Blog: Create a waterfall chart when the data differs by several orders of magnitude

With a starting value of $288,222,000.21 USD and a final total of $285,769,892.75 USD, the middle values used to calculate the total in the initial dataset contained extremely large variances in values.  The scale and degree of variance created a challenge for creating a waterfall chart in Power BI.

ItemPrice, $
Start value288,222,000.21
A(60,311.00)
B(333,111.00)
C64,444.00
D(187,856.00)
E108,886.00
F(268,806.00)
G41,961.00
H1,803,265.00
I(12,606.00)
J(380,246.00)
K1,650,164.00
L(1,863,598.00)
Final value285,769,892.75

With the highest value being $288,222,000.21 million and the lowest value being negative $1,863,598.00, the challenge was fitting all the data into one chart.  Visualizing the chart on a first run yielded the following result:

waterfall chart original

This view has two problems:

One, changing the display units would not help.

Two, Normalizing the data wouldn’t make sense to the end user.

Solution

To fit all relevant data onto one chart, change the start value of the highest number on the Y-Axis. This will show the progression from beginning value to the final number through price increases and will yield a chart that is clear and vivid.

create a waterfall chart