Waterfall Chart

A waterfall chart is a form of data visualization that helps in understanding the cumulative effect of sequentially introduced positive or negative values.
If the values are not defined ahead of time or variable i.e. Starting Budget, Quarterly spend (YTD), Remaining Budget is a good example where the number of quarters elapsed cannot be predetermined at build time.

Vitara offers a variation of the waterfall widget which includes a starting metric and cumulative sum of all the subsequent metrics finally shows a total bar.

The chart enables plot options based on individual metrics. The property editor displays a list of metrics, each metric can be expanded to choose plot options for that metric.
We have an option Non-Additive, where we cannot include the starting value in the total value and Auto compute total option, where we can disable the total value in the chart.


Attributes: Optional. There are two drop zones for the attribute. The ‘group by’ drop zone and ‘break by’ by drop zone.
Attributes are needed only if we want to create groups according to attribute values or if we want to break the metrics according to attribute values. We can also use both attributes at a time.
You can drop an attribute in ‘break by’ drop zone if you want to show the metric break up over attribute elements. The corresponding values of the metric for each attribute element will be shown in incremental order.
You can drop an attribute into the ‘group by’ zone to create small multiples. To know about small multiples, click here

Metrics: A minimum of 2 metrics are required.
The first Metric M1 is used as the starting value, the second metric M2 corresponding to each attribute is used to add or subtract from the starting value. The last bar (Total) represents the cumulative sum of metric M1 and metric M2.

Use as Filter Option - Not available

In the example below the group by and break by features are explained using the following data.

waterfall inputs

Break by: If we drop quarter attribute in ‘break by’ drop zone, by default chart will take the first value of the first metric as start value. If we want we can change it to total or last value also. The second metric will show in the break by the format of a quarter attribute.
In our example, the quarterly values of Delta metric are added/subtracted in 4 steps of Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4. The third metric will be a cumulative sum to the first and second metrics. The default function for the third metric is total. We can apply a break to individual metrics also.

waterfall breakby

Group by: When we put an attribute in the group by Dropbox, for every element of the attribute an individual chart will be drawn.
To the above example, the year attribute is added to the group by drop zone. The year attribute has two elements 2015 and 2016. Now the chart will show the results grouped by year attribute i.e.quarterly information for 2015 and quarterly information for 2016.

waterfall groupby


We can customize the appearance of the waterfall chart like setting bar colors and bar width.
1. Bar Colors
In the Vitara waterfall chart, we can set three different colors for the bars. They are up value color, down value color and total bar color. These settings are available in the Appearance tab.
See the screenshot below which shows the bar colors that we set.
Up color - Green, Down color - Red, Total color - Blue

2. Bar Width
We can also adjust the width of bars in the waterfall chart. To set the width of the bars, go to the appearance tab and specify some value(e.g, 10) in the Bar/Column Width input field.
Compare the bar width(10) in the below screenshot with the bar width in above screenshot.

Vertical/Horizontal Waterfall

We have an ‘Invert Axes’ option in the Waterfall chart which helps to switch between Vertical and Horizontal Waterfall charts.

1. Vertical Waterfall
By default, ‘Invert Axes’ option is enabled which creates a Vertical Waterfall chart. For vertical waterfall charts,the bars are horizontally oriented and the category axis is plotted on vertical axis. See the screenshot below.

2. Horizontal Waterfall
To use the Horizontal waterfall chart, just disable the ‘Invert Axes’ checkbox. For the Horizontal waterfall chart, the bars are vertically oriented and the category axis is plotted on a horizontal axis.
See the screenshot below:


In the waterfall chart, there is one specific feature for the value axis called ‘Auto Compute Start Value’.
This setting will be useful if the first metric value in the chart is comparatively very bigger than the subsequent metric values and if we are not clear of which value to be set as the start value.
This setting is available in Axes > Value axis > Start Value. By default, this option is in disabled mode. See the screenshot below

Below is the screenshot which shows how the chart looks before and after enabling ‘Auto Compute Start Value’
If you noticed the above screenshot, the start value in value axis and bar lengths are different. Also the space between the category axis line and bars has also changed.

Data Labels

From 4.4 version, a feature is added in waterfall chart to show the data labels outside the bar/column. This is available in data labels tab with ‘Show Label Outside Bar/Column’ checkbox. See the screenshot below

By default, this option will be enabled for the charts created from 4.1. Below screenshot shows how the data labels look after enabling ‘Show Label Outside Bar/Column’ option

‘Show Label Outside Bar/Column’ option is linked with horizontal data label positions. i.e, if data label is set to be shown outside the bar/coulmn, then the horizontal data label positions right, left, center will not have any effect on the chart.

Creating Groups and group settings:

In 4.2 release the concept of creating groups is introduced in the waterfall chart. We can group metrics of same nature. For example all the revenue metrics in one group and all the expenses metrics in group. The cumulative sum of these group will give net profit/loss statement.

1. The default Group:

All the metrics present in the chart forms a default group. We can add new metrics to this default group or remove metrics from this default group. When we add a new metric to the dossier or document, this new metric will be in the default group. We can create a new group from the metrics in the default group. Below is the screenshot of default group when the waterfall chart is given three metrics; Budget,Delta and Actual.

waterfall groups 1

We can rename the default group or any other group. Place the cursor in the group name text input box and type the text you want as the group name.

2. Group Settings:

Each group will have two options. 1. Add subTotal and 2. Deduct Value. Expand the ‘Group Settings’ tab to get these options.

waterfall groups 2

Add Subtotal:

We can create a bar for each group displaying the subtotal of that specific group. Enable the ‘Add Subtotal” check box.

Deduct Value:

Waterfall chart will do cumulative sum of the metrics/ metric groups in the chart. If we want to deduct any metric/metric group value from this cumulative sum, use ‘Deduct Value’ option in that specific group. For example, to generate the profit/loss statement we have deduct the expenses from revenues generated. In this scenario we have to set ‘Deduct Value’ for expenses related metric/metric group.

3. Creating New groups:

To create a new group of metrics please refer the below screenshots.

waterfall groups 3

waterfall groups 4

By default all the metrics in the chart will be in the default group. To add metrics to the new group drag and drop the metrics from the default group into the newly created group.

Each group will have its own ‘Group settings’ option and option to create a new group.

waterfall groups 5

Plot line

From 4.8.0 version, we’ve introduced plotlines feature to the waterfall chart , plotlines can be added on metric sources in waterfall chart.

waterfall plotline

waterfall plotline

Background Image

The steps to set a background image for all Vitara charts are explained in backgroundImage.

Small Multiples

In 4.1. a version of Vitara charts, waterfall chart by default enables small multiple features when we apply an attribute in ‘Group by’ drop zone. To disable small multiple open property editor by clicking on the ‘Edit’ button. Below is the screenshot of the property editor.

waterfall smallmultiple

Disable the checkbox ‘Enable Small Multiples’.

Small multiples is explained in smallMultiples.

Zero Value Bar

In Version, we included a new feature that allows users to show zero value bars. This feature can be enabled under the “Waterfall” tabs, where it can be used to display metrics, whose values are zero.