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Excel Dashboards, Charts and Graphs

How to create order documents from excel

“Great to do business with. Highly recommend them,”  G. Dabliz.

If you want to view all of your key information in one place in a visually impactful and easy to understand format, Excel Dashboards are the way to go. The range of potential applications and uses for Excel Dashboards, charts and graphics are enormous, and the entire system is designed to work seamlessly with your new or existing spreadsheets, automating updates and changes to the data portrayed within your constructed charts and graphs themselves.

As a reporting tool, Excel Dashboards are an excellent way to improve your data’s readability and visual impact, enabling you to view all of your key information in one place and compare it against set criteria or other information.

Additionally, because of the innate flexibility of Excel as a software package, you can design and display your Excel Dashboard and associated graphs and charts in virtually any way you want.

Our most popular types of Excel Dashboards

Key Performance Indicator or KPI Dashboards

  • Excel Dashboards can be created and automated to deliver a specific type of business data directly to the appropriate audience.
  • Key Performance Indicator Dashboards or KPI Dashboards provide an excellent example of some of the potential applications of Excel Dashboards for displaying data and charts.
  • The Dashboard or interface itself can be fine-tuned to provide a highly intuitive, interactive user experience, saving clicks, time and money.

Once you begin to use Excel Dashboards and understand their potential applications – including how they can be used to produce the kind of metrics your users expect – there are three major elements to Excel Dashboards that you need to learn to understand and work with.

  • How to import or transfer data into your Dashboard.
  • How to manage the data within the Dashboard, such as linking it to Dashboard applications, like graphs, charts and tables.
  • How to create a design and format for your Dashboard report that reflects what you want to achieve and expresses it coherently.

The Excel Experts can help you make the most of Excel Dashboards, automate your user systems, set up a new Dashboard report, or train you and your team on the full range of applications for Excel Dashboards and how to use them.

The Excel Forecast Dashboard

Excel Dashboards are capable of generating highly complex forms of data interpolation and extrapolated forecasts based on the data that you are using.

You can read more about Excel Modelling Simulations, which are closely related fields.

Excel Dashboards are very flexible, but in order to get the best out of them and ensure that they perform as you expect them to, there is more to it than simply pasting some data into a table and adding a few graphs or charts.

Excel Dashboards also need to be updated and maintained, and in order to control the cost and manpower hours involved in performing such tasks, you need to impose a structure and framework for your data.

Directly connecting the data source to the originating spreadsheet is generally the best and simplest way to achieve this, which may involve integrating your Excel Dashboard with another database, spreadsheet or application.

Create dynamic charts with Excel Dashboards

Excel Dashboards can be used to create dynamic charts with user-friendly front-ends for data tables and database management. This is an integral element of effective, streamlined data reporting and analysis and can help you to make short work of updating and fine-tuning recurring reports.

Automating updates for the charts, tables and graphs created out of your spreadsheet data allows you to save time and money with Excel Dashboards, enabling you to create dynamic charts with ranges that update themselves automatically in real-time whenever you add, change or remove data within the range.

    Modelling & Simulation

    There is no better way of ‘getting under the skin’ on a problem than to simulate and model it.  Excel is an excellent platform for both, and we at  The Excel Experts recommend Excel for your next modelling or simulation project.  Especially when paired with a Monte Carlo simulation, an Excel spreadsheet can be a simple, and powerful tool for creating just such a  model.

    As humans, we are not always very good at assessing risks, or the odds of certain events occuring.  A model will calculate the impact of  the decisions we make (and the uncertainties in the inputs), to assess the  outcomes that we care about, such as profit and loss, ROI or environmental impact for instance.

    As such, simulations are often used to help companies assess the ‘likelihood of outcomes’ from taking a particular course of action or decision.  By traversing all possible decision paths, a simulation can give valuable insight into which course of actions should be taken.

    Modelling and simulating in Excel – the advantages

    1. Harness Excels mathematical abilities with minimal effort

    Save development time.  Use VBA and libraries such as  NAG to expand on its abilities when necessary.

    2. Specialist knowledge on the subject

    At The Excel Experts we have specialized expertise, in modelling physical, biological and business systems

    3. Analyse Data FAST

    Use Excel Pivot tables, Data Models, Formulas and Functions. Then use Excel Macros to push your productivity to the next level.

    4. Display your results

    Then display and present your new results, in a stunning dashboard report.

    5. Connect to data sources with ease

    Excel is almost without parallel when it comes to connecting to data sources. If it can’t connect ‘out of the box’ its usually an easy matter to write a data loader for your data.


    The kinds of questions our customers ask us.

    What is Monte Carlo Simulation?

    A Monte Carlo simulation is a  mathematical technique conducted on a computer;  Which allows us to account for risk in our decision making. In an unpredictable world, such a system can be very useful.

    It’s used in many fields of study such as energy, manufacturing and finance as well as project management,transport and environmental, to name a few.

    A Monte Carlo simulation thus helps you, the decision-maker, to explore various choices of action, safely and without any real risk.
    For each choice of action you explore with the model, you will see a range of possible outcomes, with a predicted likely hood of these outcomes occurring. So you can explore the whole range of possibilities, from conservative ‘hands off,’ through to ‘going for broke.’

    What is Excel Modelling and Simulation?

    Read the definition of a Mathematical model from wikipedia

    Front End Forms & Questionnaires

    With Front-End Forms & Questionnaires, Excel does not just tick all the right but also provides the boxes to be ticked at the right time, in the right place and under the right conditions. At The Excel Experts we have considerable experience in building Form-based systems.

    Front-End Forms & Questionnaires are user-friendly methods for reading and writing data and information. These include forms for ordering, marketing, managing contact lists, creating contracts and numerous other applications including questionnaires.

