Sankey Diagram Software

Many of you have asked if I could name some software tools that can be used for drawing Sankey diagrams. So I am compiling a list of programs I have tested, or came across during my research. By no means do I wish to endorse any of these products, however, I do have a favorite, as some of the readers of this blog might have observed already.

I am grouping the list in (1) softwares that are specifically designed to make Sankey diagrams, (2) tools that support one specific type of Sankey or Sankey-style diagrams (this section also includes Matlab routines and open source), (3) software that are not available any more, and (4) other programs that do have Sankey as one of their features, but the main purpose for using the software is different. Time permitting I will do individual pages for the tools, and include my test notes and screenshots. The lists are sorted alphabetically.

This is a simple list. No warranty taken whatsoever for the software tools listed here. Download and install at your own risk. Contact the individual software makers for support, not me, please!

Please note: This list is to be understood as non-exhaustive! Do you know of any Sankey diagram software not listed here? Let me know

Full Sankey Desktop Software Tools

  • e!Sankey 4 (website)
    First released in November 2006, latest update version December 2017, a tool by German software firm ifu Hamburg. Version ‘pro’ with Excel interface. This is one of the tools I use for my work, see sample diagrams on this blog. License costs 240 €/480 € (pro). Free trial version.
  • S.DRAW 5.x (website)
    S.DRAW, originally developed by Austrian company STENUM is now being handled by Altenburger Consulting & Software in the US. A single license is 485 US$/405 €. Comes with a hardlock key (dongle). Update December 2010. A demo version is available.
  • Sankey Editor 2011 (website)
    A Sankey drawing software by an Austrian company named Stenum. First released in 2005 by LogSim (their website seems dead: website). Single license is 149 €. Demo version available.
  • Sankey Helper 2.4 (website)
    A freeware tool by Gabor Doka from Switzerland that allows to draw simple Sankey diagrams in Excel. It was one of the first software for Sankey diagrams available. Last updated in January 2010.

Web-based, mostly building on open-source d3.js

  • eco-data.fr (webpage)
    eco-data.fr offers different types of online visualization tools, among which there is also a Sankey diagram. Based apparently on d3.js and the Sankey library the diagrams are built by defining nodes (‘noeuds’) and links (‘liens’). Dragging nodes horizontally or vertically keeps the arrows attached to the nodes. Your Sankey diagrams can be saved and reopened for modification. Enter values manually or loaded from a csv file.
  • Excel to Sankey (blog)
    Developed by Bruce McPherson based on work done by Mike Bostock this code uses d3.js to create left-to-right distribution diagrams over several categories/columns. An interactive version can be created that allows dragging the nodes within the columns.
  • Google Charts / Sankey (webpage)
    The Google Charts available on the Google Developers page now include Sankey diagrams. Again, nodes and links to show a “many-to-many mapping” between two categories or multiple paths through a set of stages. Color options for nodes and bands.
  • Sankey Builder (Blog)
    Sankey Builder is another online tool for distribution diagrams built originally on d3.js. New features were added in January 2016. A free version is available, pricing scheme for commercial users available at 20 US$ and 30 US$.

  • Sankey Flow Show (webpage)
    A web-based Sankey diagram tool by Thortec Software in Germany. Straight-forward drawing of diagrams. Many layout options, e.g. node types, arrow curves, arrow shadow. Diagrams can be stored locally or in cloud drive. Free trial/student account, pro account at 3.99 US$/month.
  • SankeyMATIC (webpage)
    An online tool by Steve Bogart. Users can enter their value sets in a list box, diagram will create automatically. Based on open source d3.js and its Sankey library.
  • Wikibudgets Sankey Web App (Website)
    A free web app focused on financial flows (budget, transfers) by wikibudgets.org. A novel approach for setting up the diagram since you hand pick the element shapes and just plug them together in the browser window.

One specific type of Sankey-style diagrams, e.g. alluvial

  • iOS Sankey Diagram App (website)
    The first Sankey app for iOS, by SquishLogic LLC. Optimized for the iPad. Handles different diagrams, move nodes with gestures, set arrow colors. Left-to-right orientation of diagrams. Export as PNG or PDF. Connects to mail, Twitter, Facebook. Available for $9.99 at iTunes.
  • ParSets V2.1 (blog)
    A project by Robert Kosara, featured on eagereyes. Freeware for Mac, Windows and Linux. Can do top-down oriented bands, hooked to nodes (categories). Data can be imported from CSV file. Similar to Fineo.

