Excel dashboards make it easy to perform quick overviews of data reports rather than going through large volumes of data. Overviews help in making quick and urgent decisions since one can skim through a lot of information at once and within a short time.
The dashboards help in tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with ease, which helps organizations track the progress on their targets. They provide a high-level summary of key aspects of your data to keep everyone at par with the progress, hence giving the organization a timely indicator for necessary action in real-time.
Excel dashboards include various elements such as charts, tables, figures, and gauges that help in presenting the data. They can handle any type of data from different market and purposes, and the information can be used for marketing, financial, or other business projects. The dashboard is most applicable to large volumes of data since it would otherwise be hectic to go through such large volumes of data, especially with limited time. One can build their dashboard or use a template to begin using Excel dashboards.
The Excel Dashboard is used to display overviews of large data tracks.
Excel Dashboards use dashboard elements like tables, charts, and gauges to show the overviews.
The dashboards ease the decision-making process by showing the vital parts of the data in the same window.
Creation of an Excel Dashboard
The following outlines the initial steps in creating an Excel dashboard:
1. Brainstorm ideas and strategize on the dashboard’s main purpose
Before investing time and money to build Excel dashboards, users should first brainstorm ideas on the type of data to add to the dashboard. Strategize on the main purpose you want the dashboard to serve. Do you want to track certain departments of the business or the performance of a specific product produced by the company?
2. identify the appropriate data source
After deciding on the purpose, the next step is to identify the appropriate source of the data that is going to be displayed on the dashboard. The data forms the basic element of the dashboard and guides the components that will be added to it.
The purpose of creating the dashboard determines, to a large extent, its appearance and features. The dashboard should encompass only the necessary aspects of the data that is relevant in making key decisions. Its appearance also depends on the recipients of the information. What are their preferences? Is the consumer a manager, external client, or a colleague? How much time do they have to study the dashboard? All the attributes should be key in designing the dashboard while keeping in mind the consumer’s preferences.
Design of an Excel Dashboard
The brainstorming stage will outline relevant dashboard elements to include in the design. You can decide to use or improve prebuilt templates to save time and money. The key elements of the template will include pivot tables, static tables, dynamic charts, auto-shape objects, gauge widgets, and other non-chart widgets.
The space occupied by each of the items also determines the appearance and readability of the dashboard. Are there too many small objects in the dashboard? Are the elements necessary, or do you need a few large objects that are easy and fast to study? Identify all the key elements that you will want to see on the dashboard so that you can categorize similar elements in the same section within the dashboard.
In addition, the Excel dashboard background color affects the readability of the data to a large extent. You can choose to color code similar objects to make it easy for the data users to read the information presented on the dashboard. The choice of colors also helps users distinguish between certain groups of elements for easier comparison. The Excel dashboard’s user interface can be enhanced by simplifying the navigation panels. One way to achieve it is to add labels to graphs, include drop-down lists, and freeze panels to limit scrolls.
How PowerPoint Eases Use of Excel Dashboards
Microsoft’s slideshow and presentation application, PowerPoint, can help in the presentation of Excel dashboards by making it more interactive for users. The option of making the dashboard interactive using Excel only can be a complex process since it would require using macros and VBA, which are complex languages to use with Excel sheets. The simpler alternative is to add the interactive elements to PowerPoint since the application comes with in-built elements.
For example, you can add charts to PowerPoint and use the interactivity elements to simplify the presentation. If you are presenting the performance data of ABC Limited for ten years, it will be difficult to present the data in Excel. When using PowerPoint, you can create ten charts for the ten years, with each chart showing the company’s performance for each year.
The charts can then be added to the Excel dashboard. Each chart can be placed on an individual slide, such that when navigating through the charts, the slides will appear as if they are in motion. It increases the interactivity and presentation of the ten-year performance data in Excel.
CFI offers the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and developing your knowledge base, please explore the additional relevant resources below: