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Chart of the Month – July 2014 – Data-Driven Connectors Between Waterfall Segments

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This chart may look like a simple waterfall chart, but it has a unique feature that you may like. The connectors between the segments are data-driven. The only drawback is that these connectors are slightly visible above and below the segments. If you're careful about the color you choose for the connectors, this drawback can be minimized.

This is how the chart should look when you're finished inputting data and formatting the chart. Note: we like the labeling for the segments to be next to the segment, so we place these manually (the audience doesn't have to work hard at all to absorb the information this way).

Here's how to set this up. Insert a stacked column chart (or use a PowerFrameworks waterfall template). Input your data in the datasheet. Below is the datasheet for the chart above. We put the connectors in first, but you can put the base and value data in first if you choose. The connectors will be formatted as a line chart. The base and value columns will stay formatted as the stacked column chart.

The light blue leader lines indicate the type of chart to use on the chart-selection menu. In the "Insert Chart" menu on the left below, you see that the chart originally inserted into your document was the stacked column. The "Change Chart Type" menu on the right below, you see that the connectors are a line chart.

The red leader lines show the data for the connectors. The light green leader lines show the data for the green segments in the stacked column chart. The gray leader lines show the data for the invisible segments in the stacked column chart. This is really only one chart: you can change specific elements in the chart to different chart types. Be sure to download the example and see just how the elements are formatted as described above.

We hope you enjoy using this chart.

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