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How to Create a Waterfall Chart in Tableau

4 April 2023

How to Create a Waterfall Chart in Tableau



A waterfall chart, also known as a bridge chart, is a useful visualization tool for tracking changes in a value over time. In Tableau, creating a waterfall chart requires a few simple steps, but the results can be powerful and informative. In this guide, we'll show you how to create a waterfall chart in Tableau, including step-by-step instructions, code examples, and use cases.


Step 1: Prepare Your Data

Before creating a waterfall chart, you need to make sure your data is in the right format. Your data should have at least two columns: one for the category or group and one for the value. If you want to create a stacked waterfall chart, you'll need a third column for the subcategory.


Step 2: Create the Chart

Once your data is prepared, you can create the waterfall chart in Tableau. Here are the steps:


1.     Drag the category or group column to the Rows shelf.

2.     Drag the value column to the Columns shelf.

3.     Right-click on the value axis and select "Add Reference Line."

4.     In the "Add Reference Line" dialog box, select "Line" and set the value to 0.

5.     Click OK.

6.     Click on the "Show Me" button and select the waterfall chart type.


Step 3: Customize the Chart

You can customize the waterfall chart in Tableau to better fit your needs. Here are a few things you can do:


1.     Change the colours of the positive and negative bars.

2.     Add labels to the bars.

3.     Add a total line.

4.     Add a subtotal line for stacked waterfall charts.


Code Examples:

If you prefer to create a waterfall chart using Tableau's scripting language, here's an example of how to do it:


SUM([Sales]) as Sales,

PREVIOUS_VALUE(SUM([Sales])) as PrevSales,

IF FIRST()==0 THEN SUM([Sales]) END as FirstSales,

IF LAST()==0 THEN SUM([Sales]) END as LastSales


This code calculates the values for each bar in the waterfall chart based on the previous and current values. You can then use these calculated fields to create the chart.

Waterfall charts are useful for visualizing changes in a value over time, such as revenue or profit. They can also be used to show the impact of various factors on a value, such as sales by product category or expenses by department.


In this guide, we have shown you how to create a waterfall chart in Tableau. We covered the steps involved in preparing your data and creating the chart, as well as some customization options and use cases. We also provided some code examples for those who prefer to use Tableau's scripting language. Additionally, we shared some links to official documentation, Tableau courses, and other helpful resources for learning more about Tableau. With this guide and these resources, you can start creating your own waterfall charts and other visualizations in Tableau.

Official Documentation:

JBI Training Tableau Courses:

If you want to learn more about Tableau and its features, you can also consider taking a Tableau course. JBI Training offers several courses on Tableau, including Tableau fundamentals and advanced courses. These courses cover a wide range of topics and techniques in Tableau, including how to create different types of charts, how to use Tableau's scripting language, and how to connect to different data sources.

Other Tableau Articles:

There are also many other resources available online for learning Tableau and its features. Here are a few articles you may find helpful:

" A Comprehensive Guide to Creating KPIs in Tableau" by Craig Hartzel

" The Most Powerful Tools for Data Visualisation in 2023" by Daniel George


About the author: Daniel West
Tech Blogger & Researcher for JBI Training

+44 (0)20 8446 7555

[email protected]



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