Data visualization and storytelling


How to make animated Sankey charts

Flourish Sankey and alluvial diagrams now have flowing animations

Since its launch last year, the Flourish template for making Sankey and alluvial diagrams has proved very popular – partly thanks to helpful features such as labels that scale with the screen size and hide automatically when they overlap with other labels.

Flourish Sankeys have always animated when the data or layout changes, which works nicely in Flourish stories. Now we have added a super smooth loading animation too, to give a sense of the links “flowing” from the nodes on the left to the nodes on the right. Here’s the result:

Each link animates separately but everything is kept in sync horizontally, with the nodes and labels gradually revealed as the links reach them. We found that was the best approach because some links can stretch across more of the diagram than others, as shown in the example below.

To turn the animations on, just set a duration under “Reveal lines on load” in the “Animations” settings panel. If you can’t see the right setting, you might be using an old version of the template. To get the latest version, make a new Sankey from the template chooser or directly from the Sankey template page.

You can set the links to have a subtle variation in how they accelerate and decelerate at the beginning and end of their individual animation (so-called “easing”). We found this adds a more natural feel to the overall animation, as long as you don’t overdo it.

One thing we haven’t yet done is make it possible to animate in stages – i.e. gradually revealing more of the diagram as you move between the slides of a story. We hope to do that in due course.

Let us know if there are any other features you’d like to see in the Sankey template!

Make an animated Sankey »