Author: BenBarnes

Excel VBA For Mac

excel-vba-for-mac

Using Excel for Mac is a great way to gather and analyse data. However, the amount of data collected by businesses is becoming challenging to manage, so Mac users are turning to VBA macros to help.

Using Excel VBA for Mac enables you to streamline processes and automate mundane tasks. Depending on the Excel versions you’re running, one way to do this is by adding Excel VBA macros in the VBA editor dialogue box/code window.

As a team of expert Excel Programmers, The Excel Experts understand the many benefits of using VBA and how it works on different types of computers, such as Macs.  

Like many software tools, VBA works slightly differently on Mac compared to the Windows version. While the fundamentals are the same, there are some differences that Mac users need to be aware of when creating a personal macro workbook.  

If your company uses Mac Office, and you want to learn more about how to use Excel VBA on these computers, then keep reading.  

We’ve put together this guide to everything you need to know about VBA, the benefits of using it and how you can get started using it on your Mac today.

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What Is VBA (Visual Basic For Applications) 

VBA, which stands for Visual Basic For Applications, is the programming language created by Microsoft that allows users to modify Excel worksheets and create custom solutions that suit their needs.

When using VBA in Excel, users can create macros, which are sets of instructions that can help them automate basic tasks such as sending automatic emails and making specific calculations or moving data from one part of the sheet to another.

VBA can be used across a range of Microsoft Office applications. As well as Excel, it can also be used in PowerPoint, Publisher, Word and more.

As such, learning how to use VBA is important when you’re trying to make the most of Microsoft’s suite of solutions and adapt them to fit your organisation’s unique needs.

What Is Visual Basic Editor?

Visual Basic Editor is a separate application from Excel, which helps users to use VBA in Excel. Therefore, when you’re learning to use VBA, it’s vital that you download VB Editor and learn how to use it.

It is the application where you keep and edit your VBA code. It’s separate from your Excel workbooks and can help you to improve your programming skills and keep your VBA code safe, particularly if your spreadsheets are communal and you give other users file access.

With VBA editor, you can manage your code and learn new skills. The editor is very different to traditional Excel and other Microsoft applications, but it is also intuitive and easy to learn thanks to the simple user interface.

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What Are Excel Macros?

A macro is effectively an instruction, which you can make in Excel using VBA. A macro can be run as many times as you like, and when it’s being run, the macro will fulfil its task.

One prime example of a macro is setting up a workbook to automatically send an email to a specific group of addresses. You can put the email addresses and any other personalised info into an Excel workbook and set up the macro to automatically fill in a Word document as the emails are being created.

Then, when you run the macro, the emails will be created and automatically sent with personalised information, saving you time and hard work.

If you want to use macros, you need to create a macro-enabled workbook in Excel. These workbooks are different from normal spreadsheets and can have security issues, particularly if you take macros from the internet, which might potentially be dangerous. You can also create your own macros using the macro recorder feature.

So, when you’re using macros, you should collaborate with the professionals here at The Excel Experts. We can help you to create bespoke instructions and manage them. Our team can also assist your staff and support them so that they always use macros correctly.

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Will Excel Macros Work On Mac?

If you have Excel downloaded onto your Mac, macros will definitely work. However, macros don’t work on Apple’s version of Excel, called Numbers, so if you try using them there, you’ll like get an error message.

So, if you haven’t downloaded Microsoft Office onto your Mac, you should do so immediately to start making and using macros.

Enabling Macros In Excel On Mac

Enabling macros in Excel on Mac is as easy as working on a Microsoft computer, but slightly different from Windows versions. Thankfully, Microsoft recognises that many computer users love Macs, so they’ve created guidelines to help you easily enable macros on a Mac.

All you have to do is open the Excel menu bar and then go to the Preferences menu. Click on the Security and Privacy section and click macros that you want enabled.

If you’re happy with the macros you have, then you can allow your computer to run all macros. If you want to manually enable macros or to only allow macros with a notification, then these options are available also so that you can choose the best approach for you.

Manually Recording A Macro In Excel On Mac

To manually record a macro in Excel when using a Mac, you need first to open Excel and go to Preferences again. You then need to select Ribbons and Toolbar, then select the Developer tab.

Then when you save your preferences, the Developer tab will remain visible on the side of your Excel screen whenever you have the program open.

Once you have the Developer tab open, you can select Record Macro and follow the instructions to create the macro. You’ll need to include a macro name, description and shortcut key, as well as the instructions that you want to give the program while it runs the macro.

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Benefits Of Using Excel VBA For Mac

If you’re looking to supercharge your Excel workbooks, then using VBA can be the ideal solution for you and your organisation. Especially as it can be used with other Office apps.

Using Excel VBA for Mac offers many benefits, as it can allow you to improve automation throughout your organisation and streamline your administrative processes.

Here are some of the main benefits of using Excel VBA for Mac.

It Saves Time

Macros can save you time and effort by following code and automating simple tasks, such as sending mass emails or linking specific Microsoft programs and transferring data between them. This can save you and your team valuable time and allow you to continue to drive your business forward towards greater success.

Macros Reduce Repetitive Tasks

Undertaking repetitive tasks, such as manual data entry, can be de-motivating for your staff, so using a macro to do them instead can help you to support your team.

Personalisation Is Easy

Macros can easily be changed to suit what you need using the code editor. You can set and change the parameters you need to get the solutions required to support your organisation.

Using Macros On Excel Is Easier Than You Might Think

Using macros on Excel is intuitive and remarkably easy, so it’s worth spending some time learning about these innovative tools, as it will save your team a lot of time and effort going forward.

Making Macros Is Free

While learning how to make macros and improve your company’s VBA knowledge can come at a cost, making your own macros is free. If you want to collaborate with experts like us to get bespoke macros for your business, then you can easily do this at an affordable cost.

In Summary: Use VBA For Mac To Automate Tasks And Save Time

As this article highlights, VBA is a useful solution that can help you to personalise your Excel workbooks and save you time and effort.

While VBA can save you a lot of time if you use it correctly, if you make mistakes, these could take a lot of hard work and effort to rectify. 

As such, you need to make sure that you understand VBA and the basics of Excel and how the two work. Once you know how to use VBA in Excel, you can start testing it out and learning about the practical implications of this versatile programming language.

