Update: No time to learn the ins and outs of Excel 2007 versus earlier versions? If you need a fast, low-cost path to Microsoft Excel dashboards, consider using ready-to-go <a href=”http://www.exceluser.com/cmd.asp?af=784889” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>Excel Dashboard Templates</a> from ExcelUser. They are plug and play, pure Excel worksheets. Just point them to your data source. They look great and are inspired by magazine-style dashboards.
When Office 2007 comes out, the impact on casual, do-it-yourself dashboards, will be huge. Out of the box, Excel 2007 (Excel 12) will have some serious dashboarding capability. We will see a new wave of Excel-based dashboards that look like the screenshot below.
This article discusses the impact on IT departments of the new Excel. In it, the author focuses on the fact that “Spotting trends or out-of-the-norm values is likely more important to your users.” and that the new Excel has serious capabilities in that regard. He goes on to say:
“The most significant improvements in Excel fall in the area of data visualization. In the new release, a colored gradient in cell backgrounds can be used to represent a cell’s value. The higher the value, the longer the bar. Excel 12 gives you the ability to create your own dashboards. Traditionally, the three-color traffic light (red, yellow, green) has been a popular way for end users to spot problems. Now traffic lights—and a variety of other graphics, such as arrows—are available in Excel 12, and you can define the intervals each colored light is assigned.”
In the dashboard screenshot below, green lights represent values over 67% of the maximum, yellow for values between 33 and 67 percent, and red for those less than 33 percent. These intervals are user adjustable, and you can base indicators (traffic light colors, arrow directions, or whatever icon you choose) on values in addition to percents.
Another significant change is in the Excel controls. Here is a screenshot of the toolbar “ribbon” used for pivot tables.
Homework: Don’t underestimate the impact on the dashboarding landscape that Excel 2007 will have. Also, as this is a significant upgrade, the training impact will be high. Keep an eye on these upcoming books on Excel 2007.
Tags: Excel Dashboards, Dashboard Screenshots
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.