Tornado charts

Modified on Thu, 22 Sep, 2022 at 5:10 PM

Tornado charts are perfect for comparisons. You can create and edit these charts in Excel using the Power-user add-in. 


About Tornado charts

Tornado charts, also sometimes known as Butterfly charts, are probably the best charts for comparing 2 sets of data.

In the example below, we are comparing Company 1 with Company 2 on different products that they are both competing for. We could also be comparing them on other things like turnover, profits, headcount, debt ratio, sales per business line, etc. Having them side-by-side like this allows to quickly visualize the strenghts and weaknesses of each, but also maybe their complementarities or overlaps. For this reason, they are frequently used in M&A to understand how the combination of a buyer and a buyee company could create value. 

Power-user l Tornado chart

Creating a Tornado chart with Power-user

Currently, Tornado charts can only be created from the Excel ribbon of Power-user. 

  • From Excel, click Create Tornado chart.
  • A dialog box will open, asking you to select the data source.
  • Select your data, including the row and column headers, and click OK to validate. The chart will be created automatically.

Your data should be organized with the 2 objects compared in columns, and the different criteria of comparison in rows, as in the example below.

Power-user l Tornado chart data source

Editing and customizing a Tornado

After you create a Tornado chart, you can edit it from the the edition pane on the right. To open this edition pane later, right-click the chart and hit Edit Tornado chart.

Chart Options

From the Chart Options tab of this edition menu, you can:

  • Add, remove or edit the title of your chart.
  • Edit the color for the borders of the Tornado.
  • Hide or show totals for Series, Categories, Labels or the overall chart, as values and/or as percentages.
  • Change the number format with a specific number of decimals for either values and/or percentages. 

Tornado chart l Chart Options

The chart labels will automatically be formatted the same way as the cells in your data source. So if you wish to edit the format of your labels, you can just format the source and update the chart.

Series Options

To edit the format of a specific Series on your chart, click the second tab, Series Options. From this menu you can select a specific Series from your chart, and then:

  • Change the fill color for this Series only.
  • Change the color, font size etc. of the labels for that data Series.

Tornado chart l Series Options

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