Hi, my name is Phineas. With this blog I would like to share with you my fascination for Sankey diagrams. My goal is to present to you Sankey diagrams I find on the net, and discuss them. I am mainly focusing on the graphical aspect, layout, methodological issues or shortcomings of diagrams. I do not intend to discuss the scientific content or the data behind them. Neither the politics.

To my opinion, Sankey diagrams are underestimated, and should merit a greater attention. Sometimes they are a better choice than a pie or bar chart to visualize information.

I am using Sankey Helper 2.1, STAN 1.1 and e!Sankey 4 pro for drawing my Sankey diagrams. I have used test or demo versions of most of the Sankey diagram software tools available, like S.DRAW, or Sankey 3.1. Although I do find some tools better than others, I don’t intend to endorse any of them.

Acknowledgement: The guys at ifu (e!Sankey) kindly ceded this domain to me. I asked them politely, if I can use it for a blog on Sankey diagrams, and they said ‘yes’. They reserve the right to put up a banner here, but so far this hasn’t happened.

Do you have a Sankey diagram you wish to share? Have you seen an interesting Sankey diagram that should be presented here? Or do you have a great idea what Sankey diagrams can be used for?

Contact me, if you have any question, or leave a comment.


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  1. Mokhlis says:

    Dear Phineas,
    First i would like to thank you for your blog. it’s really a helper when it comes to Sankey diagrams from a technical point of view.

    Honestly, finding a Blog about Sankey encouraged me to write to you.
    I work a database analyst, and i was asked by one of my clients to develop an online tool to draw Sankey diagrams ( energy Flows ). I found few programs and tools to do the job but none of them was an online service. i wonder why?

    I would appreciate your advice.
    Thank you

  2. phineas says:

    Hello Mokhlis,

    thanks for your comment. I am not sure why there are no online Sankey diagram tools. The market for this is probably rather small, and development would probably be costly.


  3. Marco Baptista says:

    Hi, Phineas,
    I just want to congratulate you for this site on Sankey diagrams. The information you have here is extremely useful for someone like me who wants to start using these diagrams.
    I also would like to let you know that I totally agree with you in that Sankey diagrams are underestimated, and that they are a great way to communicate.
    Thank you for this site!!

  4. Daniel Ferry says:


    Hello. I just found your blog. I run an advanced Excel blog and yesterday I posted about the Lawrence Livermore Labs Energy Flow diagram, how it had intrigued me, and how I replicated it in Excel 2007.

    I did not know until last night that it was actually a Sankey diagram. One of my readers was kind enough to point this out. I had never heard the term before.

    I too am fascinated by these diagrams. I’m considering writing a Sankey Diagram Excel addin. I don’t foresee any problems doing so.

    At any rate, please have a look at my post and diagram:


    I’d love to hear your comments.


    Daniel Ferry

  5. Phineas,
    Great job, indeed, and I share your facination for Sankey diagrams. Learned about them early in my engineering education, forgot about them later on. And recently rediscovered.
    Hopefully able to report on some nice applications in the future.

  6. Wayne Erfling says:

    I’ve been searching for Sankey diagrams for several years now, as I didn’t know the term “Sankey” and “flow software” of course brought up reams of computer flow-charting programs. I was delighted to find your site shortly after learning “Sankey”.

    I’m wondering if there are some tell-tale signs of which software program was used to create a given diagram (for example, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/LLNL_US_Energy_Flow_2009.png).

    The samples on some of the software sites are either non-existent or tiny – I guess they figure that a working scientist or engineer would need to buy something in any event (I’m mostly an IT professional).

    Anyway, thanks again for the blog.

  7. Song Wang says:

    Dear Phineas,
    I am a beginner of e!sankey software and downloaded a trial version of it. Could you please forward some guide for it.
    Many thanks.

    Song Wang

  8. phineas says:

    @ Song Wang: Please contact the vendor of the software for a guide.

  9. Mikko Tapionlinna says:

    Hi, I made a revenue and cost flow Sankey for the housing company I live in. The Sankey approach allowed us to focus on important issues and see the whole money flow with a glance. After doing it with d3.js I started googling for inspiration on how to tweak it further and thus found your site. Great work on a niche area 🙂

    To me it seems that you may be missing one use case for Sankey. At least I could not see it around with a quick looksie. It’s an visualisation of tax revenue and usage in a city, county, country etc. There’s a Finnish company that does these for cities and such. They call it taxtree (veropuu in Finnish).

    Check it out. (sorry if you already had spotted it, I did not see Finland in your tags 😉


  10. Jason says:

    Hi Phineas,

    I just wanted to write and say thank you for authoring this blog! I have been spending a lot of time browsing, learning, and thinking about how to apply Sankey diagrams to my work.

    I wonder, do you have any other favorite types of charts? Or other websites or resources worth looking at?

    Thanks for sharing this with the world!


  11. Hello Phineas

    Thank for your blog! Here is another passionated about flowcharts. In fact, I have created a blog just to talk about them: https://diagramadeflujo.online/

    Best regards

  12. DC says:

    awesome blog! Love the 3D sankey of the german subway map.

    I’m looking to use sankey diagrams to model conversation flows for chatbots.
    one problem with sankeys is they work well with horizontal scroll, but not very well vertically, mainly due to text layout being horizontal.
    whereas most chat UIs scroll vertically.
    do you have any design examples that overcome this issue?

  13. phineas says:

    @DC: good point! Never thought of mobile phone adapted design… The overwhelming majority of Sankey diagrams I find are in a general left-to-right layout. There are a few examples that are oriented top-down. (I started tagging them with ‘vertical’, so you can find them)

  14. Mike says:

    Sankey diagram is a very useful visualization to show the flow of data. Can you shed light which tools are best and easy to use to draw Sankey Diagram?.

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