Introduction to Sankey charts

Sankey diagrams are commonly used for illustrating the distribution and flow of data. In addition to their striking visual appeal, Sankey charts are perfect for visualizing how quantities or values move between interconnected components, making complex data easy to understand at a glance.

In Flourish, you can create both Sankey and alluvial diagrams. Read our blog post to learn more about the similarities and differences between the two chart types.

Anatomy of a Sankey

A Sankey diagram typically displays a flow of data with the help of links and nodes. The nodes represent the entities or categories in the chart and can be sources (usually on the left), destinations (usually on the right), or intermediate steps in a process.

The links are the connections between nodes. The width of each link represents the volume of flow between each node.

Use cases

  • Visualize movement (flow) over time like seat changes between political parties
  • Track product flows or user journeys
  • Show how items regroup over time with alluvial diagrams

Flourish sankey diagrams

With Flourish, creating a stunning Sankey diagram is a breeze – no coding required! Simply upload your data and customize the style of your visualization. Here are some of the features of this template that you can readily access for free:

  • Easy switch between alluvial and Sankey diagrams: A Sankey diagram shows data flow between nodes, with link width indicating flow volume. In contrast, alluvial diagrams showcase data changes over time or different stages, like a river branching into smaller flows.

  • Grid of charts option: This feature, also known as small multiples, offers a distinct advantage as it enables your audience to effortlessly compare various segments of your dataset. By presenting data in a grid layout, readers can discern patterns, trends, and relationships with enhanced clarity and efficiency.

  • Custom colors: Enhance your Sankey diagram with custom color overrides! This feature allows you to highlight specific nodes or incorporate your brand’s colors for a seamless integration with your website’s design.

Learn more

Here are some resources to help you get started with Sankey charts:

Sankey diagram – an overview
How to format your data for this template

Create your own Sankey

Explore and explain your data with stunning visualizations and stories. Publish, present or download. No need to code or install software.