For the geeks (Javascript, Python, R, Mathlab)

  • drawSankey (Code available at Matlab Central.)
    Developed by James Spelling and Germain Augsburger at EPFL in Lausanne. DrawSankey.m draws simple Sankey diagrams in Matlab (input, losses, output).
  • jstepien’s Sankey (link broken)
    A very basic online tool to draw simple left-to-right b/w Sankey diagrams. You can enter a number of named nodes and define the edges with quantities. Didn’t get it to work, but you can see an example here.
  • Sankey (Sankey @ github)
    A Mathematica workbook by Sam Calisch that can be used to draw left-to-right distribution diagrams with several nodes ordered in columns. An example of the output can be seen here.
  • Sankey Diagrams in Python (matplotlib @ Sourceforge)
    ‘matplotlib’ is an open source project. Now has functionality to draw left-to-right oriented Sankey diagrams. Features available are labeling of flows, formatting of colors, fonts, borders, etc.
  • Sankey by tamc (tamc/Sankey @ github)
    Commenter Colm O’G suggested this javascript library for drawing sankey / flow diagrams in a browser to be added to the list, thanks. This seems to have been inspired by Fineo. An online implementation example can be seen on Andy Tow’s Atlas Electoral here.
  • SankeyR (blog post)
    An adaptation of the Matlab drawSankey function (see above) to work in R by Aaron Berdanier at Colorado State. Simple left to right Sankey diagrams. New release in July 2010.

Former Sankey diagram software: discontinued or fate is unclear

  • Sankey 3.1 (no website known)
    The fate of this tool is unknown. It was developed and distributed by Fichtner Consulting from Stuttgart, Germany in the late 1990ies. However, no information or screenshots can be found on the web.
  • Sankey Diagram Maker v1.08 (blog)
    New in 2012, a freeware tool provided by H.J. Berchmans, downloadable from Google Docs. .NET 4.0 must be installed on your machine. Users can draw simple left-to-right Sankey diagrams, choose colors. Make sure to read the comments…
  • Sankey Generator 0.4 (blog)
    Result of a student project by Sam Brenner, not intended to be launched commercially. Allows drawing of simple inflow/outflow Sankey diagrams. Code has been released to public domain.
  • Sankey PROFI Energie (webpage discontinued)
    A software with templates for energy management, available in German only. Published by software reseller WEKA, from the looks it is most likely a customized/branded version of e!Sankey (see above).
  • Sankey.Vis (website, now redirected)
    From the makers of the interactive Sankey diagram tool at Bauhaus University Weimar. The developers seem to have founded a company in Berlin and we could see this tool being developed further.
  • SimSankey (website, in German only)
    This small-scale tool by a company named ‘Similar’ from Germany, allows to draw simple top-down-oriented energy diagrams.
  • Yekans (website offline)
    This software probaly never got beyond the first idea, and a small website. Website not available any more.

Software with different areas of application, that have some kind of Sankey functionality

