Dashboards

All things Dashboards

Excel dashboard: Using Excel for catchment area analysis

I’m sure you’re familiar with the Walmart growth map. A basic visualization looks like this:

 Obviously this has a lot of potential for a more design-oriented approach, and there are many examples online. Here is the map created by Nathan Yau at FlowingData:

I wanted to play with the data too, but from an Excel user perspective there isn’t much […]

Excel Dashboards: Who Needs Them, Anyway?

You are not happy at work. I can clearly see that. Morale is low due to the economy, but it’s something else, isn’t it? You feel handcuffed. You keep hitting a wall. It hurts, hitting a wall while handcuffed…

You work with data. There is a formal BI tool in your organization, but it is unusable (IT is proud of […]

By |December 13th, 2010|Dashboards|35 Comments|

Consistent dashboard design: write a simple sentence

You know that you should avoid the Crystal Xcelsius dashboard style, but now what? Where do you place your charts, kpi, tables?

Here is a trick that you can use: write a sentence or a paragraph that summarizes the core message. For example “Our sales are growing in an expanding market, and we are gaining market share, specially in these […]

By |November 29th, 2010|Dashboards|1 Comment|

How Do You Sell an Excel Dashboard?

Dmitry asks:
I face an issue that has nothing to do with Excel itself: human resistance. I showed a dashboard to my manager and he answered to me that my dashboard is too difficult for him and for top management and insisted to use simple XL-tables with lots of data. I’m a bit confused, why such innovative approach is not […]

How a Bad Excel Dashboard Made me a More Skilled Excel User

Some years ago, as part of my (then) new job, I had to maintain a monthly updated Excel dashboard. It was a maintenance hell, I hated it, but I couldn’t change it because of my poor Excel skills.

“This is stupid, there must be a better way”, I kept saying to myself.

So, I searched, and searched, and searched, and within […]

Fighting IT? Prototype an Executive Dashboard in Excel

I am a moderately advanced Excel user. This means “a dangerous person” for the IT department,¬†but I like this daily fight, and Excel dashboards are among my preferred weapons. Let’s see how they can be used.

Excel is the best tool for executive dashboard prototyping, because of its flexibility and development costs. Creating a fully functional prototype is not hard […]

By |December 10th, 2008|Dashboards|15 Comments|

Performance vs flexibility in Excel: Demographic Dashboard Lookup Edition

I am sure Albert Einstein was thinking of Excel dashboards when he said “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. Let me tell you why.

Demographic Dashboard: The VBA edition

I published some time ago a first version of my Demographic Dashboard to show how an average Excel user could design a dashboard. This version is […]

Car dashboards: a broken metaphor for executive dashboards

Some metaphors are really stupid. Convincing people that running a company is like driving a car and you need a similar dashboard is one of them. If you are naive enough to buy it, most dashboard vendors will happily fill up your precious screen real estate with irrelevant gauges and and speedometers designed to look “cool”.

Futuristic aesthetics sells very […]

Excel dashboard competition

Bonavista Systems announced today an Excel Dashboard Competition. Participants stand a chance to win an iPhone, a workshop hosted by Stephen Few and a copy of Few’s “Information Dashboard Design”. Unlike other competitions, there is no data set. You just have to use Excel and MicroCharts, their sparkline generator. You don’t need to buy MicroCharts to enter the competition, […]

Creating a VBA-free Excel dashboard

Do you need VBA to create an Excel dashboard? Our recent discussion clearly shows two lines of thought: a) you should use it because there are things you just can’t do without VBA and if you have access to a powerful tool you should put it to work; b) you should avoid VBA like the plague because the average […]