Ultimate Excel Waterfall Chart Course
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Ultimate Excel Waterfall Chart Course

Impressive Excel Waterfall Charts for Your Reports - From Scratch. No Add-ins, No VBA - For ANY Excel Version!
4.9 (55 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
725 students enrolled
Created by Leila Gharani
Last updated 7/2017
Current price: $20 Original price: $60 Discount: 67% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 5 hours on-demand video
  • 6 Articles
  • 2 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Include impressive & dynamic variations of the Waterfall chart in your Management Reports
  • Create the standard Waterfall Chart from scratch (that works with negative values as well)
  • Download the Excel Template and use it now for your reports
  • Optimize the Waterfall chart for presentations
  • Create Vertical Waterfall charts from scratch (that works with negative values as well)
  • Create Stacked Waterfall Charts
  • Learn advanced Excel Chart techniques that you can apply to your other charts to improve your reports
View Curriculum
  • Existing experience and knowledge of Excel's basic charting options and formulas
  • Demonstration will be done in Excel 2016 but all charts can be created in older versions of Excel unless otherwise specified
  • Depending on your Excel version, the chart options can be accessed differently, that is why familiarity with Excel charts is recommended

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

**Course Updated July 2017 to include Stacked Waterfall Charts (1 additional hour of content and updated Excel File)**

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.

 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)
  • 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 - new lectures will be added to address different business issues

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.

Praise for Visualization Secrets for Impressive Reports 

"She frames the content in ways that are applicable to my current job..." -- Lauren Brown, Udemy Student

"She has me thinking of different ways to organize my data...and to better present my results to my readers..." -- Robert Goodman, Udemy Student

"I have purchased several courses on this topic from Udemy, but this is by far the best..." --Merchant, Udemy Student

"Every video I learn something new." -- Darshan Patel, Udemy Student

"Leila does an excellent job to show how to easily update graphs dynamically, and best visualize your data..." -- Ugur, Udemy Student

"Course is clear, to the point and very dynamic. Excellent!" -- Paul Guirlet, Udemy Student

Who is the target audience?
  • You want to learn how to create different variations of the Waterfall chart in Excel
  • Financial Analysts & Controllers
  • Persons responsible for preparing Management Reports
  • Persons interested to learn new Excel techniques to create impressive charts
Curriculum For This Course
34 Lectures
Introduction to Waterfall Charts
3 Lectures 11:18

I highly recommend you watch this free preview to find out what is included in the Ultimate Excel Waterfall chart course and who the right audience for this course is.  

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.

Preview 05:38

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.
Preview 04:25

Click on the link attached to this lecture to download the Excel Workbook which includes all the different variations of the Waterfall Chart I cover in this course. 

When I add new lectures which include new variations of the Waterfall chart, I will always update this Workbook. 

You can use this file as your Excel Waterfall chart template and adjust to your reporting needs.

In the exercise tab, you can complete the exercises outlined at the end of each section.

This Excel Waterfall Chart Template includes:

  • Waterfall chart which also works with negative cumulative values 
  • Waterfall chart variations such as handling long labels, small/invisible deltas etc.
  • Vertical Excel Waterfall charts (or Waterfall bar charts)
  • Stacked Waterfall Charts
  • Traditional approach to creating Waterfall charts
  • Business examples of Waterfall charts
Download Excel File HERE
Excel In-built Waterfall Chart in 2016 Version
2 Lectures 25:27

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 Chart & it's Limitations

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 2016 Waterfall - Advantages Versus Disadvantages
Excel Waterfall Chart from Scratch for ANY Excel Version
5 Lectures 50:02

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.

Easiest Method to Create the Waterfall in ANY Excel Version

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.

Flexible Waterfall Chart - Step by Step

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.

Preview 05:20

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.

Adding Subtotals to the Excel Waterfall Chart

Please complete the exercise based on your own data to create a Waterfall chart from scratch!

Your Challenge - Create the Waterfall from Scratch
Improving the Waterfall Chart for Better Presentation
6 Lectures 45:34

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.   

What to do When Category Labels are Too Long - Long Horizontal Axis Labels

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.

My Favorite Trick - Handling Long Category Labels in Reports

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 Elbow Connectors 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.