The first step in learning how to use VBA is to check out Excel training courses to learn the basics. Then you can start using bespoke Excel tools and custom Excel spreadsheets to make the most of your business’s data and save your precious time.

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About The Excel Experts

For business leaders and executives who aren’t experienced in using Excel and VBA, The Excel Experts are here to help. Whether your team uses Macs or another brand of computer, we can help you to understand the benefits of VBA and use it.

We offer loads of useful resources on our blog, so you can learn more about how to make the most out of Excel and other Microsoft products.

To get more bespoke support and tailored advice on how to use our Excel services to support your business, then you can get in touch with us or visit our Excel VBA Consulting page.

Our friendly and experienced team is always happy to help business leaders from across the corporate market make the most of Excel.

10 Excel SQL Questions Answered

Excel SQL Questions Answered

Many businesses use Microsoft’s tabular data management tool, Excel, for a variety of practices. While you might understand the basics of using Microsoft Excel to make simple workbooks, you might not know how to make the most of it and use some of the more complicated solutions that the program offers like Excel SQL queries.

There are many innovative ways to use Excel for business. As leading Excel support and services providers, the team at The Excel Experts know this tool inside out and the many uses that go beyond simple data storage. So, we’ve put together this list of common Excel SQL questions and answers.

In this blog post, you’ll learn more about SQL and how it can be used in conjunction with Microsoft Excel to make the most of your data. We’ll also cover similar solutions like SQL server databases and MS Access, as well as how to run SQL queries that allow you to quickly access and filter data in Excel.

what is sql

What Is SQL?

One of the most common questions for anyone who isn’t skilled in using Excel and managing their data digitally is ‘what is SQL?’.

This is a vital query, as you need to understand the terminology before learning how you could use it to improve your organisation and become an Excel power user.

SQL stands for Structured Query Language and is a programming language used to help you manage your data and create rules in your database.

The SQL language can be used in a wide range of database programmes, including Excel as we’ll cover later. As such, it is a common tool that anyone who wants to learn more about managing a relational database or a cloud-based SQL Server database needs to understand. 

what are sql queries

What Are Excel SQL Queries?

SQL Queries is an add-in option that allows users to incorporate SQL into Excel. The two solutions are separate, as Excel has its own programming language, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

The add-in allows users to create, manage and run SQL queries, which are similar to formulas, directly in Excel workbooks.

This enables users to manage data in Excel more effectively. It also allows you to link your Excel data to external data sources and save time on tasks such as importing information. You should also explore the data connection wizard to import external data.

Similarly, you can set up SQL database credentials to access data outside your SQL server database if you’re using this instead of an Excel database.

Benefits Of Using Excel SQL

 What Are The Benefits Of Using Excel SQL?

There are many benefits of using SQL in Excel. The most obvious benefit is that it allows you to quickly and easily access data in your Excel workbooks.

You can also use SQL to filter data, create reports and improve the performance of your Excel workbooks. Additionally, by using SQL within Excel, you can avoid the need to purchase and learn a separate database management tool.

Other benefits of using Excel SQL include:

  • With SQL in Excel, you won’t have to spend time moving your data into a different tool or system
  • You can use all the solutions in Excel and incorporate additional data management features with SQL into your Excel file
  • With SQL, you can link your existing Excel workbooks to larger SQL enabled programs
  • Excel is accessible and easy to use, so using SQL in Excel can allow you to practice data management before using expensive and complicated data management tools

There are plenty of other benefits to using SQL in Excel that will be specific to your organisation and market sector, but these are some of the generic benefits of using SQL in Excel.

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How Do I Create a SQL Query In Excel?

Creating an Excel SQL Query is easier than you might think. First, you need to choose an existing workbook or create a new one and add data.

Once the workbook is ready and you want to start using SQL, you can go to the ‘data’ tab at the top of your Excel document.

Then you can click on ‘queries and connections’, which is a button in the middle of the screen. This will open a panel on the side of your document, which will contain your query and connection add-ins. 

Using your prefered SQL add-in, you can then start using the programming language in Excel or import data from another SQL database.  

How Do I Convert Excel To a SQL Database

How Do I Convert Excel To a SQL Database? 

While you can use Excel as a database, the tool does have some limitations. It can often be challenging to manage large amounts of data in an Excel workbook. As such, many organisations tend to use other forms of database in conjunction with Excel.

An SQL database is any database that uses this language to manage and report on its data. If you want to convert your Excel workbook into an SQL database, there are many online tools that can help you migrate your information over quickly and easily.

Many of these tools are provided by Microsoft, the company that produces Excel, so you can be confident that they will work effectively and not corrupt any of your precious data.

SQL vs MySQL vs Excel vs MS Access

There are many other tools that are similar to Excel and SQL, including MySQL and Microsoft Access. These tools can be used in conjunction with Excel or instead of the program.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about these tools and the answers, so you can learn more about using these tools and which ones will work best for your organisation and its unique needs.  

difference between SQL and MySQL

What Is The Difference Between SQL and MySQL?

SQL and MySQL might sound similar, but they’re actually very different. While SQL is a programming language, MySQL is a database management system.

MySQL uses SQL but offers a range of solutions similar to those provided by Excel. It is open-source software that allows users to easily create and manage their own database.

mysql vs excel

Why Use MySQL Over Excel?

As mentioned already, MySQL offers some of the same features as Excel, such as the ability to retrieve data and manage it in a tabulated document.

The main difference between MySQL and Excel is that MySQL is designed to use SQL, whereas Excel can incorporate the programming language but doesn’t do so as standard.

Also, MySQL is a complete database management system, whereas Excel is more useful for data storage and analysis using graphs and visualisations like a pivot table.

MySQL has many advantages over Excel for anyone who wants to set up a database, including the ability to store and manage larger volumes of data.

In comparison, MySQL could be considered a better solution for anyone who wants to make a large database. However, using Excel and incorporating SQL could be an ideal workaround for business leaders who want to experiment with SQL or make smaller databases using a tool they already understand.

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Can SQL Replace Excel?

An SQL database can be used in place of Excel, as it will offer functions that Excel can’t, such as the ability to handle large volumes of data and innovative data management features.

However, Excel has many benefits too, and the tool’s primary function is to allow the data analysis and storage of small amounts of information.

An SQL database will never replace Excel in that respect, but the two tools can be used by businesses to analyse and manage their data.

