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Waterfall Chart Basics - Working with Positive Numbers - Part 3

By: Taylor Croonquist

Explore Waterfall Chart Basics, learn how to work with positive numbers.

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...Continued from Page 2






Bringing the Information Into Our Chart:

Now that we have calculated the numbers for our Waterfall Chart, we want to replace the default data in our chart area up top, cells A2:D6, with our own numbers. And to do this, we want to bring the numbers up as a dynamic range using formulas.

Why create dynamic ranges? That way, if we need to update anything in our chart, as we will do later on in this tutorial, we can simply update our original numbers down below and the chart will update automatically.

You can start by changing the series labels at the top. So instead of "Series 1, 2, 3," in cells B1, C1 and D1, we'll type "Base," "Value," and "Total."

  1. Creating the Dynamic Category Title Range: To create a dynamic range for the category titles, select A2 through A6 and type in the formula "=A10" and then holding the Ctrl key down, hit Enter, to input the formula into the rest of the selected cells (see Figure 1, below) .

    Selecting the Rows A2 through A6
    Figure 1: Selecting the Rows A2 through A6

    This brings the category titles into our chart as a dynamic range, as shown in Figure 2 below.

    Resulting Dynamic Titles
    Figure 2: Resulting Dynamic Titles

    That way if we later change the category titles down below, our chart will automatically update.

  2. Creating the Dynamic 'Number' Range: To bring in the Numbers as a dynamic range using formulas, we'll need to repeat the last step. Select cells B2 through D6, type in "=D10", hold the Ctrl key down and hit Enter to input the formula into the rest of the selected cells (see Figure 3, below).

    Selecting Cells B2 through D6
    Figure 3: Selecting Cells B2 through D6

    Make sure to also format D2 through D6 so that they have one decimal point to match the other numbers, as shown in Figure 4 below.

    Resulting Dynamic Titles
    Figure 4: Resulting Dynamic Titles

  3. Moving Back to PowerPoint: With the Excel spreadsheet now completed, close Excel by hitting Ctrl + W, or simply clicking the Close button at the upper-right hand corner of the sheet, and return to PowerPoint. Within PowerPoint, your chart should look like the Figure 5 below.

    Chart with applied values
    Figure 5: Chart with applied values

Adding and Adjusting the Data labels:

Although the chart doesn't look like much yet, we now have all the elements we need to create our Waterfall Chart here in PowerPoint.

  1. Adding Data Labels to the Total: As a first step, we want to add data label to the Total columns. So right-click the green data series, so that all of the green columns are selected, and in the right-click menu, select Add Data Labels as shown in Figure 6 below.
    Adding Data Labels to the Green Series
    Figure 6: Adding Data Labels to the green Series

    Resulting Red Series Data Labels
    Figure 7: Resulting green series Data Labels

  2. Adding Data Labels to the Value: Next we want to add Data Labels to the Value column, so right-click the red data series, so that all of the red columns are selected, and in the right-click menu, select Add Data Labels as shown in Figure 8 below.
    Adding Data Labels to the red Series
    Figure 8: Adding Data Labels to the red Series

    Resulting red series Data Labels
    Figure 9: Resulting red series Data Labels

  3. Adjusting the Data Labels: Now, although this looks okay, we actually want the Total column's Data Labels to sit directly on top of the Value column. So right-click the Total column's Data Labels, so that all of the Data Labels are selected, and select Format Data Labels (see Figure 10, below).

    Select the Green Series Data Labels
    Figure 10: Select the green series Data Labels

    Within the Format Data Labels Task Pane that opens, under Label Position, select Inside Base radio button (see Figure 11, below), and then close the Task Pane.

    Selecting Inside Base
    Figure 11: Selecting Inside Base

  4. Let's also make the Total column's Data Labels stand out as totals by making them bold. Select the Total column's Data Labels, and hit Ctrl + B on your keyboard.

  5. Resulting Formatted Data Labels
    Figure 12: Resulting Formatted Data Labels

Formatting the Column Chart | Continued on Page 4


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