Waterfall charts in style of The Economist with R


Waterfall charts are sometimes quite helpful to illustrate the various moving parts in financial data, in particular when I have positive and negative values like a profit and loss statement (P&L). However, they can be a bit of a pain to produce in Excel. Not so in R, thanks to the waterfall package by James Howard. In combination with the latticeExtra package it is nearly a one-liner to produce a good looking waterfall chart that mimics the look of The Economist:

Example of a waterfall chart in R
data(rasiel) # Example data of the waterfall package
#    label          value   subtotal
# 1  Net Sales       150    EBIT
# 2  Expenses       -170    EBIT 
# 3  Interest         18    Net Income
# 4  Gains            10    Net Income
# 5  Taxes            -2    Net Income

               waterfallchart(value ~ label, data=rasiel,
                              groups=subtotal, main="P&L")
Of course you can create a waterfall chart also with ggplot2, the Learning R blog has a post on this topic.


instantkaffee said...

Thanks for the post. How can I add values to the chart ? http://stackoverflow.com/questions/22265856/r-add-values-to-waterfall-chart

Markus Gesmann said...

Well, stackoverflow is fast than me in answering this question.

James Howard said...

I have given a non-answer on SO.

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