Also, Excel can be used in conjunction with an SQL database to allow you to experiment with new ways to manage your data and make it work for you.

Should I Learn Excel or SQL? 

Selecting the right tool to learn about can be a challenge, mainly as there are so many different options out there to choose from.  

As this article shows, Excel and SQL are very different and can be used in very different ways. As such, it could be worth learning both skills and combining them to make the most of your Microsoft tools and learning how to run a database and manage your corporate information.

sql vs microsoft access

SQL vs Microsoft Access 

Another tool that is perhaps more similar to SQL is Microsoft Access. We’ve already compared Excel vs Access and how you can use both tools in a previous post, so now we’re going to briefly explore the difference between SQL and Access. 

Access is Microsoft’s database program, and it is an excellent tool for beginners who want to learn about database creation and management.  

SQL is a complex programing language, so it is more challenging to learn and implement. As such, if you want to start learning about databases, Access could be an ideal place to start.

There are, however, some key differences between Access and SQL:

  • SQL connects to many different types of databases and can be used on any platform.
  • Access is designed for Microsoft products and requires the use of Windows. The way the data is processed in SQL is standardised, whereas Access allows you to create a variety of custom tools to help you manage your data.
  • SQL is open-source and available across a range of different programs, but Access is exclusively used within Microsoft products.

Summary: Using SQL Queries In Excel

Overall, SQL queries can be helpful when you’re using Excel as a database and can save you time and effort. Like VBA, SQL can take a lot of time and effort to learn and fully understand.

Check out our blog to learn more about Excel, learn new skills and stay up to date on the latest uses for this innovative and user-friendly software solution.  

If you’re not skilled in using Excel, SQL or technology in general, then you can work with the team here at The Excel Experts to build a solution that works for you.  

We offer Excel consultancy and Excel support packages, so you can get tailored advice from our team, which specialise in using Excel and the Microsoft 365 suite of products.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you to use Excel to its fullest and make the most of it for your organisation, then feel free to get in touch.

Contact us on 0800 772 3782 or by email at info@theexcelexperts.com to find out more about our services and how you can make the most of them today.

Hiring Excel Programmers & VBA Developers

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Do you need help from Excel programmers to automate manual operations, create data visualisations or write macros for your Excel workbook? Our team of Excel VBA developers has extensive Excel programming experience and can help you develop user-friendly Excel solutions that save your business time and money. Contact us today.

Excel VBA Programming Language

Microsoft Excel provides several built-in formulas to automate repetitive tasks like consolidating data and creating reports and charts. But the real power of using Excel lies in its ability to develop customised solutions using its powerful programming language Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

Excel VBA is based on Visual Basic (VB), which can be used to create macros, forms and customised dialogue boxes. It provides the ability to automate repetitive tasks without using manual operations. You can also control Excel from other applications or get it to communicate with other software tools.

In summary, Excel VBA is a flexible coding language that enables Excel programmers to build user-friendly business solutions quickly and easily using the visual basic editor.

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Professional Microsoft Excel VBA Services

We’ve gained our excel programming experience by working on a range of projects across the Microsoft Office suite of products and can match the perfect Excel VBA developer to the needs of your project.

Our team of VBA consultants are based in the UK and are ready to help with your Excel programming queries and solutions. Some of the Excel VBA and programming services we offer at The Excel Experts include:

Creating Custom Dashboards

Using an Excel Spreadsheet to create custom Excel dashboards is one simple way we can use Excel VBA to streamline your business and highlight the key metrics you need to make data-driven decisions. You can also share these dashboards with multiple Excel users, so your team are all working from the same stats and figures.

Visualisation & Data Analysis

Microsoft Excel is an excellent tool for data visualisation, so too is Power BI. We work with both platforms to transform your data into simple and insightful data visualisations that can be shared with your organisation through the cloud or by using Power BI mobile apps. Visualising data can be used to unlock hidden insights, which we cover in more detail in our Power BI vs Excel post.

Excel Automation

The visual basic editor functionality in Excel makes it perfect for writing Excel Macros which means we can create Excel automations for tasks including data entry, report generation, and other time-consuming tasks. Our Excel VBA developer team have written hundreds of automations and will help you create an Excel VBA programme for your business that saves time and money.

Cleaning & Sorting Data

If you’ve got a custom Excel spreadsheet with millions of rows of data, we can use Excel’s programming language and visual basic editor to write code and implement smart data cleaning and filtering automation that makes managing data easier and less time-consuming. By applying the VBA to multiple cells, we can execute code that quickly sorts data without the need for complex software development.

Excel Forms & User Interfaces

Excel has the ability to create custom forms, so why not get our Visual Basic wizards to help you quickly create easy-to-use user interfaces for your business. They can even create data entry forms that link directly to your spreadsheets using Excel VBA macros.

Types of Excel projects suited to using Excel forms and may require a bespoke user interface include data entry, record keeping and invoice forms.

Linking Microsoft Excel With Other Software

Another great benefit of using VBA in Excel is that it can connect Excel with other software programmes. We can use VBA to connect Excel with (for example) Excel databases, MS Access, an SQL server, similar database software, websites like Magento and other apps in Microsoft Office, enabling you to publish your workbooks online quickly.

Not only does this make the transfer of data between core systems faster, but it can also help to eliminate data errors as there is less opportunity for human error in the process.

Updating Old VBA’s & Excel Programming

As well as writing new code, an Excel VBA developer can help you or your team update old code that a previous developer might have created.

It’s not uncommon to edit Excel spreadsheets and old excel formula language as your business scales or introduces new processes, and an Excel VBA developer will be able to help you update and refresh these old sheets and Excel automations.

Similarly, if you’re using other programs in the Microsoft Office suite, we can help you connect or disconnect Microsoft Excel from these systems using the visual basic editor.

If you’re looking for help with any of these services or want to find out how our team of Excel programmers and developers can improve the efficiency of your business processes, then do get in touch with us at The Excel Experts today.

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Cost Of Hiring Excel Programmers

The cost to hire an Excel VBA developer and Excel programmers will depend on their level of experience and the types of Excel VBA solutions they have worked on previously. VBA developer pricing also depends on the complexity of the work involved.

Writing a simple Excel macro isn’t as involved as creating complete spreadsheet automation, which is why we always encourage clients to book a free no-obligation call to get a better idea of what you’re looking to achieve so we can provide an accurate quote.