Add Dynamic Arrows from Start-to-End and Show Total Change

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.

What to do When Delta Values are Too Small

Please complete the exercise based on own data to build on your existing Waterfall chart.

Your Challenge - Add Dynamic Arrows to the Waterfall
Vertical Waterfall (Bar Waterfall) Excel Chart
8 Lectures 01:14:38

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.

Easy Method to Create a Vertical Waterfall Chart

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.

Vertical Waterfall Chart With Improved Data Labels

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!

Flexible Vertical Waterfall Chart - Positive & Negative

In this lecture I will build on what you learnt last and full proof the Waterfall chart. We will normalize our Y values.

Full Proofing the Vertical Waterfall Chart

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.

The Quickest Vertical Waterfall Chart - Use This to Save Time

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: Vertical 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.

Waterfall Add-on: Horizontal Dynamic Arrows to Show Total Change

Complete this exercise to transform the Waterfall chart you created in the first exercise to a Vertical Waterfall chart.

Your Challenge: Create a Vertical Waterfall Chart
Traditional Excel Waterfall Chart: Stacked Approach
3 Lectures 39:07

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 Approach for Waterfall Charts Using Stacked Columns

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.

Traditional Stacked Approach Tweaked to Work Below the Axis (negative values)

Here I show you an alternative to creating the connectors used in Waterfall charts. 

An Alternative Method for the Waterfall Connectors
Stacked Excel Waterfall Charts
4 Lectures 57:01

In this lecture I provide you with an overview of different approaches and techniques for creating stacked waterfall charts and my personal favorites. 

Overview - Different Approaches to Stacked Waterfall Charts

I find this option to be the easiest to visualize and also for the reader to understand. Stacked waterfall charts can be confusing, specially when one stack has a different sign to the other stack - for example: one stack shows a negative change and the other stack shows a positive change. How can this be visualized from your side but also understood from the readers side? This lecture shows you one option.

Option 1 for Excel Stacked Waterfall Chart

This option requires a little bit of effort to visualize from your side, but can handle many stacks and also stacks that have different signs. How does it do that? By showing separate stacks when all stacks have the same sign (i.e. all moving either in positive or negative direction) and showing one single stack with an alternate color when there are mixed sign stacks. 

Make sure you download the template from the first section.

Option 2 for Excel Stacked Waterfall Charts - Part 1

This lecture builds on the last one to complete option 2 for stacked waterfall charts.

Make sure you download the Excel workbook from the first section to follow along.

Option 2 Continued for Excel Stacked Waterfall Charts
Final Words & Cheat Sheets
3 Lectures 04:20

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
Final Words

The attached Waterfall Chart cheat sheets provide brief and simple instructions to help you quickly create the waterfall charts in this course. Don't forget to download the PDF document and keep it handy.

Download Waterfall Cheat Sheets HERE

The aim of this quiz is to test your knowledge of the different techniques used to create a flexible Waterfall Chart.

Final Quiz
3 questions

How to get my other courses & more useful materials
About the Instructor
Leila Gharani
4.7 Average rating
1,027 Reviews
4,855 Students
4 Courses
Excel Instructor, Business Consultant

I help companies use Excel better to improve their reports by providing customized training sessions, Dashboard Training and Enhanced Visualization Techniques. I also help improve processes, by designing interfaces and tools with VBA for Excel. 

I am a Certified Microsoft Excel Expert and have over 15 years of experience implementing and training users on Management Information Systems of different sizes and nature - these include SAP BW and Oracle HFM. My background is: Masters in Economics, Economist, Consultant, Oracle HFM Accounting Systems Expert & Project Manager. My passion is teaching and solving difficult Excel problems. I am also addicted to learning and enjoy taking online courses on a variety of topics.

Currently, the Excel training sessions I offer are offline & onsite. However, all the classes that I've myself taken, have been online. I find them to be very practical and effective. For this reason, I decided to bring my offline classes to the online world. "Data Visualization Secrets for Impressive Reports" is my first course for this.

I place great value on keeping my training sessions not only informative but also interesting. With technical topics like Excel, students learn the most when they attempt to solve a problem on their own. They are most engaged when they make mistakes and attempt to fix these. For this reason, I make sure to include enough examples and exercises for students to download and work with.

I look forward to having you in my classes.