Excel Dashboards and Reports For Dummies

Overview

Create dynamic dashboards and put your data on display with For Dummies

No matter what business you’re in, reports have become a staple of the workplace, but what good is a report if no reads it, or even worse, understands it? This all new edition of Excel Dashboards & Reports For Dummies is here to help you make meaning of all your data and turn it into clear and actionable visualizations. Fully updated for the latest business intelligence and spreadsheet tools in Excel ...

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Overview

Create dynamic dashboards and put your data on display with For Dummies

No matter what business you’re in, reports have become a staple of the workplace, but what good is a report if no reads it, or even worse, understands it? This all new edition of Excel Dashboards & Reports For Dummies is here to help you make meaning of all your data and turn it into clear and actionable visualizations. Fully updated for the latest business intelligence and spreadsheet tools in Excel 2013, this book shows you how to analyze large amounts of data, quickly slice data into various views on the fly, automate redundant reporting, create eye-catching visualizations, and more.

  • Helps you move beyond reporting data with simple tables, rows, and columns to designing high-impact reports, dashboards, and visuals
  • Walks you through a wide array of technical and analytical concepts to give you the background you need to select the right tool for interpreting and displaying data
  • Covers how to build a chart, work with pivot tables, group and bucket your data, represent trends, create What-If analyses, and increase the value of your reports

Excel Dashboards & Reports For Dummies, 2nd Edition is the business analysis tool you need to transform your raw data into a powerful and effective presentation that is accessible to everyone.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118842249
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/31/2014
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 282,011
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Alexander is a Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) and author of several books on Microsoft Access and Excel. He has more than 15 years' experience consulting and developing Office solutions and has been named a Microsoft MVP for his ongoing contributions to the Excel community.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 2

