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Dashboard Tutorial

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HOW TO BUILD DASHBOARDS

Dashboard Tutorial

www.ExcelDashboard.org www.AccessDashboards.com www.InfoCaptor.com

Contents

Introduction.........................................................................................................................3 Purpose........................................................................................................................3 Excel Dashboards..............................................................................................................4 Data Preparation .........................................................................................................5 Launch Dashboard Software and Connect ...............................................................6 Create Dashboard and Table portlet .........................................................................8 Add Calculations .......................................................................................................12 Add Date Hierarchy Columns...................................................................................14 Create Year and Category Parameters...................................................................17 Create Date Filter and Parameters..........................................................................20 Create Bar Chart .......................................................................................................25 Create Pie Chart........................................................................................................32 Finish the Dashboard Design ...................................................................................36 Share the Dashboard with other users ....................................................................46 Appendix...........................................................................................................................49 Define Named Ranges in Excel...............................................................................49

File Ref: Dashboard_Tutorial.doc

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Introduction

Purpose Complete guide on building dashboards using Excel, Access and any other Database as the data source. The tutorial will start with instructions on building a dashboard using Excel Files. The purpose is not just to build any dashboard but a good and useful dashboard that is modular in design and easy to maintain and scale it.

File Ref: Dashboard_Tutorial.doc

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Excel Dashboards Databases are often under lock-n-key of the IT Department and not possible to connect directly due to security reasons. So if you plan to build a Dashboard prototype or a Dashboard Mockup it makes sense to export the data to Excel and build it. Modular Dashboard Design Lot of the online tutorials and Dashboard e-books teach you to build dashboard in Excel file. They provide you with templates, you fill in the information and build the dashboard using Excel charting techniques. If you use Excel Templates for your real dashboarding needs then you may end up with any of the below problems.

Big Bulky and bloated excel files Undocumented Macros Zero verification on the data authencity No way to refresh the dashboard (lost productivity)

Best Practise for Dashboard Design Modular Design - Keep Data and Presentation Separate How? Use Excel only for storing your data. Nothing more. Do not build any visualization in the same place where your Data resides.

Benefits of this approach

Your dashboard or presenation layer is independent Dashboard definition is stored separately Increased productivity When you have fresh data just refresh the dashboard, no redevelopment needed No Messy Excel Macros or coding knowledge required Just drag and drop tables and visually build Tables, Charts, Speedometer, Gauges, Dials, Thermometers and more charts Simplified Distribution and Presentation You can Export the Dashboard to PDF or HTML and just send them as attachments

File Ref: Dashboard_Tutorial.doc

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Save Time - Just build the dashboard presentation layer only once and automate the refreshes.

Data Preparation Export your transaction data to Excel file by running a report or requesting your IT department. There are certain rules to be followed when you get the data in Excel files. Here is a sample Excel dump of Order Entry data. The first row is always treated as the column names. First row is column names

Provide a name to the worksheet, Avoid white space in the name. Replace blank character with _

If you inherit an Excel file with pivots and charts all over the places then try to copy just the raw data in another worksheet in the same file or create another file. If it is not possible to keep the first row as the column names then you could define named ranges. In the dashboard designer it is possible to access the data using Cell ranges but then future updates to theInfoCaptorPage 5 of 52

File Ref: Dashboard_Tutorial.doc

Dashboard Tutorial

www.ExcelDashboard.org www.AccessDashboards.com www.InfoCaptor.com

Excel file could break the dashboard, for e.g if the data goes beyond the Cell range. NOTE: Make sure column names do not have any funky characters. Just keep it to simple alpha-numeric column names.

Launch Dashboard Software and Connect Launch InfoCaptor Dashboard Software on your Desktop and click on the connect button on the toolbar

The connection wizard has items that simplify connecting to different data sources. For Excel Files, Click on the Excel button

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Once you click, it automatically selects the appropriate Driver for you.

Click on the Access/Excel File button. Select the order_raw.xls file. It populates the connect name for you. But you can change this name. Connect Name is for your reference NOTE: Make sure that the order_raw.xls file is not open in MS Excel. The Excel file is locked once you connect to it. If the file is open in MS Excel, you may get connected but not able to query and may get unpredictable results. Now, click on the Connect button Upon successful connection, the connection wizard disappears and a new action wizard pops up.

File Ref: Dashboard_Tutorial.doc

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Create Dashboard and Table portlet Once connected, it will show you a list of action items to pick from

We will click on New Blank Dashboard In the Dashboard Name, we type in Order Management Analytics

Click OK. It will present you with a table browser showing all the available worksheets as tables

File Ref: Dashboard_Tutorial.doc

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Expand the node to see all the worksheets. In this example file, we just have one worksheet named order_data. Note how, it attaches a $ sign at the end, which indicates this is an Excel Worksheet. So make sure you do not have any dollar sign when naming the Excel worksheet and no other special characters and no white or blank characters. Replace blank characters with _ underscore character Double Click on the order_data$ node

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Click on the * alias=ord item at the very top to select all the items

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You may change the name of any column or any other property such as sort and group by. We will leave it as it is and click on the Create Table button. This action creates a Table Portlet (Qlet) in the Dashboard canvas.

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We will use Qlet as our basic building block for the following exercise.

Add Calculations Since this is a raw extract of actual transactions, it may need to add additional calculations and columns to create useful metrics. For e.g in our sample file, we have the Unit Price and Quantity columns. We will create calculation to derive the Amount column

Right click on the Quantity Column, Navigate to Popup Menu Create Create Calculation It shows a calculation wizard.

File Ref: Dashboard_Tutorial.doc

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1. Click on Unit Price 2. Click on * multiplication operator 3. Click on Quantity 4. Rename the column to Amount 5. Click on Use this Formula

As you see, the Amount column is added right next to the Quantity column

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Add Date Hierarchy Columns Most of the data, has s

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