Excel Dashboard Classes in Australia

Calling all Dashboard Spy readers in Australia:

Chandoo, master excel dashboarder and guru, will be conducting a series of Advanced Excel Dashboard Masterclasses in Australia this coming May and June.

If you are close to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra or Perth, take this chance to brush up on your dashboard skills.

Info here:

Australian Excel Dashboard Master Classes by Chandoo

The two day masterclass is aimed at managers, analysts, reporting professionals, executives in sales, marketing, customer service or anyone who wants to learn about Excel Dashboards.

In this masterclass you will learn:

Day1: Our first dashboard in Excel

  • Excel formulas for dashboards
  • Applying advanced conditional formatting for dashboards
  • Building our first dashboard – hands-on exercise

Day 2: Advanced dashboard skills

  • Selecting right charts for any situation
  • Enhancing dashboards with Excel 2010 – sparklines, slicers
  • Customizing Excel charts – top 5 problems
  • Building our second dashboard – hands-on exercise
  • Q&A

Not in Australia?

Be sure to check out Chandoo’s School for Excel and his modules on Excel Dashboards.

If you are interested in using Excel for Dashboards, click on this banner to learn more about Excel School for Dashboards:

Excel School for Dashboards



Excel Dashboard Tutorial

This step-by-step Excel Dashboard Tutorial shows you how to design and implement an excel dashboard. Using a real-life case study, Chandoo walks you through the business requirement, data analysis, dashboard design and layout, pivot table construction and other aspects of the construction of this excel dashboard.

Click on this dashboard image to enlarge it:

excel dashboard tutorial

Do yourself a favor and check out this lesson on constructing an excel dashboard:

Excel Dashboard Lesson

Pay particular attention to Chandoo’s thinking about the design and layout of the excel dashboard. Also, listen for the advice he gives on the dashboard architecture decisions he makes.

Tags: How to build an excel dashboard.

Warmly, Hubert Lee
The Dashboard Spy

Excel Infographics

Dashboard Spy Topic: Excel Dashboard Example.

Excel dashboard guru Chandoo offers a download of an excellent infographic he created using Excel 2010. Did you know that Excel 2010 has sparklines? Take a look at this awesome excel dashboard done in an infographic poster style.

Visit his post to download the excel file: Sachin Tendulkar Statistics Excel Infographic Poster

Excel 2010 dashboard

Chandoo offers other examples of information visualization done using Microsoft Excel.

Project Gemini and Excel Dashboards

One of the highlights of Microsoft’s Business Intelligence 2008 Conference in October was the announcement of “Project Gemini”. As Forrester reported, “With its just-announced Project Gemini, Microsoft aims to bring an Excel-based user analytics mashup tool into the core of Microsoft’s BI and data warehousing product portfolio. What is now only in the hands of OLAP data modelers and other highly trained staff will — as Community Technology Previews roll out to public beta testers late next year — become available to any company employee as an in-memory, drag-and-drop, pivot-table-enabled dashboard.”

According to Forrester, Microsoft’s ubiquitous spreadsheet, Excel, is already the most popular front-end program used by business analysts and others who want to analyze and display the results of their BI queries. This announcement of Project Gemini shows that Microsoft wants to accelerate the use of Excel as the ubiquitous front end for business intelligence dashboarding.

So what is Project Gemini? It’s an Excel add-on planned to ship with Kilimanjaro (a business intelligence focused release of SQL Server) that incorporates column-based in-memory business intelligence.

If you’d like to hear how Microsoft explained it, let’s go back in time to the Microsoft Business Intelligence 2008 Conference keynote speeches.

View the MS BI Conference web cast: Low | High

To view Donald Farmer introducing Project Gemini, fast forward to about 1 hour and 26 minutes. Also worth watching is the “BI Fairy Tale” at 1 hour and 17 minutes.

microsoft business intelligence 2008 conference Project Gemini Excel Dashboards

But, what is the real impact of Project Gemini for us Dashboard Spies? Well, thanks to the good folks at SiSense, makers of a business intelligence tool called Prism, we have this contribution of an article that makes sense of Project Gemini.

Thanks goes out to Roni Floman and Eldad Farkash for this article:

What does Microsoft’s project Gemini announcement mean for the business intelligence world?

By Eldad Farkash

Microsoft announced its Project Gemini on October 6th 2008. In essence, Project Gemini adds to Excel the ability to perform column based in-memory business intelligence without much of the terminology today’s BI consultants need to master.

