Excel 2013 Dashboards

What is an Excel Dashboard?

A dashboard is a visual interface that provides at-a-glance views into key measures relevant to a particular objective or business process. Dashboard reports allow users to get high-level overview of the business and help them make quick decisions. Dashboards have three main attributes.

  • Dashboards are typically graphical in nature, providing visualizations that help focus attention on key trends, comparisons, and exceptions.
  • Dashboards often display only data that are relevant to the goal of the dashboard.
  • Because dashboards are designed with a specific purpose or goal, they inherently contain predefined conclusions that relieve the end user from performing his own analysis.

You can create dashboards using a lot of different tools. Microsoft Excel is an excellent choice for creating and distributing dashboards due its ease of use and universal availability.

Some Key Points when creating a dashboard

  • Establish the audience and purpose for the dashboard.
  • Don’t be afraid to clarify the initial request and discuss what is really being asked for.
  • Discuss the purpose of the dashboard and the triggers that caused them to ask for a dashboard in the first place.

Microsoft Excel Dashboard Example

Outline the measures for the dashboard

  • Most dashboards are designed around a set of measures, or key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • The measures used on a dashboard should absolutely support the initial purpose of that dashboard.
  • Create a Mock-up of the dashboard layout.

Catalogue the required data sources

  • Do you have access to the necessary data sources?
  • How often are those data sources refreshed?
  • Who owns and/or maintains those data sources?
  • What are the processes to get the data from the resources?
  • Does the data even exist?

Define the dimensions and filters for the dashboard

In the context of reporting, a dimension is a data category used to organize business data.

  • Region,
  • Market,
  • Branch,
  • Manager, or
  • Employee