Microsoft Excel VBA & Consulting Services

Excel VBA is a fantastic programming language. While visual basic applications are incredibly useful, we have a range of Excel skills and can help you write macros, create pivot tables, update and fix excel formulas, and provide Microsoft Excel training.

As well as these services you can find out more about The Excel Experts and what we do by visiting our Excel Consultancy Services page. Here you will also find details about the types of Excel services we offer for businesses across the UK and in our local area around Bristol & Frome.

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Contact Our Excel Programmers & VBA Experts

Contact The Excel Experts today and discover the true power of Excel VBA, Excel’s programming code. Whether your need to automate manual processes or streamline your reporting, we can write code using VBA for Mac and Windows to create a visual basic application that delivers exactly what you need.

With offices in Bristol, Somerset, and London we can help businesses across the UK with in-person and video/phone support.

Get in touch using the form below, and a member of our Excel programming team will contact you to better understand your Excel VBA requirements.

    What Is VBA In Excel?

    what is vba in excel

    If you want to customise the way Microsoft Excel works for you or automate repetitive tasks, you can write VBA code to do just that. The VBA programming language can be inputted into Excel’s Visual Basic Editor to transform your Excel spreadsheet into a powerful Excel worksheet that can help to save your business time and money.

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    What Is VBA?

    VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications and refers to Microsoft’s implementation of the BASIC language. It is likely called VBA because Microsoft Excel was initially written in a different language, which used its own form of BASIC.

    To enable compatibility between these languages, VBA was created so that developers could reprogram their applications to import and use VBA as a secondary programming language. It is now the default programming language for Excel.

    You can use Excel VBA for Mac and Windows versions.

    Why Do I Need VBA In Excel?

    If you have a lot of data in Excel and want to do more with it or automate Excel, then Excel macros and Excel VBA can help. For example, if you have a large number of similar spreadsheets that need to be automated, then instead of repeating tasks such as formatting the cells, changing the colour of each header row etc., your spreadsheet can import macro code that can automate the process instead.

    This way, you don’t have to do the same task repeatedly on individual spreadsheets. Instead, you can write a simple Excel macro once and run it as many times as needed within each of your spreadsheets – saving you time, money and stress! That’s just one of many benefits of automating Excel.

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    What Can Excel VBA Do?

    Excel VBA code allows you to go beyond simple number crunching in your spreadsheet, enabling you to create customised applications that will save your business time and money whilst making your job easier. You can even create your own Excel add-in if you wish to do so.

    VBA can bring many benefits to any business, including automating simple and long tasks, saving time customising the appearance of Excel, changing the functionality of Microsoft Excel and connecting other Microsoft Office applications like Power BI and MS Access.

    Using the VBA language, you can create user-defined functions as templates and forms in worksheets. You can use the VBA editor to add logic (if statements) and loop (repeated actions) to your macro.

    Visual Basic can also use external DLL libraries to exploit nearly any data on your computer or the Internet by using external DLL Libraries. It can often be used to design an interface, giving users a more intuitive way to interact with your macros.

    These interfaces can be simple buttons on a worksheet, a dialogue box, or a complex User Form with rich controls such as TreeViews and FlexGrids. This also simplifies tasks for Excel, such as allowing users access to websites etc.

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    How Do I Access VBA Code?

    To access the visual basic editor in Excel, use the Alt+F11 shortcut to open the VBA editor dialogue box. Here you will find the code for all open worksheets and sheets. You can also find macro code here, which are essentially Excel VBA snippets that you can run whenever you wish.

    How Do I Write VBA Code?

    To create your own VBA macros, use the Visual Basic Editor in Microsoft Excel to write macros in the VBA language. For example, if you have a task that needs doing multiple times, then instead of repeating it manually, you can simply input it once and run it as much as you need, whenever you want.

    Examples of VBA code include ;  

    • Automatically fill in data in your worksheets (you can also create validation rules with VBA)
    • Transferring data between different workbooks and spreadsheets using VBA code to update or change the existing content of another spreadsheet or database.
    • Making a message pop up on the screen at a certain time of day or when opening the workbook.
    • More advanced Excel macros allow you to create your own customised formulae (functions) that can be used on your worksheets – saving you time and money!
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    What’s The Difference Between An Excel Macro and VBA code?

    Macros work when you run them, whereas VBA code is a programming language that can be used in Excel in several ways.

    Because VBA is a fully-fledged programming language, it allows you to do much more than macros allow. For example, if you want to record your own input and output within the Visual Basic Editor, you can do that too.

    Here is an example of a simple one:

    Sub Example()

    End Sub

    This would make your computer automatically save your file as soon as anything was changed – without any intervention needed on your part!

    A macro-enabled Excel workbook can be used for anything from importing data into a worksheet to communicating with another application or database.

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    Is VBA a Good Programming Language?

    The visual basic for applications language is an industry-standard programming language that is used amongst professional developers. It is a good, user-friendly and efficient programming language to use for Excel.

    It takes time to master, but it can be worth the effort in the long run. Millions of companies are using Excel in business, so the need for experts that can work with Visual Basic for Applications VBA code and Excel programmers are likely to remain high.

    What Does An Excel VBA Developer Do?

    As we’ve seen already, using the VBA editor and VBA programming code can help you become an Excel power user. With this skill, you can create VBA macros, write VBA code and create a bespoke user interface for your organisation.

    If you’re an in house Excel user that needs help with VBA programming, we can create macros that transform your Excel workbook into a streamlined solution. Using custom functions and VBA code, we can automate tasks without you even having to write code or use the VBA editor yourself.

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    Leaning Visual Basic For Applications

    If you want to learn visual basic for applications, you’ll need to learn the VBA language. This powerful programming language will allow you to create macros, write custom functions, and automate tasks in your Excel workbook.

    Our specialist consultants can help you master this skill by creating a bespoke training solution for your organisation – saving you time, money and helping make employees more productive.

    Alternatively, you may be able to find a simple Excel VBA tutorial online to help with smaller jobs that have code examples and will show you how to use the macro recorder.

    Contact Our Excel VBA Specialists

    If you want to learn more about using VBA code for your business to automate repetitive tasks or programme your spreadsheet to take a particular action or perform a certain function, Our VBA consultants are here to help.

