chart.

Waterfall Chart

Line Chart

Column Chart

You can visit the Power BI tutorial at

1 comment:

Klaus said...

We created the Power BI Ultimate Waterfall Custom Visual.
It has a lot of clever functionality built-in. Like Chart orientation, small multiples, sub totals, Start value, deviation calculation and many more.
We are interested in your feedback!
Which functionality you still miss?