  • CASAnova (website)
    Subtitle: An Educational Software for Energy and Heating Demand, Solar Heat Gains and Overheating Risk in Buildings. This freeware tool allows to enter numerous parameters for a building, and will eventually produce a Sankey diagram of energy flows.
  • eMPlant
    eMPlant (part of the UGS Tecnomatix Suite) claims to “Material flow may be visualized in a Sankey chart that, at a glance, shows transport volume in the context of the layout”. I have not verified this information.
  • Foreseer (website)
    An online tool will help users predict trade-offs between the global commodities of energy, water and land. Developed at University of Cambridge by Julian Allwood and his research group. Foreseer relies heavily on Sankey diagrams.
  • GaBi (website)
    A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) software for analyzing the environmental impacts of a product. This tool by German maker PE Europe can visualize the flows of material in a life cycle with Sankey diagrams.
  • HSC Chemistry (website)
    A simulation software package for chemical processes by Outotec Research Oy from Finland. text on website claims “The HSC-Sim module has built-in ‘Sankey diagrams’ to visualize the distribution of the elements and process variables”.
  • LESOSAI (website)
    A software for calculating the heat balance of a building. Developed by the Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory at the EPFL in Lausanne, it is marketed by a company E4tech. Sankey diagrams for heat losses in a building can be dispayed.
  • OpenLCA (Help page)
    Another Life Cycle Assessment software that has a basic Sankey diagram feature as “graphical illustration of the impacts of different flows in the product system”.
  • Pleiades + Comfie (website)(Wiki)
    Pleiades + Comfie is a software for energy simulation in builings by a French company named Izuba. Although I haven’t seen any screenshot, it seems to have some kind of Sankey diagram output.
  • Raw (website)
    Raw is an “open web app to create custom vector-based visualizations”. Numerous chart types, one of which are alluvial diagrams. This is the successor of Fineo by DensityDesign.
  • SimaPro (website)
    Another LCA software, by PRé Product Ecology Consultants from Amersfoort, Netherlands. The contributions of the individual life cycle phases are displayed in a tree-like Sankey-style graphic.
  • SIMBA / ifak-Sankey (website)
    A simulation software developed by ifak at the University of Magdeburg, Germany. SIMBA was developed to simulate wastewater systems, and also has a Sankey display feature. They are also the maker of ifak-Sankey (offered by Kontenda).
  • STAN 2 (website)
    STAN is a software for substance flow analysis, developed by inka software for the University of Technology of Vienna, Austria. It has a feature for displaying flows in their network diagrams as Sankey arrows. Version 2.0 released May 2009.
  • Tableau (website)
    Data visualization and data analytics software for business intelligence. Now also provides distribution diagrams organized in columns (similar to Fineo, Parsets). See an example here.
  • Tecnomatix Plant Simulation (website)
    Comprehensive plant simulation software package by Siemens claims that “Material flow may be visualized in a Sankey chart that, at a glance, shows transport volume in the context of the layout”. A Sankey-like diagram is shown in their product brochure.
  • Umberto (website)
    A Life Cycle Assessment and Material Flow Analysis software by ifu Hamburg GmbH. A display of flow values (material, energy, cost, environmental impact) in a Sankey diagram has been a feature of this software since version 3.0. They are also the maker of e!Sankey (see above).
  • Last update of this list: March 2018

    Here is another list of Sankey software by Butler Analytics

55 Comments

  1. Magnus says:

    Hi Phineas, very informative and good overview of the Sankey art!

    Why not make a table with the different software and the features they have. This would be good information for the user who looks at different sankey softwares.

    I have some old sankey diagram from 1930’s if you are intersted. E-mail me!

    /M

  2. phineas says:

    Thanks Magnus!

    I am planning to extend this section on Sankey software tools, however, I haven’t yet decided on the best way to structure the grid to compare functionality of the tools. Also, for some softwares I don’t have demo versions, just information off the web, so I will have to contact the maker first. Please check back again later, to find out how far I have gotten…

    Phineas

  3. Chris says:

    Hi Phineas,

    very nice and informative blog about sankeys! Thx. Are you aware of any sankey software running unter Linux (Ubuntu)?

    Yours

    Chris

  4. phineas says:

    @Chris

    I am not aware of any Sankey diagram software running on Linux machines.

    PHineas

  5. daniel Alvarez says:

    i need sankey sofdware , ware can i find it.

    guatemala

  6. phineas says:

    @ Daniel Alvarez

    Daniel, there is a link to the website for each tool in the list above. You should be able to find information on acquiring a product on the respective maker’s website.

    Daniel, en la lista de programas arriba tienes los enlaces para los sitios web. Ahí puedes encontrar información como obtener las programas Sankey.

  7. BeGraphic says:

    Hi,
    We designed BeGraphic which is a data visualization tool inside Excel and PowerPoint made to present new graphs,business charts, choropleth maps, dynamic diagrams… including Sankey.

    Any Sankey diagram can be easily done by using only three functions: “Resize”, “color” and “Magnet”. The all diagram is dynamically animated based on Excel cells’ values.

    If you want to test BeGraphic software, just let us know.
    Best regards,
    Claire.

  8. Kyle says:

    I tried the Excel plug-in Sankey helper and found it seems to have brought Excel down – it will now only open in safe mode. So the first comment is a warning, especially for people like me that depend on Excel every day. Then a question – has this happened before and how do you undo things like it?

  9. phineas says:

    @Kyle: you should contact the maker of the software. This list of Sankey diagram software is not a support forum.

  10. GlenT says:

    Wow, thanks for the great list here. I was searching for such a list for quite a long time. I am interested in sankey diagrams for few weeks now, so I want to find the best software for this hobby. I will read your review one more time and decide what applications to download. Thank you one more time, and I will be waiting for another great posts from you.

