Create a waterfall chart using matplotlib Python.

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by kanika dot icon Updated: May 9, 2023

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We can create the waterfall plot in MATLAB. We can combine MATLAB's plotting functions and basic 3D geometry. These tools allow the creation of a waterfall model. It can be of various shapes, sizes, and textures. It will scale or adjust it. We can customize the waterfall plot to fit the surrounding environment. 

We can animate MATLAB's plotting functions. We can do it by allowing the waterfall to vary speeds and angles of flow. We can use the waterfall charts in financial analysis. We can visualize the cumulative impact of a series of positive or negative values over time. The impacts can be revenues, costs, or net income. We can use these plots to represent data on categorical or quantitative variables. We cannot represent it in Cartesian coordinates. 

In a waterfall plot, meshgrid is a function used to build a rectangular grid from an array of x and y values. The meshgrid function is useful for plotting functions of two variables. It can evaluate the functions of two variables over a rectangular region. The meshgrid function creates a two-dimensional grid from two one-dimensional arrays. The two arrays contain the x and y coordinates. The meshgrid function can create a 3D surface by combining the x and y coordinates. We can do it with a third array containing the z coordinates. The time window length determines the time resolution in a waterfall plot. For example, if the waterfall plot covers one hour, the plot's time resolution will be one minute. We can determine the resolution by the number of data points used to create the plot. The higher the number of data points, the higher the plot's resolution. 

Dashed lines are another feature of waterfall plots. They are useful for representing changes in cumulative totals over time. They can indicate the data point value added or subtracted from the total. 

We can create different types of waterfalls with a waterfall plot matlab: 

  • Linear Waterfall: This is the simplest type of waterfall plot, with the bars moving from left to right. 
  • Step Waterfall: This plot type has the bars moving up and down in a staircase-like pattern. 
  • Staircase Waterfall: This waterfall plot has the bars move in a staircase-like pattern. But we can connect the steps in a curve rather than a straight line. 
  • Zigzag Waterfall: This type of waterfall plot has the bars move in a zigzag pattern. 

Waterfall plots are a landscape design type. It uses flowing water features such as streams and waterfalls. Here are some tips for creating a waterfall plot matlab: 

  • Choose a good data set for your waterfall plot. 
  • Choose the right type of material for the plot. 
  • Design the plot to match the desired effect. 
  • Use Matlab's built-in waterfall plot function to create your plot. 
  • Use the right visualization tools to help you understand the data. 
  • Add annotations to the plot. 

Different designs, like cascading waterfalls, terraced waterfalls, and cascades, can create these effects. We can tailor the waterfall plot's design to the individual's needs and preferences. 

A ribbon plot helps visualize the relationship between two or more variables. It is like a stacked bar chart. But the bars relate to a ribbon-like shape. We can do it by allowing for a clearer visual representation of the data. 

A contour plot is a type of chart that uses lines to visualize the changes in the values of a set of data points over time. It can help to represent trends or patterns in the data. It can illustrate the changes between different points in a data series. 

A histogram is a visual representation of the number of occurrences of each value of a given dataset. We can represent it as a bar chart, with the bars representing the frequency of each value. We can arrange the bars from left to right in ascending order, with the highest value on the right. The height of each bar indicates the occurrences of the corresponding value. 

To create a waterfall plot, you need to have data points for each step in the process. You can then plot those points on a graph with the x-axis. We can represent the steps in the process, and the y-axis represents the value of the data points. We should arrange the steps that occur in the process. We can draw lines connecting the data points to create a waterfall effect. This means each line should connect the previous point to the next one at a 45° angle. It is important to note that the lines should not cross each other, as this can confuse the graph. You can add labels to the graph when we can plot the data points and draw the lines connecting them. It will make it easier to understand. You can also add a legend and notation to the graph if needed. 

Fig1: Preview of the Code and output.