    With nearly 15 years of MS Excel experience across a range of Excel disciplines, including Excel automation, Excel training and Excel programming and development, we’d love to work with you on your next Excel or VBA project.

    Contact our team today with your requirements.

    Using MS Excel vs Access For Databases

    Using-MS-Excel-vs-Access-For-Databases-1

    Today, we’re going to compare two data management systems used to analyse and store data. The software we’ll be comparing is Excel vs Access, both of which are great systems and have their own strengths and weaknesses for database management.

    MS-Excel-vs-Access-Comparison

    MS Excel vs Access Comparison

    MS Excel and Access are both Microsoft Office products. Microsoft Access, from the Office suite, is an excellent general-purpose database management system made for storing and analysing data.

    Excel on the other hand is a spreadsheet package, with lots of extra features thrown in which allow you to do things like creating pivot tables for summarising data. Using Excel as a database is great for small businesses and database beginners.

    What Is MS Excel Used For?

    Many people use Excel in business for a range of tasks from simple admin to full-scale automation. Thanks to its easy to use features Excel is very flexible and allows you to summarise data quickly without having to do anything too complicated.

    Some of the uses for Excel include:

    • Tabulating and analysing complex numerical data
    • Creating tables and forms
    • Writing and running macros to automate tasks
    • General day-to-day data management (e.g., creating reports, charts, etc.)
    • Store and manipulate audio and video files

    Excel is very intuitive and easy to use, which allows most people to learn it quickly. If you’re job hunting, including Excel skills on your CV can help you out a lot!

    What Is A MS Access Database Used For?

    MS Access is a database management system that gives you the ability to store your data in a relational database. This means that you can have multiple tables, linked together to form a relationship, which is all stored in one file.

    The advantage of this is that if you update data in one table, it automatically updates all related records. This eliminates a lot of time-consuming admin and manual errors.

    Access is great for

    • Storing and managing large amounts of data
    • Running reports that allow for grouping and sorting data
    • Managing relational databases (e.g., adding and deleting tables, etc.)

    The main disadvantage of Access is that it can be quite confusing to set up a database the first time. This means you should work with an MS Access Expert to help set it up and ensure everything is running smoothly.

    Key-Differences-Between-Excel-vs-Access

    Key Differences Between Excel vs Access

    Excel and Access share some traits but are ultimately different tools. Comparing Excel vs Access is a useful way to highlight the key differences between them and understand where the strengths and weaknesses are for both products.

    The key differences between Excel and Access can be summarised as follows:

    Excel vs Access – Data Visualisation

    Excel allows you to add graphics such as charts, pictures, etc. to your worksheets. You can also link these pictures or graphics to your data so they automatically update when the data updates. This is great if you have a report that requires data to be displayed in the form of a chart.

    Access allows you to add custom forms when creating a database. These forms can take multiple pieces of information from a user and display them in an organised fashion, so they are easy to read and navigate.

    You can also add buttons or links on these forms so your users can navigate to the information they require. This is useful if you need your users to provide data on a form or screen that they must print and sign, etc.

    Excel vs Access – Automation

    Excel allows you to add macros so you can automate Excel tasks such as deleting reports once they have been printed and saving files on a regular basis. These are useful if your company requires the same routine tasks to be performed on various data files on a regular basis.

    On the other hand, Microsoft Access allows you to create modules in which you can write VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code. This allows you to automate certain tasks, such as inserting new records into a table or deleting old records. This is great if your company needs a certain set of tasks to be completed on a regular basis.

    Excel vs Access – Data Security

    Excel does not allow you to add security measures to your files, so anyone with access will be able to view or edit the data. You can lock or protect individual worksheets with user-level security features, which might be useful if you need to restrict access to certain worksheets.

    Access allows you to control who has access to your database files and what they can do with them. You can create usernames for multiple users so different people have different levels of access, depending on which username they use.

    This is great if you want some users (e.g. managers) to update data, while others (e.g. MS Access consultants) are only allowed to view the data and access data when needed.

    Excel vs Access – Data Analysis

    Excel allows you to perform basic data analysis by adding formulas and performing certain functions on written values.

    Access has specific tools that are designed for analysing and summarising your data. These include PivotTables, which allow you to create tables that summarise the data in various ways (e.g., number of sales per region, etc.). This is great if you want to quickly analyse large amounts of data.

    access-vs-excel-for-databases

    5 Reasons To Use Microsoft Access vs Excel

    Because Access is a professional database programme, it has some significant benefits over Microsoft Excel when building and using databases. Here are five reasons to use Access vs Excel.

    1. User Security Model

    Access provides all the tools needed to set access permissions on objects such as tables and queries. The security model allows you to grant or deny certain users (e.g., managers) rights to edit or update data while restricting other users (e.g., consultants) so they are only allowed to view data in pre-defined ways.

    2. Data Storage Capacity

    Access is superior to Excel when it comes to the amount of data you can store in a database. This is because Access is specifically designed for storing large amounts of data, whereas Excel was not.

    3. Maintaining Data Integrity

    Access allows you to define field types and limits, which enforces appropriate data entry and prevents users from unintentionally inserting invalid values into fields.

    For example, if your database requires a specific data format, Access can enforce this by defining the field as a Date type and setting an appropriate limit (e.g., only valid dates). The same applies to numerical values, currency types or text containing specific characters.

    4. Data Analysis

    Access provides various tools that are specifically designed for performing data analysis on large data sets. Use PivotTables to create tables summarising the data in multiple ways quickly (e.g., number of sales per region). This way, you don’t have to enter all the data manually to find the information you need.

    5. Summarising Data

    Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) allows you to write code to execute specific tasks regularly. This makes it very easy to bring your database up-to-date by adding new records or deleting old ones. The VBA capability allows you access to the tables and fields within your database, which means that you can automate tasks like importing new records and exporting data to other applications.

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    5 Examples Where An Excel Database Is Useful

    While Access is better suited to being used as a database, Excel can still be helpful too. Here are three examples where an Excel database might be a good idea:

    1. Phone Book

    If you have a small phone book, using Microsoft Excel may be sufficient to store contact details. However, if you have a larger phone book, you could create a copy of the contacts in Excel and convert this into a database to make it easier to sort, update and retrieve information. In this case, you can utilise the standard functionality in Excel to create and manage your contacts.

