How to Use Excel & Tornado Diagrams

A tornado diagram is a type of bar chart in which the data is displayed with vertical bars, with the largest at the top and the smallest at the bottom, giving the appearance of a tornado. While Microsoft Excel does not offer a specific "tornado chart" in its selection of graphs and charts, creating one within Excel is simple. Before you begin, you should enter all of the data you want displayed in your tornado diagram into a spreadsheet.

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A tornado chart is particularly useful for sensitivity analysis.

Step

Open your spreadsheet and highlight the data you want to include in your tornado diagram. Go to "Insert" and select "Bar," then "Clustered Bar."

Step

Right-click on the horizontal axis and select "Format Axis." Select "Axis Value" under "Vertical Axis Crosses," then enter your base case value.

Step

Select the vertical axis for your diagram, then check next to "Categories in Reverse Order" and click "Low" on the "Axis Labels" menu.

Step

Click one of the bars to open a pane labeled "Series Options" and slide the button under "Series Overlap" over to the far right. Click "Finish."