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Charley's Swipe File #21

This Excel dashboard report, inspired by the NUMBERS series in Business Week, is a great format for any kind of professional report.


by Charley Kyd, MBA
Microsoft Excel MVP, 2005-2014
The Father of Spreadsheet Dashboard Reports

Charley's Swipe File #21For several years, Business Week published a “Numbers” page every week. The page was essentially a dashboard about the economy.

Unfortunately, the page disappeared when Bloomberg bought the magazine.

I had planned to create some real Numbers dashboards when they first started to appear in BW. These would have included easy ways to manage both numbers and text.

I haven’t yet worked out a way to manage the text easily, so here’s an introductory version that’s not linked to an Excel database, as my real dashboards are.

Usage Ideas

This is a great format for any kind of professional report. You can start with the sample and modify it in a lot of ways.

Excel Issues

This figure includes several issues…

Data Bars. Excel 2003, 2007, and 2010 each display the table on this page differently:

  • Excel 2010 allows solid Data Bars, as shown in the figure. (Choose Home, Styles, Conditional Formatting, Data Bars.)

  • Excel 2007 allows only gradient Data Bars.

  • Excel 2003 doesn’t support Data Bars.

Transparent Fills. No version of Excel allows gridlines to appear on top of area plots and column plots. To get around this problem in 2007 and 2010, you can make the fills slightly transparent.  However, Excel 2003 doesn’t allow you to directly assign a transparency value to chart fills. (The command is grayed out permanently.)

To get around this problem in 2003, create a Rectangle and assign the fill color and transparency you want. Then copy the rectangle, select a column-plot series in your chart, and then press Ctrl+V to paste the rectangle. When you do so, Excel will paste the Rectangle’s transparent fill color to your chart series.

Linked Text Boxes. You can link text boxes to cells in a worksheet so that the text box displays what’s in the cell. To do so...

(Continued in the documentation.)

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