In this solution, we are creating a waterfall chart.

def waterfall_plot(fig,ax,X,Y,Z):
    Make a waterfall plot
        fig,ax : matplotlib figure and axes to populate
        Z : n,m numpy array. Must be a 2d array even if only one line should be plotted
        X,Y : n,m array
    # Set normalization to the same values for all plots
    norm = plt.Normalize(Z.min().min(), Z.max().max())
    # Check sizes to loop always over the smallest dimension
    n,m = Z.shape
    if n>m:
        X=X.T; Y=Y.T; Z=Z.T
        m,n = n,m

    for j in range(n):
        # reshape the X,Z into pairs 
        points = np.array([X[j,:], Z[j,:]]).T.reshape(-1, 1, 2)
        segments = np.concatenate([points[:-1], points[1:]], axis=1)        
        lc = LineCollection(segments, cmap='plasma', norm=norm)
        # Set the values used for colormapping
        lc.set_linewidth(2) # set linewidth a little larger to see properly the colormap variation
        line = ax.add_collection3d(lc,zs=(Y[j,1:]+Y[j,:-1])/2, zdir='y') # add line to axes

    fig.colorbar(lc) # add colorbar, as the normalization is the same for all, it doesent matter which of the lc objects we use

import numpy as np; import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from matplotlib.collections import LineCollection
from mpl_toolkits.mplot3d import Axes3D

# Generate data
x = np.linspace(-2,2, 500)
y = np.linspace(-2,2, 40)
X,Y = np.meshgrid(x,y)
Z = np.sin(X**2+Y**2)
# Generate waterfall plot
fig = plt.figure()
ax = fig.add_subplot(111, projection='3d')
ax.set_xlabel('X') ; ax.set_xlim3d(-2,2)
ax.set_ylabel('Y') ; ax.set_ylim3d(-2,2)
ax.set_zlabel('Z') ; ax.set_zlim3d(-1,1)


Follow the steps carefully to get the output easily.

  1. Install Jupyter Notebook on your computer.
  2. Open terminal and install the required libraries with following commands.
  3. Install numpy - pip install numpy.
  4. Install matplotlib - pip install matplotlib.
  5. Copy the code using the "Copy" button above and paste it into your IDE's Python file.
  6. Run the file.

I hope you found this useful. I have added the link to dependent libraries, version information in the following sections.

I found this code snippet by searching for "Create a waterfall chart using matplotlib python" in kandi. You can try any such use case!

Dependent Libraries

matplotlibby matplotlib

Python doticonstar image 17559 doticonVersion:v3.7.1doticon
no licences License: No License (null)

matplotlib: plotting with Python


            matplotlibby matplotlib

            Python doticon star image 17559 doticonVersion:v3.7.1doticonno licences License: No License

            matplotlib: plotting with Python

                      numpyby numpy

                      Python doticonstar image 23755 doticonVersion:v1.25.0rc1doticon
                      License: Permissive (BSD-3-Clause)

                      The fundamental package for scientific computing with Python.


                                numpyby numpy

                                Python doticon star image 23755 doticonVersion:v1.25.0rc1doticon License: Permissive (BSD-3-Clause)

                                The fundamental package for scientific computing with Python.

                                          If you do not have matplotlib or numpy that is required to run this code, you can install it by clicking on the above link and copying the pip Install command from the respective page in kandi.

                                          You can search for any dependent library on kandi like matplotlib

                                          Environment Tested

                                          I tested this solution in the following versions. Be mindful of changes when working with other versions.

                                          1. The solution is created in Python 3.9.6
                                          2. The solution is tested on matplotlib version 3.5.0
                                          3. The solution is tested on numpy version 1.21.4

                                          Using this solution, we are able to create waterfall chart.


                                          What is a Waterfall chart, and how can we use it to visualize data in Matlab? 

                                          A Waterfall chart represents how a value changes from one state to another over time. It can visualize the data by plotting a particular value's changes over time. A stacked bar chart shows the cumulative effect of positive and negative values. This type of chart can identify trends in data. We can affect it by pinpointing a particular value with a specific event. 

