How to improve Your Excel Dashboard Skills

 

Microsoft Excel is one of the best applications on the market for dashboard reporting, a technique that many Excel users may not be familiar with or know how to implement. Essentially, a dashboard report is a way to visually present critical data in summary form so that you can make quick and effective decisions, in much the same way that a car dashboard works.

Dashboards are is an important skill when it comes to Excel reporting and employers are specifically asking for these skills. Being able to present data to your boss or your team in a visual way that conveys important messages quickly is a very valuable skill.

If you need to take your Excel skills to the next level to get that dream job, then knowing Excel Dashboards will help you stand out from the competition.

Excel Dashboards often need to be dynamic so that you can cut and paste new data into them and have them update without having to change each graph and equation.

Many Excel Dashboards will also allow the user to select one or more options, maybe from a list of products, to dynamically change what is presented. Below is an example dashboard to give you some ideas.

Excel Dashboards are pretty cool, as you can see from the above example.  Imagine what your boss would think if you had emailed him this spreadsheet when he asked for the latest figures?  I know what I would think – how about you?

How do you learn to create Excel Dashboards like this?

What is the best way to learn techniques that help you make your data come alive like this?

I already have a number of books that touch on charting data in Excel but earlier this week I signed up for an online course to improve my dashboard skills.

I wasn’t expecting to learn too much as I already know a lot of functions and build charts all the time – but my boss has started to really focus on monthly reporting at work and I wanted to get a template set up that I could just paste the data into each month and email to him.

I signed up to the MyonlineTrainingHub’s Dashboard course which opened last week at a 20% discount for early registrations.  The course is over 4 hours of online video training directly related to planning and designing Excel Dashboards – but the hidden gem was the amount of their background training that is given away with the course!

The course has 9 sessions, each section has a number of Excel Dashboard related videos that show how to apply the techniques.  Other videos that show standard Excel related features that will help you with the techniques shown in each video are then included as a set of related videos.  Have a look at the list of videos that you get access to with session 6 – Analysing data.

Session 6 h:mm:ss
6.01 PivotCharts 00:03:31
6.02 Slicers 00:05:04
6.03 GETPIVOTDATA Function 00:11:25

This is the shortest session – but has the longest list of related videos for you to access – check out this list below.   The really useful thing about this way of presenting a course is that it enables the teacher to get to the point quickly but also cover some of the basics that you may not already know – the best of both worlds – No sitting through hours of waffle and no getting lost in advance techniques without learning the basics first – Neat!

Excel Course Session 10: Tables 00:14:24
10.01 Introduction 00:01:03
10.02 Insert a Table and Style Options 00:03:26
10.03 Add Rows and Columns 00:02:39
10.04 Perform a Function in a Table 00:04:18
10.05 Summarise with PivotTable 00:02:58
Excel Course Session 14: Lookup Functions 00:35:49
14.01 Introduction 00:01:14
14.02 VLOOKUP 00:06:20
14.03 VLOOKUP Exact Match 00:09:17
14.04 HLOOKUP 00:03:52
14.05 HLOOKUP Exact Match 00:01:36
14.06 CHOOSE 00:06:12
14.07 INDEX & MATCH 00:07:05
Excel Course Session 15: Conditional Logic 00:51:53
15.02 IF Statement 00:07:43
15.03 Nested IF 00:04:21
15.04 IF AND 00:03:01
15.05 IF OR 00:02:43
15.06 IF NOT 00:04:21
15.07 IFERROR 00:03:13
15.08 SUMIF and SUMIFS 00:04:15
15.09 AVERAGEIF and AVERAGEIFS 00:04:41
15.10 COUNTIF & COUNTIFS 00:09:46
15.11 SUMPRODUCT 00:10:18
Excel Course Session 21: PivotTables 00:15:52
21.01 Introduction 00:01:14
21.02 Creating PivotTables 00:02:48
21.03 Choosing Fields 00:04:07
21.04 PivotTable Layout 00:03:29
21.05 Filtering PivotTables 00:02:04
21.06 Modifying PivotTable Data 00:02:10

Who is the trainer?

The course is run by Mynda Treacy, Co-founder of My Online Training Hub.  Mynda has been working with Excel since 1995 and teaching since 2010 (not including teaching many colleagues over the years).  She has a great steady approach to recording her videos and as you can see from the example below her style is easy to follow and every minute of the video is designed to give you valuable information.