Foolish Assumptions 3

Icons Used In This Book 3

Beyond the Book 4

Where to Go from Here 5

Part I: Getting Started with Excel Dashboards and Reports 7

Chapter 1: Getting in the Dashboard State of Mind 9

Defining Dashboards and Reports 9

Defining reports 10

Defining dashboards 11

Preparing for Greatness 12

Establish the audience and purpose for the dashboard 12

Delineate the measures for the dashboard 13

Catalog the required data sources 14

Define the dimensions and filters for the dashboard 15

Determine the need for drill-down features 15

Establish the refresh schedule 16

A Quick Look at Dashboard Design Principles 16

Rule number 1: Keep it simple 17

Use layout and placement to draw focus 18

Format numbers effectively 19

Use titles and labels effectively 20

Chapter 2: Building a Super Model 21

Data Modeling Best Practices 22

Separating data, analysis, and presentation 22

Starting with appropriately structured data 25

Avoiding turning your data model into a database 28

Using tabs to document and organize your data model 29

Testing your data model before building reporting components on top of it 31

Excel Functions That Really Deliver 32

The VLOOKUP function 32

The HLookup function 36

The Sumproduct function 37

The Choose function 41

Using Smart Tables That Expand with Data 43

Converting a range to an Excel table 44

Converting an Excel table back to a range 46

Part II: Building Basic Dashboard Components 47

Chapter 3: Dressing Up Your Data Tables 49

Table Design Principles 49

Use colors sparingly 50

De-emphasize borders 52

Use effective number formatting 54

Subdue your labels and headers 55

Getting Fancy with Custom Number Formatting 57

Number formatting basics 57

Formatting numbers in thousands and millions 59

Hiding and suppressing zeroes 62

Applying custom format colors 62

Formatting dates and times 63

Chapter 4: Sparking Inspiration with Sparklines 65

Introducing Sparklines 65

Understanding Sparklines 67

Creating sparklines 68

Understanding sparkline groups 70

Customizing Sparklines 71

Sizing and merging sparkline cells 71

Handling hidden or missing data 72

Changing the sparkline type 73

Changing sparkline colors and line width 73

Using color to emphasize key data points 73

Adjusting sparkline axis scaling 74

Faking a reference line 75

Specifying a date axis 77

Autoupdating sparkline ranges 78

Chapter 5: Formatting Your Way to Visualizations 79

Enhancing Reports with Conditional Formatting 79

Applying basic conditional formatting 80

Adding your own formatting rules manually 88

Show only one icon 91

Show Data Bars and icons outside of cells 94

Representing trends with Icon Sets 96

Using Symbols to Enhance Reporting 98

The Magical Camera Tool 102

Finding the Camera tool 102

Using the Camera tool 103

Enhancing a dashboard with the Camera tool 105

Chapter 6: The Pivotal Pivot Table 107

An Introduction to the Pivot Table 107

The Four Areas of a Pivot Table 108

Values area 108

Row area 109

Column area 109

Filter area 110

Creating Your First Pivot Table 111

Changing and rearranging your pivot table 114

Adding a report filter 115

Keeping your pivot table fresh 116

Customizing Your Pivot Table Reports 119

Changing the pivot table layout 119

Customizing field names 120

Applying numeric formats to data fields 122

Changing summary calculations 122

Suppressing subtotals 124

Showing and hiding data items 127

Hiding or showing items without data 128

Sorting your pivot table 132

Creating Useful Pivot-Driven Views 133

Producing top and bottom views 133

Creating views by month, quarter, and year 137

Creating a percent distribution view 139

Creating a YTD totals view 141

Creating a month-over-month variance view 142

Part III: Building Advanced Dashboard Components 145

Chapter 7: Charts That Show Trending 147

Trending Dos and Don’ts 147

Using chart types appropriate for trending 148

Starting the vertical scale at zero 150

Leveraging Excel’s logarithmic scale 151

Applying creative label management 153

Comparative Trending 156

Creating side-by-side time comparisons 156

Creating stacked time comparisons 158

Trending with a secondary axis 160

Emphasizing Periods of Time 163

Formatting specific periods 163

Using dividers to mark significant events 165

Representing forecasts in your trending components 166

Other Trending Techniques 167

Avoiding overload with directional trending 167

Smoothing data 168

Chapter 8: Grouping and Bucketing Data 173

Creating Top and Bottom Displays 173

Incorporating top and bottom displays into dashboards 174

Using pivot tables to get top and bottom views 175

Using Histograms to Track Relationships and Frequency 178

Adding formulas to group data 179

Adding a cumulative percent 183

Using a pivot table to create a histogram 185

Emphasizing Top Values in Charts 187

Chapter 9: Displaying Performance against a Target 191

Showing Performance with Variances 191

Showing Performance against Organizational Trends 193

Using a Thermometer-Style Chart 194

Using a Bullet Graph 195

Creating a bullet graph 196

Adding data to your bullet graph 200

Final thoughts on formatting bullet graphs 200

Showing Performance against a Target Range 203

Part IV: Advanced Reporting Techniques 207

Chapter 10: Macro-Charged Dashboarding 209

Why Use a Macro? 209

Recording Your First Macro 210

Running Your Macros 214

Enabling and Trusting Macros 217

Macro-enabled file extensions 217

Enabling macro content 217

Setting up trusted locations 218

Excel Macro Examples 219

Building navigation buttons 219

Dynamically rearranging pivot table data 220

Offering one-touch reporting options 221

Chapter 11: Giving Users an Interactive Interface 223

Getting Started with Form Controls 223

Finding Form controls 224

Adding a control to a worksheet 226

Using the Button Control 227

Using the Check Box Control 228

Check box example: Toggling a chart series on and off 229

Using the Option Button Control 232

Option Button Example: Showing Many Views through One Chart 233

Using the Combo Box Control 236

Combo Box Example: Changing Chart Data with a Drop-Down Selector 237

Using the List Box Control 239

List Box Example: Controlling Multiple Charts with One Selector 241

Chapter 12: Adding Interactivity with Pivot Slicers 245

Understanding Slicers 245

Creating a Standard Slicer 247

Formatting Slicers 250

Size and placement 250

Data item columns 250

Slicer color and style 251

Other slicer settings 252

Controlling Multiple Pivot Tables with One Slicer 253

Creating a Timeline Slicer 254

Using Slicers as Form Controls 256

Part V: Working with the Outside World 261

Chapter 13: Using External Data for Your Dashboards and Reports 263

Importing Data from Microsoft Access 263

The drag-and-drop method 264

The Microsoft Access Export wizard 265

The Get External Data icon 266

Importing Data from SQL Server 271

Chapter 14: Sharing Your Workbook with the Outside World 275

Protecting Your Dashboards and Reports 275

Securing access to the entire workbook 275

Limiting access to specific worksheet ranges 279

Protecting the workbook structure 283

Linking Your Excel Dashboards to PowerPoint 284

Creating a link between Excel and PowerPoint 284

Manually updating links to capture updates 286

Automatically updating links 288

Distributing Your Dashboards via a PDF 289

Distributing Your Dashboards to SkyDrive 291

Limitations when Publishing to the Web 294

Part VI: The Part of Tens 295

Chapter 15: Ten Chart Design Principles 297

Avoid Fancy Formatting 297

Skip the Unnecessary Chart Junk 299

Format Large Numbers Where Possible 301

Use Data Tables instead of Data Labels 302

Make Effective Use of Chart Titles 304

Sort Your Data before Charting 304

Limit the Use of Pie Charts 305

Don’t Be Afraid to Parse Data into Separate Charts 306

Maintain Appropriate Aspect Ratios 307

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Something Other Than a Chart 308

Chapter 16: Ten Questions to Ask Before Distributing Your Dashboard 309

Does My Dashboard Present the Right Information? 309

Does Everything on My Dashboard Have a Purpose? 309

Does My Dashboard Prominently Display the Key Message? 310

Can I Maintain This Dashboard? 310

Does My Dashboard Clearly Display Its Scope and Shelf Life? 311

Is My Dashboard Well Documented? 311

Is My Dashboard Overwhelmed with Formatting and Graphics? 312

Does My Dashboard Overuse Charts When Tables Will Do? 312

Is My Dashboard User-Friendly? 313

Is My Dashboard Accurate? 314

Index 315

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