    This where Excel stops being open to the user. Worksheet and workbook protection restrict what the user can do to what is needed and that alone. This is added to with Data Validation and Conditional Formatting so that there is no accidental input.

    The overview of the system is one that ensures that all the data either entered or provided to be chosen is always consistent and accurate as required by the task in hand. In turn, ensuring the output is exactly as required.

    The current approach is not to use VBA’s antiquated Userform but to design fully customized forms on the Excel worksheet itself. This allows greater flexibility with two types of form controls available to the developer, including ActiveX.

    Basic form controls are text boxes, list boxes, dropdown boxes, radio buttons, checkboxes and the like. However advanced controls can be from the likes of tab strips to another application window e.g. a web browser embedded into the Front-End form & questionnaire.

    Visual Interpretation in Front End Forms

    The excel environment can be controlled to show only that which is need.

    Excel comes with an extensive Shapes Collection in addition to all fonts, font symbols in all sizes. All of which can be custom formatted with a variety of fill and borders. While the use of shapes as symbols can aid in guiding the user, all shapes can be made ‘clickable’ and run their assigned macros. Also, shapes can act as layers and containers for text, pictures and other shapes enabling complex form construction. This, in turn, enables the other main benefit of using the worksheet as a form and that is the ability to exactly match the clients branding.

    A good Front-End form & questionnaire should impart confidence to the user. It has become standard for us to work with a visual brief supplied by the client’s designers. Leaving it to us to copy an exact visual image using all that Excel offers and then add the required functionality.

    The Mechanics behind the Front End Form

    Excel enables the developer to build in the skills and knowledge required better and quicker than any other platform.

    The mechanics behind the form can filter and calculate the data, before displaying only that required by the user at the exact point of application. Adapting both look and functionality to the exact requirements of the task in hand at each stage of the process.

    The arguments applicable to the data is referred to as the ‘Logic Tree’, and this determines the input/output restrictions for each step. At each stage, Excel creates the appropriate form format for the data required for each of the following steps to be entered.

    The whole point of bespoke front-end forms & questionnaires is to delegate the task in hand with minimal user training. Where the whole process is designed to eliminate any possible error by the user and deliver exactly what is required.

    Location

    At one extreme, an Excel form can be designed to work globally across an organization’s physical location including those of its clients where necessary. At the other, an Excel form can be designed to just operate in a single location on a single off-line computer

    With Excel’s ability to act as a ‘universal connecter’, the form can draw its data from, and write its data to, any other data source. See API Connections and SharePoint Services

    Security Implementation In Front End Forms

    Most projects that we have worked on include some form of restricted access and data security requirements. Yet again, Excel is equipped to meet the client’s exact requirements regarding this better and with greater efficiency.

    Recent Application of Front End Excel Form

    We have noticed a recent trend with organisations that operating large databases. That is to use Excel’s connectivity to design bespoke front-end forms to work with their databases. In our opinion, it is the industry finally growing up and recognizing that Excel ‘s versatility offers better value.

    For the same reasons, we have been asked to provide Excel-based questionnaires that impart knowledge and understanding. The endpoint is that the user can make the right informed choice without the need to talk with an expert. This obviously produces a saving that can be passed on to the client.

    On a general note, where clients previously looked at Web Portals and Web Browser solutions the industry is beginning to realise that Excel is a web browser for data. The difference is the speed at which applications (all form-based) can be built and delivered to the client.

      Excel: Produce customised Word documents at the click of a button

      How to create order documents from excel

      One of the most frequently requested solutions we come across is the need to manage jobs or orders within a small business. Most people are able to set up a simple spreadsheet to track and record work and this is a great way to avoid paying for costly out of the box software which may not fit your requirements. But what about the next step?

      Excel Job Tracking Workflow

      Using lists, lookups, data validation and conditional formatting you can elevate a simple tracking sheet to become a vital workflow tool, providing the basis for processing the day’s tasks as well as acting as a data hub for reporting and provding valuable MI.

       

      Add in some VBA code and your simple job tracker can start doing things like moving completed tasks to a separate sheet so that your team can focus on the work in progress. Or how about notifying users when a task is assigned to them or their department – use code to link up your drop down lists to outlook and off you go.

      Create Documents With Excel

      Once you have orders, jobs or tasks input into your tracking sheet, the natural progression is to want to do more with that data that has been recorded. Data input is time consuming and risky – keying in data more than once risks human error, so if you have already captured the data in the spreadsheet, why key it again into a purchase order, delivery note, job sheet or invoice?

      Repeated processes like producing documents from a data table is what Excel is great at – if you don’t have the expertise to do this there are lots of resources out there that can walk you through it, or if you don’t have the time or inclination just get in touch with one of our friendly team and we will help.

      The concept is essentially that having recorded the data in your spreadsheet, it simply needs to be mapped into a template document. That template can be created in Microsoft Word or Excel itself, and at the click of a button all the relevant information from a given job or order can be integrated into the appropriate fields in the template document. There are lots of different ways to go about this in Excel – content controls, bookmarks, or good old copy and paste, depending on the level of complexity and the layout of the end document being produced. The document can even be pdf’d and emailed automatically if required.

      Save Time And Money By Automating

      This type of automation is just one of the thousands of successful solutions we have provided to our clients over the years. Any repeated process can be automated, and while every solution is bespoke, every solution we develop draws on the extensive expertise and experience of our team of qualified Excel consultants, so you can be sure we are providing you with a well thought out tool for your business.

      If you would like to find out more about how automating processes within your business can benefit you, or would like help creating code to produce documents from a spreadsheet, just drop us a call, email or come and live chat with us and see what we can do for you.

      Want to find out more from the author of this post? Get hold of Kate directly for help and advice.