    2. Product Information Management (PIM)

    Microsoft Excel’s ability to create and update records makes it very useful for storing PIM data. The spreadsheet can be set up with one column per product and another column for the price. One of the most important fields is probably stock, which specifies how many products you have in stock. You can then quickly update this when you receive new products from suppliers or sell existing ones to customers.

    3. Budget Planning  

    You may want to use a spreadsheet in your budget planning because it makes it easy for you to create and manage several budgets. Simply enter the budget items for each month, the beginning balance, create a formula to calculate the year-to-date totals and then sum up all of these values at the end.

    4. Inventory Management

    One of Excel’s strengths is its ability to insert large amounts of data quickly. This can be useful if you need to keep track of thousands or even millions of products. For instance, you could create a spreadsheet where one row is created per product and include the price in these rows. This way, if you add new products, update prices or remove items from stock, you can simply enter the new values into Excel and then write a macro to update your inventory system automatically.

    5. Sales & Order Tracking

    Another way to use Excel as a database is by setting up one sheet per order. This allows you to create and update records easily and quickly view information such as the customer name and address, the list of items ordered, their prices, and quantities.

    excel-vs-access-comparison

    Choosing Microsoft Access vs Excel For Your Business

    Both of these software packages have their advantages and disadvantages. It really depends on what you want to do with them and how much knowledge you have on the product before deciding which is right for you.

    If you need to use a database regularly and need to automate tasks, Microsoft Access may be a better choice as it allows you to write VBA code. If you only need the software occasionally or want a simple solution for managing data, then Excel is probably more suited for your needs.

    If you need help with databases in Excel or Microsoft Access contact our database experts today. We’ve worked with businesses across multiple industries to create professional databases solutions for millions of data records.

    Using A Spreadsheet vs Database Software

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    It is often perceived that a spreadsheet and a database are one of the same. Maybe it’s because both applications look or perhaps feel quite similar. Each uses raw data stored in tables, so it’s easy to see why people might get confused between a database vs spreadsheet programs like Excel for business.

    However, there are some key differences. Technically, the main difference between a spreadsheet vs a database comes down to how data is stored when accessed electronically.

    When users enter data into spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets – or even a mobile spreadsheet app, it is entered into a cell within one big table. This raw data can then be manipulated, edited, or formatted.

    In a database, such cells form ‘records’ that come from external tables or relational tables.

    Before we explain the key differences between a spreadsheet vs databases, it may be helpful to outline what exactly a spreadsheet or database is and what each can be used to achieve.

    what is a database

    What Is a Spreadsheet?

    A spreadsheet is an interactive computer application that contains data organised into rows and columns in tabular form, meaning that multiple sheets can be created within one Excel workbook.

    Users can manipulate data tables and data points within the spreadsheet to carry out simple calculations, such as totalling the sum of a column containing numbers, or carry out more complex equations such as finding the mean or average of a row of associated data. You can even use spreadsheets for the automation of repetitive tasks.

    Spreadsheet software like Excel can also perform complex data science tasks, compare related data and visualise data using Excel dashboards.

    The most common type of spreadsheet software used by large enterprises is Microsoft Excel. Not only is this spreadsheet application easy to use and master for a multitude of tasks it can hold data in large quantities across multiple sheets thanks to its tabular structure.

    what-is-a-database

    What Is a Database?

    Although databases and spreadsheets are similar, a database structure comprises an organised collection of information or data, often structured and is usually stored on a computer system.

    Users can search, select, and store all the data in a database.

    A great example of a database would be in a library where books can be stored to keep things organised. Readers can search by book title, author or edition quickly and efficiently, saving valuable time for library staff!

    There is no limit to how much data can be stored in a database either, which is a key difference, vs Excel, which has a data limit of just over 1 million rows. If you need to store more data than Excel can handle, databases are probably the best computer program for you.

    similarities-between-spreadsheets-and-databases

    Similarities Between a Spreadsheet vs Databases

    Now that we know the key differences between a database vs a spreadsheet let’s look at the similarities.

    In short, this is easy to answer – they both use tables!

    A database structure comprises a collection of data tables and works in tandem with other applications like spreadsheets to store, retrieve or sort data.

    A spreadsheet uses one large table made up of cells organised into rows and columns (although in Excel, this can be linked to other data sources, including other tables to retrieve data)

    When used in either a spreadsheet or a database, tables are used to store data in fields, columns, rows, and records, with each representing a piece of information.

    Therefore, it is safe to conclude that storing data in a tabular format is the main similarity between a database vs spreadsheet.

    spreadsheet-and-database-differences

    Differences Between a Database vs Spreadsheets Like Excel

    The fundamental difference between a database (sometimes referred to as a DMS- database management system) and spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets or other spreadsheet apps is that the latter is an excellent tool for short-term storage of data.

    On the other hand, databases are a better method for data storage, especially if you need to store large amounts of information that may change over time because they have greater capacity than spreadsheets do.

    Secondly, spreadsheets can be another useful method of data storage as they can store data in a tabular format, made up of rows and columns.

    If numeric data is used, a spreadsheet lets you apply ‘a formula’ to these cells and perform preset functions such as addition, multiplication or division. Data integrity is maintained by using the formula function in the Excel toolbar.

    Unlike spreadsheets, databases are not used for carryout calculations at this level.

    Therefore, we can establish that a spreadsheet is used as a tool to store and calculate data, whereas a database like Microsoft Access is used to store data – and lots of it!

    Both methods can be used to edit data.

    spreadsheet-and-database-uses

    Why Use a Database Instead Of a Spreadsheet?

    Because databases can store and access large volumes of information more efficiently than a spreadsheet, there are many reasons to choose a database management system.

    For example, large companies may need to store employer records or sales information across multiple tables whilst maintaining data integrity.

    Payroll or sales teams may need access directly or simultaneously to search, change, or carry out data analysis quickly, no matter how large or small each department’s data volume is.

    A database stores data – and lots of it that multiple users can access electronically from anywhere in the world; therefore, a database would be perfect for these tasks!

    Because a database can store data across multiple tables (or tabular data), a relational database may be used to link these tables together (one for teachers, one for students is an excellent example of this)

    Although a database can hold the same information, the key difference between a spreadsheet and a database is that a spreadsheet application can carry out calculations, whereas a database cannot.

