Sankey diagrams are a kind of flow diagram that shows the flow of quantifiable resource proportionally to the flow quantity. They attract the reader’s attention to the most critical flows, the largest consumer, significant losses, and so on. Flow values with varied dimensions are intuitively comprehended when diverse colors support them.

Sankey diagram employ linkages whose width is proportional to the flow quantity represented; for example, a double broad flow reflects double the amount. A link joins multiple nodes in a Sankey diagram. Each node should only appear once, and each pair of nodes should only have one link. They are frequently employed in various industries, including energy efficiency, marketing analysis, supply chain management, and production systems.

Sankey Diagram- When and Why Should the Sankey Diagram Be Used?

Sankey Diagrams help illustrate complex processes by focusing on a specific aspect you want to emphasize. Assume your team is debating energy efficiency. This complex process can be broken down into a visually simple diagram using a Sankey diagram.

You can use the Sankey diagram to highlight essential flows and components. This allows your viewers to recognize the areas with the most potential.

It is also possible to detect data inconsistencies as quickly.

Disadvantages of Sankey Diagram : Sankey diagrams have drawbacks when they aren’t used correctly. Sankey diagrams are difficult to understand for anyone who isn’t familiar with data visualization.

Sankey diagrams can make it difficult to differentiate when flows have similar widths.

If the nodes are not spaced out well, the Sankey diagram cannot highlight an actionable insight because of the link overlapping, resulting in clustering.

Sankey diagrams usually needs a long description and details as everyone is not aware of this diagram.

Charts related to the Sankey diagram: Sankey diagrams are an excellent alternative to typical flow charts or bar and pie charts. While bar and pie charts are helpful for comparison in general, the Sankey chart is handy for comparing the flow of related entities.

The following are some of the charts related to it:

Parallel Set charts: Parallel Set charts demonstrate flow and proportions; parallel set charts are comparable to Sankey Diagrams. On the other hand, Similar Sets do not use arrows and divide the flow-path at each displayed line-set. Each line-set refers to a dimension/dataset, and each line separated in that line-set represents the values/categories of that dimension/dataset. The proportional fraction of the category total determines the breadth of each line and the flow path that emanates from it. Each flow path can be colored to display and compare the distribution of various categories.

Alluvial diagram: Alluvial diagrams are a form of flow diagram that were initially created to illustrate changes in system architecture over particular period of time.

The Sankey Diagram’s uses and applications in the industry

The Sankey diagram is frequently used in energy management, manufacturing, and science because it is simple to visualize the movement of energy and materials in many processes.

Sankey diagrams can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

Energy management system: To comprehend the energy losses of a specific machine.

Material flow analyses: Visualize material flows within specific economic sectors.

Production systems: optimizing production costs by gaining a better understanding of the process flow.

Supply chain management: Supply chain management entails increasing operational efficiency to run a more long-term firm.

Marketing analysis: a cash flow analysis of marketing programs’ return on investment

Chemical and petroleum engineering: energy inputs, valuable outputs, and waste outputs are all represented.

Before you start your Sankey Diagram, think about the following questions:

  1. Are you employing the Sankey diagram to gain a deeper understanding of a data set and for other exploratory data analysis (EDA)?
  2. Are you using it to persuade the audience to do something or to tell a story?
  3. Is your target audience well-versed in data visualization? Will they be able to handle a complex data visualization diagram?
  4. Each visualization should reveal some information. What would this maximum contribution fact be in your data? Or is it a flow relationship between entities that are related?


  1. The Sankey Diagram Generator

A simple, user-friendly web tool that allows you to construct a Sankey Diagram by simply adding data. The Sankey Diagram Generator will enable you to save or email the image directly from the website.

  1. RAWGraphs

RAWGraphs is a free program that allows you to make a Sankey Diagram by dragging and dropping data into their website. You can even use a URL to import data.

  1. Google Charts

Google’s charting tools are robust, easy to use, and widely available. You can experiment with their extensive collection of interactive charts and data tools. The entire Sankey Diagram creation procedure with Google Charts is highly flexible.

  1. SankeyMATIC

You submit your data, customize the Sankey Diagram, and then download your finished output as a high-resolution graphic to use on a website, in a presentation deck, or print with SankeyMATIC.

  1. Highcharts

Highcharts, based in Vik I Sogn, Norway, allows you to generate Sankey Diagrams online effortlessly. You can also change your code in JSFiddle or Codepend directly from their website.

  1. DisplayR

DisplayR is another online tool for creating a Sankey Diagram that allows for a variety of customizing possibilities. The accessible version of DisplayR, on the other hand, has some limitations, the most prominent of which is the inability to download the output.