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Excel Dashboard and Reports Design

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Excel Dashboard and Reports Design
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  • Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • With apologies to Billy Joel, in Excel, the dierences between building a dashboard and creating standard table-driven analyses are as great as the dierences between California and New York.

    Shall we count the ways?

    BUT FIRST, before we count, some denitions

    Get Yourself into a Dashboard State of MindBest Practices for Excel Dashboards & Reports

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Dening Dashboards and Reports

    It isnt dicult to use report and dashboard interchangeably. In fact, the line between reports and dashboards frequently gets muddied. It is common to see reports inaccurately referred to asas dashboards just because they include a few charts.

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Reports

    A document that contains data used for reading or viewing.

    As simple as a data table or as complex as a subtotaled view with interactive drill downs, similar to Excels Subtotal or pivot table functionality.

    Often allow for the end users to apply their own judgment and analysis to the data.

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Example of a Report

    This report shows the National Park overnight visitor statistics by period; note that it isnt steering the reader in any predened judgment or analysis. It simply presents the aggregated data.

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • And Whats a Dashboard?

    A visual interface that provides at-a-glance views into key measures relevant to a particular objective or business process.

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Dashboards have 3 MAIN ATTRIBUTES They...

    1 Typically graphical in nature, providing visualizations that help focus attention on key trends, comparisons, and exceptions

    2 Often display only data that are relevant to the goal of the dashboard

    3 Contain predened conclusions that relieve the end user f from performing his own analysis (given that dashboards are designed with a specic purpose or goal)

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Heres a best practices example of a dashboard.

    See the dierence? Good! Youre easing into a Dashboard State of Mind. Now, PREPARE FOR GREATNESS!

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Simplify!

    How many times has someone told you that your reports look busy? Stephen Fews mantra: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Be Anti-Clutter Dont turn your dashboard into a data repository!

    Admit it. You include as much information onto a report as possible, primarily to avoid being asked for additional information. We all do it.

    But in the dashboaBut in the dashboard state of mind, you have to ght the urge to force every piece of data available onto your dashboards.

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Avoid using colors or background lls to partition your dashboards.

    De-emphasize borders, backgrounds, and other elements that dene dashboard areas.

    Avoid applying fancy eects such as gradients, pattern lls, shadows, glows, soft edges, and other and other formatting.

    Dont try to enhance your dashboards with clip art or pictures.

    Keep it CleanAvoid the fancy formatting

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Lean on LayoutUse layout and placement to draw focus

    Instead of using bright colors or exaggerated sizing dierences, leverage location and placement to draw focus to the most important components on your dashboard.

    A A FASCINATING AND TRUE FACT: Studies show that users pay particular attention to the upper-left and middle-left of a document.

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Always use commas to make numbers easier to read. SHOW THIS: 2,345 NOT THAT: 2345

    Only use decimal places if that level of precision is required; theres rarely a benet for showing the decimal places in a dollar amount. SHOW THIS: $123 NOT THAT: $123.45

    Likewise in percentages, use only the minimum number of decimalof decimals. SHOW THIS: 43% NOT THAT: 43.21%

    Format very large numbers to the thousands or millions place. SHOW THIS: 17M NOT THAT: 16,906,714

    Format Numbers EectivelyShow This, Not That

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Only use the dollar symbol when you need to clarify that youre referring to monetary values. If you have a chart or table that contains all revenue values, and theres a label clearly stating this, you can save room and pixels by leaving out the dollar symbol.

    Format Numbers EectivelyShow This, Not That

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Always include a timestamp on your reporting mechanisms.

    Always include some text indicating when the data for the measures was retrieved.

    Use descriptive titles for each component on your dashboard.

    Tighten Titles

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Lightly colored labels give your users the information they need without distracting them from the information displayed.

    Ideal colors for labels are colors commonly found in nature: soft grays, browns, blues, and greens.

    It may seem counterintuitive, but: de-emphasize labels by formatting them to hues lighter than the ones used for your data.

    Label Eectively

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

  • Learn More

    Pick up a copy today

    www.wiley.com/buy/9781118842249www.wiley.com/buy/9781118842249

    Design Principles of Excel Dashboards & Reports

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