    Sincerely,

    Glen Thompson from software development company

  11. Brian says:

    The message from “begraphic” appears to be misleading spam, Their graphics software offers lots of options to display graphs, but I couldnt find any mention of sankey diagrams on their website, even a google search “sankey site:begraphic.com” didnt yield anything.

  12. r says:

    For linux users, openoffice draw can be used. See the user forum http://user.services.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=27844.

  13. The RSS feed doesn’t work with the internet browser (opera browser) how to deal with it?

  14. Sami says:

    Brian, I found this http://www.begraphic.com/version-pro.html from Begraphic website. It says that Sankey diagrams are available in Pro version, due to launch Jan 2011.

  15. Antonio Bardazzi says:

    https://github.com/jstepien/sankey

    Proof of concept Ruby Sankey library based on RMagick. Create a simple image without labels, colors or other graphic like this:
    http://sankey.heroku.com/2lar75lzwz.png

    Can represent multiple process with multiple independent flow forcing mass conservation (input size must be equal to output size).

    Each flow can be consumed by a process (the process drain the flow), produced (the process is the source for the flow) or both.

    This example represent the diagram for making coffee:
    https://github.com/jstepien/sankey/blob/master/examples/coffee.rb

    The first process is a grinder that drains beans and output ground coffee. The second process is an espresso machine that drains water and ground coffee and output coffee and cream.

  16. thanks for sharing a good information.

  17. Thanks for the list of software tools that can be used to draw Sankey diagrams!

  18. Thanks for the list of applications that have some kind of Sankey functionality. Very helpful.

  19. Gabor says:

    I was alerted to the comments of Kyle and Trent a few years back, reporting problems with Excel after using my SankeyHelper. SankeyHelper is *not* a plug-in, but merely an Excel workbook. It contains however VBA macro routines to help you create Sankey Diagrams. Some Windows anti-virus software or Windows Operating system get into a paranoid panic upon seeing a file with VBA, although it is a perfectly standard content and part of the MSOffice Suite (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_Basic_for_Applications). The apparent reason for this is that VBA is powerful and can be used to produce malware. *Please* consult your anti-virus software and Windows manuals to learn how to set safety features and security features of your system in order to avoid unpleasant surprises with VBA. Mac users have no such worries. Btw. SankeyHelper has no digital signature, as Mac users are exempted by design from creating them (*glare*). So you need to *enable all macro execution* on your Windows computer to use SankeyHelper.

  20. Joao says:

    Like some previous users, I tried Sankey Helper 2.4 and it corrupted my Excel. It only starts in safe mode now, even after reinstalling in several ways, restoring the system to a previous date, etc. I have Windows 7 with Office 2010.

  21. Joao says:

    Here is a procedure to fix Excel 2010 after Sankey Helper 2.4 corrupts it (I have windows 7):

    1. Uninstall Office 2010 and reboot.
    2. Manually delete any folder named Office or Excel under C:\Program Files or C:\Users. Note that you first need to select “see hidden files and folders” in the file explorer (tools\folder options\view).
    3. Install a clean copy of Office 2010.
    4. Go to Control Panel, Programs, Programs and Features. Select Microsoft Office and choose “Repair”.

    This solved my problem. Good luck.

  22. Colm O'G says:

    There is a javascript library I stumbled across in github
    http://tamc.github.com/Sankey/

    The example given is nice, not perfect, but a good start, I would say it needs work on the corner definition

  23. I used some of them and they are really great. Thanks for sharing this great post.

  24. tom says:

    Hello.
    your blog is very informative. am a student in Kenya and i have not used any of the sankey software before. my research is on petroleum flows in the country as well as associated GHG emissions from 5 major sectors of the economy. which software would you recommend?

  25. phineas says:

    @tom: Everybody has different criteria for choosing software. For some it is the set of features, for others the operating system the software runs on. And, most certainly, the cost of a license (freeware vs. commercial software) plays a role.

    Why not download a trial version of the software tools listed in the first section (“Full Sankey Software Tools”) and test it to see, if it suits your needs and requirements.

  26. Here’s an example of creating sankey diagrams straight out of excel, integrating with d3.js and its interactive sankey plugin. Its not an excel plug-in, just some VBA code you can use which generates a standalone web page.

    http://ramblings.mcpher.com/Home/excelquirks/d3/sankey

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