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    Examples Of Using a Database vs a Spreadsheet

    Below are some real-life examples of information stored in databases that can be used for everyday business needs.

    • Storing employer records
    • Medical or Government records
    • Ticketing Systems
    • Banking Applications
    • Library systems

    The data used in each example could be accessed by many users, such as employees or customers, at the same time to view, update, search or sort records.

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    What Is a Relational Database?

    For those unfamiliar with the term ‘relational database’, this consists of a master table linked to slave or child tables.

    A relationship is formed between the two; for example, you may require a table that holds customer data, such as names, addresses and email and a child table for orders placed, which the links to products in an online store.

    The obvious reason to use a relational database is to avoid repeating data on every spreadsheet, which can be resource-intensive. However, the most important factor is that it enables you to query your data using filters to find specific information and generate reports.

    Relational Database Example

    In our ticketing system example previously mentioned, a relational database can be used to link data from the artist table (which holds data to represent the number of tickets available) with the customer table (who wants to buy extra tickets)

    Before creating relational databases, you should plan how each table should link together.

    what-is-sql

    What Is Structured Query Language (SQL)?

    SQL (Structured Query Language) is probably the most common language that database developers use to extract and organise data stored in a relational database.

    Because we are talking about using Excel as a database, SQL’ statements’ are used, which allows you to connect to an external data source, parse fields or table contents and import data.

    SQL takes away any manual data input.

    Once you import external data with SQL statements, you can sort it, carry out data analysis, or perform any calculations you might need – SQL is that powerful! Read more about it in our Excel SQL FAQs post.

    Its also worth mentioning data consistency, which is the process of keeping data together as it moves across a network or between various applications on a computer.

    using-excel-as-a-database

    Can Excel Be Used As a Database?

    Excel is a very powerful application, and it excels at both in our spreadsheet vs database debate!

    The database capabilities of Excel mean users can create a simple searchable database or even create relational databases.

    Although many people believe that Excel has limited capabilities, such as reporting and filtering data, underneath the surface, complex databases can be created alongside a decent GUI.

    A well known recent example was the COVID-19 pandemic when it was revealed that experts from the NHS Test & Trace used Excel to record population statistics and related data.

    Although it was heavily criticised, it shows that Excel can be used as a database – if set up correctly.

    There are many differences between a spreadsheet and a database, but harnessing the power of Excel, we can use our technological expertise to link tables in spreadsheets to create a bespoke database to suit your businesses needs.

    using-an-excel-spreadsheet-vs-a-database

    Summary: Using An Excel Spreadsheet Vs Databases

    There are many ways to store and organise data. What is most important is that you find a way, or more than one way, that works for your business needs and that maintains data integrity.

    We can help you build an efficient database for storing information so that your business can flourish by providing a system that works for you, either for internal staff or an external project for your customers or clients.

    If you need spreadsheet and database help, contact our Excel database experts today. We’ll help you find the right tool for storing your data and use our extensive knowledge to build databases in Microsoft Excel and other solutions like Microsoft Access.

    Using Excel As A Database

    using excel as a database

    Using Excel as a database for your invoices, to do’s, project timesheets, and more is an excellent way to cut down on data entry time and gain new business insights. Data, particularly numerical data, can be used for everything from reviewing past sales to predicting future costs in your business.

    Businesses from every sector use data in their day-to-day activities, and while data is an integral part of any organisation, it’s no use on its own. Without proper data management, your information will be pretty much useless. Using Excel as a database or a similar data management tool will help categorise and segment your data, so it’s accessible and usable.

    If you’re interested in learning more about using Excel in business as a database and how it compares to other Microsoft solutions like Access, this post is for you!

    what is a database

    What Is A Database?

    Before we dive into using Excel as a database, let’s define what a database is for those who haven’t created or used a database before.

    A database is a broad term for a system that stores multiple records of data. Databases come in many different forms and allow users to store, search, filter data and review numerical information. Databases can have a one to one relationship, one to many relationship or a many to many relationship meaning that one record can have multiple other records or that other records can exist without a primary record.

    These solutions can be offline or stored online using the Cloud. Databases come in a variety of styles and can be customised to suit your organisation’s unique requirements. Relational databases, for example, allow data to be shared between several different computer systems, which gives users the ability to store, update and share data.

    Databases can store a wide variety of information and can be split up into sections making searching for data and identifying patterns easier and less time-consuming. A database might also include user permissions, a drop-down menu, complex calculations and advanced filtering options.

    database software programmes

    What Programmes Can You Use To Create A Database?

    Databases can be made using a wide range of offline and online programmes. As well as Microsoft Excel, you can also use a selection of other solutions to create a database for your organisation. 

    Many of these tools are specialist database solutions, such as Knack and IBM Informix, which you can get subscriptions to and use to build databases. 

    Another Microsoft tool that can be used to create databases is Access. Both Access and Excel are part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite of products, meaning that they’re easily accessible to many business users. 

    Access is part of the Professional suite of tools, so users do need to pay extra to upgrade their licence to use it. However, it is a valuable tool similar to other Microsoft programs, making it user-friendly and useful for small-mid size businesses. 

    excel-database-vs-acccess

    Using Excel As A Database Vs Access

    While Excel is a helpful tool for storing and managing your data there are many spreadsheet and database programmes to explore. For example, Microsoft Access is specifically designed for creating and managing databases and storing data. Many businesses use it as their single database, so they have a master copy of their data set.

    Some of the differences between Microsoft Excel and Access when it comes to data management include:

    • Access is designed to manage databases and can act as your master database 
    • Excel is specifically created to allow data management and visual representation of information
    • Excel is easier to use than Access for Microsoft novices
    • Excel is non-relational as opposed to Access, which allows relational data
    • Access has a greater capacity for data storage than Excel
    Benefits-of-using-excel-as-a-database

    What Are The Benefits Of Using Excel?

    Excel and Access are two unique tools, and each has its own benefits. While Access was designed to manage databases, Excel has many handy features to let you make calculations, automate data functions, generate reports, build a searchable database and more.

