During the past CNY holiday, I read a book called <Information Dashboard Design – Display data for at-a-glance monitoring> by Stephen Few. Special thanks to my friend who borrows the book for me!
Well, this is not an Excel book. The book basically covers no Excel topic at all. Instead this book presents various concepts for developing dashboard, which I find quite practical and enlightening!
On return to work, I have to create a dummy report using the skills and concepts learned from the book. The following dashboard-style report is built:
Not bad? I hope. ;p
To create this, we need to know the following skills in Excel
- Conditional Formatting (Those icon sets are introduced in Excel 2007 or later; a great improvement for Conditional Formatting)
- Charting Technique for Bullet Chart (There are actually 13 separate charts; created one by one)
- Sparklines (mini-in-cell graph introduced in Excel 2010 or later)
The most challenging part is the creation of the Bullet Charts by using Excel. Can you imagine that the Bullet Charts were created by Scatter plots ? It’s been a lot of trial and error to make it success. However, I think the techniques I used is not efficient yet to be shared here. I need to invest more time in modifying it.
My current works give me a super big room in developing many reports like this. Through the blogs I follow and various Excellent bloggers who share their knowledge unconditionally, I have enhanced my Excel skills greatly in the past year. Thanks to the era of Internet too! Still there is a long way to go.
Btw, if you are still using Excel 2003 or even earlier, you have missed a lot of great features in new Excel. Upgrade to Excel 2010 at least! Not only does it improve your productivity, but also extend your capability in reporting, data-analysis, anything you do at works with Excel.
Disclaimer: I am not a salesperson for MS Excel nor for the blogs I follow. ;p But they are really good!!