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Quick Charts

Creating many of the charts commonly used in finance and consulting with native Excel functionality alone is complex and tedious. Quick Charts automate much of this complexity, reducing it to just a few mouse clicks.

When you create a new Quick Chart, a preferences dialog presents you with several orientation, sizing, formatting, and labeling options depending on the type of chart you are creating. Each Quick Chart dialog has an Example button that will populate a new Quick Chart with sample data to help you quickly understand the required chart data structure. Macabacus remembers your Quick Chart dialog preferences, and loads them the next time you create a similar chart. For most Quick Charts, Macabacus also builds some options directly into the worksheet containing the chart. These in-worksheet options let you customize the appearance of the chart even after it is created, and whether or not you have Macabacus installed.

100% Native

All Quick Charts are 100% native—no proprietary objects are used to create them that would render them unusable by anyone who does not have Macabacus installed.

Because Macabacus adds calculations and in-worksheet chart options to the workbook when building most Quick Charts, most Quick Charts are created on new worksheets so that these modifications do not interfere with the structure of the worksheet containing the original chart data.

Waterfall Chart

Waterfall charts, also known as bridge charts, are often used to show adjustments driving changes in a single metric (e.g., net income) from one period to another.

To insert a waterfall chart, click the Macabacus > Charts > Waterfall Chart button. Chart options let you display labels in different positions—like centered on data points or above/below adjustments depending on whether adjustments are positive or negative. You can customize the three colors used in waterfall charts, and optionally show "bridge lines" connecting the tops/bottoms of columns shown in the chart to facilitate visual interpretation of the chart.

Waterfall Chart

Excel 2016 added the ability to create waterfall charts natively. The key advantages of Macabacus waterfall charts are (a) Macabacus' intuitive data structure does not require you to explicitly identify data points as totals; (b) Macabacus remembers your last used waterfall chart settings, including colors; and (c) Macabacus' optional connector or "bridge" lines look better and can be formatted. The key advantages of native waterfall charts are that (a) no additional calculations are required, and (b) you can set colors for each "up" and "down" bar individually.

Football Field Chart

Football field charts, also known as floating bar/column charts, are often used to display valuation ranges computed using different valuation methods (e.g., P/E, EV/EBITDA, DCF).

To insert a football field chart, click the Macabacus > Charts > Football Field Chart button. These charts can be oriented as either bars (extending horizontally) or columns (extending vertically). You can optionally show average and median lines that extend the width or height of the chart, as applicable, showing the average/median value of all ranges shown in the chart. The "bonus line" lets you include a similar line at a value you specify, such as a price target or offering price.

Football Field Chart (Columns)

Football Field Chart (Bars)

Stacked Column Chart

Macabacus' stacked column chart is similar to those you create natively in Excel, except that you can (a) optionally include totals at the tops of the columns, (b) show percentages rather than amounts in the data labels (advisable when showing the vertical value axis and column totals), (c) omit data labels for small values where label text would otherwise overflow the bounds of the associated data point (i.e., block), and (d) automatically apply your Macabacus chart series colors. To insert a stacked column chart, click the Macabacus > Charts > Stacked Column Chart button.

Stacked Column Chart

Butterfly Chart

Butterfly charts, also known as tornado charts, are often used to compare similar metrics for two companies, business units, etc.

To insert a butterfly chart, click the Macabacus > Charts > Butterfly Chart button. You can orient the chart with categories (e.g., sales, net income) on the left axis, or down the middle of the chart separating the two series of data being compared. Several data label positioning options are also available.

When you orient the butterfly chart with category labels in the middle, Macabacus can handle chart data in multiple units. For example, the first section (e.g., top half) of the chart might include income statement figures in dollars, and a second section (e.g., bottom half) might include key summary metrics, like margins and growth rates. To tell Macabacus where sections begin and end, leave the second and third columns in the chart data blank. Macabacus will treat the label in the first column as a section title and apply additional formatting to distinguish it from other category labels.

Butterfly Chart

Butterfly Chart

Marimekko Chart

Marimekko charts, also known as Mekko charts, are two-dimensional stacked charts popular among consultants. They combine the functionality of both stacked column and stacked bar charts, displaying data in blocks that vary in both height and width. These charts are notoriously difficult to construct using native Excel functionality, and a third party solution like Macabacus is usually required to generate them.

Several options let you customize the text that appears block data labels, how that text is formatted, and omit labels for small blocks where label text would otherwise overflow the block bounds. Many of these options are located on the worksheet containing the chart, so that they can be customized even after the chart has been created.

Marimekko Chart


Charts are among the most complex features in Microsoft Office. Complexity often leads to bugs and unpredictable results. While Macabacus' Quick Charts will work as expected for nearly everyone, some users periodically encounter problems using these tools. If you are having a problem with Quick Charts, please contact us at for help. In addition to the standard information we need to provide effective support, please include your default chart template (a .crtx file). To find your default chart template, open Excel's Insert Chart dialog and click the Manage Templates button (in Excel 2013/2016). You can tell which of your custom templates is the default template by right clicking each custom template in the Insert Chart dialog—the one with the checkmark is the default template.

This documentation refers to Macabacus version 8.5.4, and may differ from the PDF documentation
on your computer that installed with your version of Macabacus.