 

Support for your own dashboards

Mynda gives technical support for every student for 3 months.  Simply ask any question you like about the videos shown and how to apply the techniques to your own data and she will send you an in depth reply – see below an example


Mynda is based in Australia and this means that if you are in the UK or USA if you ask all your questions at the end of your day – you will have answers by the time you awake in the morning!

Click here for the course webpage to learn more

 What do other people think about the course?

It is not just me who is raving about the course – check out these reviews from LinkedIn

What do I get with the course?

 

  •  Access to nearly 5 hours of specific and focused Excel Dashboard training
  • Over 3 hours of supporting Excel videos
  • 3 months free technical support to help you make your own dashboards
  • All the XLS files used in all the videos
  • Example dashboard templates for you to see what a finished dashboard looks like
  • A 30 day money back Guarantee
  • A happy boss!

What does it cost?

The course has a 20% discount on the course fee for everyone who starts the course before the 6th November.  Just visit the link below and use the discount code DASH at the checkout.  If you are looking to create stunning Excel dashboards for you or your boss then the course will pay for itself the first time you use the skills you learn.  Just watch the reaction to your new spreadsheets.

As I said at the start of this review, my boss has really focused on monthly reporting recently and in the 3 days that I have had access to the course I have learnt enough to put together a great dashboard which I emailed to my boss yesterday.  This is what he said-

“Roger,

Thanks for sending the monthly figures through.  I have to say I am impressed with the new format of your spreadsheet, it is very easy to see exactly where our sales are coming from and why our current overseas focus is so important.

Who taught you to create this interactive format?  Can you teach it to the others who produce monthly reports as this is so much better than our old format.

Thanks again for taking the time to find the best way to present the data to me – your efforts are greatly appreciated.”

This was my first attempt at using the techniques I had learnt in three evenings!  this is why I recommend that if you need to produce reports each month you take a look at this course before the early bird cut off of the 6th November.

I am so confident that you will find this course useful that I am going to
give you all of Clayton Lock’s videos free when you sign up.
Simply send me your receipt number to me at
improveyourexcel(at)gmail.com and I will send
you a link to download an addition 47 Excel video.

Click here for the course webpage to learn more

A complete list of the training videos

Session 1 Introduction
Session 2 Getting Your Data Ready
Session 3 Design Principles
Session 4 Display Principles
4.01 Charts & Tricks for Trending
4.02 Secondary Axis
4.03 Smoothing Data
4.04 Sparklines
4.05 Formatting Tricks
4.06 Highlighting Comparisons
4.07 Top & Bottom Ranking
4.08 Frequency Distribution
4.09 Target vs Variance Charts
4.1 Performance Against Target Range
4.11 Bullet Graphs
4.12 Win/Loss/Draw Conditional Format
4.13 Dynamic Data Range
4.14 Dynamic Labels
4.15 Text Formulas
4.16 Symbols in Formulas and Charts
4.17 Charts Referencing Non-contiguous Ranges
4.18 Embedding Objects in Charts
4.19 Dynamic, Dynamic Data Validation Lists
4.2 In Cell Charts
4.21 Panel Charts
Related Excel Session 9: Conditional Formatting
Related Excel Session 19: Adding Graphics
Session 5 Interactive Controls
5.01 Form Controls Introduction
5.02 Check Boxes
5.03 List Boxes
5.04 Option Buttons
5.05 Group Boxes
5.06 Scroll Bar
5.07 Buttons
5.08 Combo Box with Macro
Related Excel Session 11: Data Tools
Session 6 Analysing the Data
6.01 PivotCharts
6.02 Slicers – Excel 2010 Only
6.03 GETPIVOTDATA Function
Related Excel Session 10: Tables
Related Excel Session 14: Lookup Functions
Related Excel Session 15: Conditional Logic
Related Excel Session 21: PivotTables
Session 7 Automating your Dashboard
7.01 Linking to Access
7.02 Incorporating New Data Automatically
7.03 Auto Refresh PivotTables
Related Excel Session 26: Macros
Session 8 Putting It All Together
8.01 Quick Re-cap
8.02 New Dashboard Tour
8.03 Pyramid Chart
8.04 Array Formula Alternative to SUMIFS
8.05 LARGE and SMALL Array and DAVERAGE
8.06 Rank Values with PivotTable
8.07 Scatter Chart
8.08 DMAX, DMIN, DAVERAGE
8.09 Formatting Quickly
Session 9 Distributing your Dashboard
9.01 Checking and Publishing
Related Excel Session 22: Protecting Data
Bonus INDIRECT Function
INDIRECT Excel File

 

Click here for the course webpage to learn more

 
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