Why does in-memory matter when it applies to business intelligence?

Traditional business intelligence solutions are OLAP centric. The OLAP was developed to rapidly answer multidimensional analytical queries (a paraphrase on Nigel Pendse). Since disks aren’t that quick, the OLAP pre-computes and aggregates the data.

The OLAP’s pre-calculation and pre-aggregation of business intelligence metrics was successful in that it enabled the early success of business intelligence and powered its growth. It is what made business intelligence so important for the large corporations that could afford to maintain it. This also points at the weak point: OLAPs create a lot of new data, require a data warehouse and involve long projects. This is the same as saying a high total cost of ownership.

This is where in-memory business intelligence comes in. It takes advantage of column based data structures (as opposed to row based tables or pre-aggregated cubes), and uses the already available super fast RAM to aggregate and calculate millions of cells on your regular Desktop (or on any cheap data server for that matter), without the long lasting table scans and indexing techniques that are required by traditional OLAP & OLTP systems. Coupled with modern, intuitive user interfaces, it lets users slice, dice and filter data in a way that is easy to learn.

Click on the “read more” link below to view the rest of this post:
Continue reading

2008 Best Excel Dashboard

Excel Dashboard Update:

New tutorial walks you through the design, architecture and construction of this Microsoft Excel dashboard:

excel dashboard tutorial

Click here to see the Excel Dashboard Tutorial details.

Excel dashboards submitted as candidates for the best 2008 Excel dashboard design contest run by BonaVista Systems have been evaluated.

Wade Stokes is the winner of the best excel dashboard with his entry of this International Bank Dashboard. Click on the dashboard screenshot to enlarge the image and you’ll see a dashboard that make efficient use of screen real estate through incorporation of the popular sparkline graphic:

Winner of Best 2008 Excel Dashboard Competition

Click on the “read more” link to read some commentary by the dashboard designer:

Continue reading

So Where are the Excel 2007 Dashboards?

Are less dashboards being built using Excel 2007 than I thought? The recent post about customizing the Ribbon navigation panel elements for Excel 2007 dashboards brought out a couple of comments from Dashboard Spy readers that basically said that Office 2007 upgrades were not yet in sight for them. Yes, it’s true that there’s a buzz out there about the dashboard-friendy functionality found in the Excel 2007 version and that we finally have a good Excel dashboarding book (see Excel 2007 Dashboards & Reports For Dummies), but Office 2007 is not yet commonly available in many enterprises.

I thought I’d look at the adoption rate of Excel 2007 in this post.

A great “in-the-trenches” look at whether people are using Excel 2007 yet comes from Charley Kyd of ExcelUser.com in his Excel 2007 Market Share survey. Since the release of Office 2007, he has been running a poll of what version Excel his site visitors have been using.

BTW, if you want an easy, low cost way to produce magazine-quality Excel dashboards, take a look at Charley’s Plug and Play Excel Dashboard Templates. Just point them to your data, and you have some great looking excel dashboard reports.

Here’s a screengrab from his site:

Excel version survey results

Click on the more link for more on this Excel version survey.
Continue reading

Customizing Ribbon Buttons for Excel 2007 Dashboards

Excel Dashboard Update:

Here are some recent pointers to resources that are very helpful to excel dashboard builders and users.

This is an excel sales dashboard template for you to download and reuse:

Sales Dashboard in Excel

This is a video on excel reporting and how a dashboard view can enhance excel reports:

This is the link for future info on these excel management reports:


Building a dashboard with Excel 2007? Don’t forget to make use of the Excel 2007 ribbon. You can add your own custom tabs and buttons to the Excel ribbon using XML or RibbonX code. Thanks to Mike Alexander, author of Excel 2007 Dashboards & Reports For Dummies, there is a freeware Custom Button Builder for Excel 2007.

As this Excel 2007 Custom Ribbon Buttons video tutorial shows, the utility asks you to fill out a table of values and it provides a sample worksheet with your custom tabs/buttons (complete with icons and code that can call your macros).

Let’s have a look at some screenshots I captured from the video:

You can select from the billions of icons on your machine:

Excel 2007 Ribbon Icons - Datapig utility

Click to see more of this Excel 2007 Ribbon Customization utility:

Continue reading

The Future of Excel Dashboards

In past Dashboard Spy posts, we’ve discussed the growing importance of Microsoft Excel as a serious business intelligence dashboard tool. Because of its ubiquity and role as lingua franca between business units in the enterprise, the recent expansion of Excel’s dashboard capabilities has an importance to us BI dashboarders for years to come. Of particular interest are things like the enhanced conditional formatting and dashboard status icons / indicators.