                                          How is a mesh plot different from other 3-D plots? 

                                          A mesh plot is a three-dimensional plot. Unlike other 3D surfaces, wireframes, and scatterplots, it uses lines to connect points. A mesh plot does not display individual data points. But instead, it shows a continuous surface of the data. We can use this type of plot to display the relationship between three variables. It is useful for visualizing surfaces, like the surface of a function in 3D space. 

                                          Is it possible to create a Waterfall plot in Matlab using data from an external file? 

                                          It is possible to create a Waterfall plot in Matlab using data from an external file. To do this, you can use the function, which takes the data from a file and then creates the corresponding plot. You can also customize the plot by changing the color and line width. 

                                          How can I access the current axes of my waterfall plot in Matlab? 

                                          You can access the current axes of your waterfall plot in Matlab by using the command "GCA." This command returns the handle of the current axes object. You can use it to modify the properties of your plot. 

                                          Are there any alternatives to matplotlib for creating Waterfall charts in Matlab? 

                                          Several alternatives for creating charts include the MATLAB Plot Gallery's "Waterfall Plot" toolbox: 

                                          • the MATLAB Plotting Toolbox
                                          • the MATLAB Graphics Library 

                                          What are the different types of mesh lines that help to plot a waterfall graph? 

                                          The different types of mesh lines which can help plot a waterfall graph are as below:

                                          Step line mesh: 

                                          We can compose the mesh line by connecting the vertical lines. It shows the change in values from one point to the next. 

                                          Spline mesh: 

                                          We can compose the mesh line to connect the data points continuously. 

                                          Line mesh: 

                                          We can compose the mesh line to connect the data points. 

                                          Area mesh: 

                                          We can compose the mesh line for a combination of step lines and line meshes, which we use to show the area of the graph. 

                                          Bar mesh: 

                                          This mesh line comprises horizontal bars connecting the data points. 

                                          How should I choose the color scale for my waterfall chart when working with Matlab? 

                                          When choosing the color scale for a waterfall chart, think about the context and purpose of the chart. It happens if the waterfall chart represents data with a range of values. It happens if the chart aims to compare different data points. Then, you must choose a color scale. It helps differentiate between the values, such as a sequential color scale. A diverging color scale may be more appropriate. Consider using a colorblind-friendly color palette, such as the ColorBrewer palette. 

                                          Can we add floating columns to a waterfall plot generated by Matlab? 

                                          Yes, we can add the floating columns to a waterfall plot generated by Matlab. To do this, you must use the waterfall function. Then we must specify the 'Marker' and 'MarkerSize' properties in the plot command. 

                                          Are there any considerations when generating Cartesian coordinates for plotting a Waterfall chart? 

                                          There are some considerations if generating Cartesian coordinates for plotting a chart. When plotting a Waterfall chart, we must ensure that we have evenly spaced the x-axis. It is because the x-axis represents the categories of data. Additionally, it is important to ensure that we account for each data point on the y-axis. It is because the y-axis represents the values of the data points. Finally, ensuring the starting point for the Waterfall chart is important. It happens if we position it correctly since this will affect the shape of the chart. 

                                          What techniques or methods should I use to generate an accurate Waterfall Plot? 

                                          Below are some techniques that we use for generating an accurate Waterfall plot:

                                          Create a vector of data: 

                                          A Waterfall Plot is a graphical representation of data that shows changes over time. To generate a Waterfall Plot, you must create a vector of data representing the changes over time. 

                                          Plot the data: 

                                          Once you have the data vector, use MATLAB's plot function to create a Waterfall Plot. This will create a graph with the data points connected with lines. 

                                          Customize the graph: 

                                          To make the Waterfall Plot more effective and accurate. You can customize the graph by adding labels, adjusting the line widths, or adding a legend. You can also adjust the color and size of the points. 

                                          Save the graph: 

                                          Once you have customized the Waterfall Plot, you can save the graph as an image file. This will allow you to use the Waterfall Plot in other documents or presentations. 


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