Add to the mix some cutting edge data visualization tools such as the sparkline charting products (Microcharts 3) from BonaVista Systems and incredibly detailed instructional books such as Excel 2007 Dashboards and Reports for Dummies, and you have the makings of a business power user revolution in visual business intelligence (e.g. dashboards).

The recent announcement by BonaVista Systems of an Excel Dashboard contest brought several thoughts to mind. First, of course, was the anticipation that this event will allow us to see what fellow dashboarders are currently doing with Excel in terms of dashboarding. Second was an interesting thought spurred by the first prize in the contest – an Apple iPhone. They show a small thumbnail of an iPhone mocked up with a Microcharts powered sparkline dashboard. That was neat (and it gave me inspiration to create a larger version of the iphone business dashboard shown below), but what really made me think was the caption “more information per pixel”. I thought that the phrase sums up neatly the sparkline approach to data visualization.

Let’s take a look at the iPhone dashboard I mocked up and then I’ll share some details of the Excel dashboarding competition. It’s still open, so I encourage all Dashboard Spy readers to enter.

Is this the future of Excel dashboards?

iPhone Business Dashboard Excel

Before we look at the details of the Excel Dashboard contest, have a look at some of the Microchart graphics that you can use in your dashboard:

microchart graphs for excel dashboard

Click on the more link to learn about the excel dashboard competition:

Continue reading

Excel-based Enterprise Dashboard – excel worksheet xls file download

Dashboard Spy Update: Several readers have recommended the Charley Kyd eBook on using Microsoft Excel for Business Dashboards. I have started reading it myself and it is excellent. There are also many excel dashboard templates available as well. Use this link: http://tinyurl.com/exceldashboard

The best way to get started in using Microsoft Excel for business dashboards is to grab an existing excel dashboard, take it apart and try it out on your own data. Here is a post that shows such a spreadsheet dashboard with a link to the xls file. 

I see that many of you Dashboard Spies out there are very interested in the tried and true excel spreadsheet approach to dashboards. Thanks to a download from javaplanetinc.com, there is this excel dashboard xls file for you to play with. Here are 2 screenshots. The first shows the graphic presentation of the data. There are 2 larger sections across the top of the screen. On the left is a pie chart showing salary by department and on the right side, we have a simple listing of outstanding balances. Below this section we have 4 smaller portlets (sales by region, budget by project, current output by plant, and sales by business unit). To show you that this is straight excel, I’ve taken a screenshot of the second sheet in the workbook. Try this with your own data and see what you come up with. Remember to send us your dashboard screenshots so that we can all learn how executive dashboards apply to your business.

Business dashboard screenshot

excel-based dashboard

Homework: Don’t ignore excel as a dashboard tool. It’s graphing ability is powerful and the number of users is unmatched. If you need a refresher on the tool, see these books on excel.

Reading Assignment: Continuing on our study of the Malik book on implementing dashboards, please read this passage and think about how your company would go about choosing a dashboard vendor:


There were four key criteria and feature requirements during the vendorselection process:

1. Web based for ease of access, administration, upgrades, security, andso on

2. Industry standard to ensure that experienced resources could be hired

3. Recognized and well-respected leader in the online analytical process-ing field

4. Company that spends a better than average percentage of revenues onR&D to ensure that applications remain competitive

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s favorite books.

Excel Dashboard – Sales Performance

Business Dashboard Example: Sales Dashboard

A sales performance dashboard is an invaluable tool for sales management professionals. In the era of following-up web-based sales leads which grow stale faster than white bread, a sales dashboard can mean the difference between high-performance and lackluster results.

An excellent resource on using Microsoft Excel to power dashboards is exceluser.com where the article “Six Ways Excel Dashboards
Can Improve Cash Flows” by Charly Kyd appears: http://www.exceluser.com/dash/dashcash.htm. The author offers this graphic as a way to show a whole lot of info in a small space. “This image shows a page with the sales performance for 110 products. Each tiny figure includes the product code, two key metrics, and a chart of the most-recent 13 months of performance.”

Excel Sales Dashboard

So What or Who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of business dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot to share, please leave a comment or send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s favorite books.