    Some of the many benefits of using Excel to manage your data and create small databases are:

    • Excel is already tabular, and it’s easy to view an Excel worksheet and access data
    • Most business leaders have access to and know the basics of Excel
    • Excel is perfect for numerical data, making calculations, and it’s easy to enter data 
    • The rows and columns are easier to understand than some more complex database layouts
    • VBA allows users to automate tasks and link Excel to other software programs
    can excel be used as a database

    When To Use Excel As A Database

    Excel can be used as a database when you’re only dealing with a small amount of information, or it’s not particularly business-critical. 

    An Excel database might also be used as a starter database for small business leaders who want to experiment or learn more about managing their data. For example, by creating a customer database or a database that only requires a simple database record. 

    As your business grows, you might want to explore more specific database software specifically designed to act as a database and deal with all the data your company collects. Such a database will often have better security and can manage and store larger amounts of data.

    Excel can handle just over a million records, but if you have more data records or regularly add new records to your data, it might struggle to deal with these volumes. In this case, you should consider using a specially-designed database program.

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    How Excel & Other Databases Can Work Together

    While Excel might not be an ideal database if you’re dealing with over a million records, using a database in Excel is a useful tool for managing data. As such, you can still use Excel to manage your data and use the formulas to create unique predictions and insights. 

    You can then sync your Excel sheet with a larger database on a SQL server to transfer the data into a larger collection of information without entering the data again.

    This approach will reduce your chances of corrupting your Excel files and spreadsheets, which aren’t designed to hold extremely large amounts of data. It’ll also mean that you can still use Excel for small sections of your data and easily transfer it to a larger and more secure database tool. 

    Excel can be used in conjunction with most tools, both Microsoft’s own suite of products and third-party solutions. It has many functions and capabilities, including the ability to calculate averages and insert complex formulas easily. 

    So, if you’re struggling to perform these functions in another database program, you can combine its superior storage and security functions with Excel’s innovative capabilities. 

    how to use excel as a database

    How To Create A Simple Excel Database

    Creating a database in Excel is surprisingly straightforward and can be done by almost anyone. The tool is intuitive and easy to use, so making a simple database is quick and easy. 

    Excel is a tabular tool, so the best layout is a database table. All you need to do is create the columns and rows, which will act as the database field and then enter data. 

    Once your data is in, you can search the database, review your information and even summarise data. You can also add formulas and use VBA, the programming language for Excel, to create instructions and automate the management of your database. 

    With Excel, you can also create multiple tabs and link them to input data to spread the content around and ensure that everything is clearly labelled. However, Excel doesn’t allow the creation of a relational database, but you can still cross-reference and cross-link different tables and pull the data into a master table.

    how to use excel as a database

    What Can You Use a Database For?

    As Excel databases are easy to use and completely customisable, they can be made to suit the needs of a variety of organisations. There are many ways you can use them to save your company time and effort.

    Some examples of what to use a database for in your business include:

    1. Listing customer or student data related to times/ appointments 
    2. Calculating total sales figures over a set timeframe
    3. Tracking the productivity of team members
    4. Reviewing work orders 
    5. Storing and managing data on stock 
    6. Storing digital assets and marketing material
    7. Keeping supply chain management records and processes
    8. Storing customer details and order information
    9. Managing product information
    10. Automating data entry using Excel automation

    Using databases for your business, and even for personal use, can bring a wealth of benefits. You can free up your time, increase your productivity and slice through information quickly. It’s much easier to understand data when it’s organised in an Excel database compared with an unstructured list or via another type of cloud-based program.

    using excel as a database

    Summary: Using Excel As A Database

    Ultimately, Excel is not technically a database but a spreadsheet and data management tool. That being said, Excel is a useful tool for business leaders who want to use it to create their first initial database and learn how to manage their information. 

    Whether you’re a small business or an organisation that wants to manage a small amount of data, Excel can be the perfect tool. The best thing about using Excel as a database is that it’s an easily accessible tool that can be used by almost everyone on your team.

    For larger businesses, Microsoft Access could be a useful solution to help you to expand your database and manage more information. Excel can be used in conjunction with Access and other database solutions, even for larger organisations, as it has many innovative capabilities and data management functions. 

    If you’re planning on using Excel as a database, you need to understand the basics of using Excel and how it can interact with other Microsoft solutions, including Access. 

    about-the-excel-experts

    About The Excel Experts

    At The Excel Experts, we pride ourselves on helping businesses to learn more about the Microsoft suite of software solutions. 

    Check out our MS Office training and Excel training courses to find a solution that works for your business. Our team can create a custom training solution for your organisation and help you and your team make the most of Excel. 

    We also offer a range of Excel consultancy services, including creating custom Excel workbooks that can be used as databases for reporting data and much more. 

    If you’d like to learn more about our services and how we can help you use Excel to its full potential, then contact us today

    A Guide To Using DAX In Power BI

    dax-in-power-bi

    Microsoft Power BI is a valuable tool in the arsenal of many company leaders and managers. As it’s a customisable business data analytics tool, the best way to use Power BI is to tailor the functions and features to your exact requirements. 

    That means learning how to adapt the tool and creating custom reports using Power BI desktop that will showcase your data in all its glory. After all, data is only as good as the way it’s displayed, so if you want to make the most of Power BI, you need to learn how to use it, including using Power BI Mobile Apps!

    The main way to adjust Power BI and build bespoke reports and functions is to use DAX, the programming tool Microsoft developed to work alongside Power BI and other tabulated Microsoft Power products. 

    If you want to learn more about DAX in Power BI and the top DAX functions, then keep reading. We’ve put together a list of the most important facts to give you valuable insight and get you started on your journey towards Power BI mastery. 

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    Key Power BI Terms

    Before we discuss DAX in Power BI, we want to define the main terms used in this article. Firstly, there’s Microsoft Power BI, which is a cutting-edge business analytics tool.

    Power BI Overview

    Part of the Microsoft Power Platform, Power BI is designed to give visual representations of complicated business data and allow users to create their own unique reports and dashboards

    Microsoft created Power BI intending to make it as accessible as possible so that users can customise their views and create innovative reports. 

    Power BI Mobile Apps & Desktop

    Power BI offers a Cloud-based business analytics platform, as well as a desktop interface and mobile apps, so you can use it wherever you are and access your data remotely, which is perfect for modern employees and managers.

    Using mobile apps, you can see your reports and dashboards on the move, while using Power BI Desktop, you can work on your reports at home or in your office. 

    Once you’ve mastered DAX in Power BI, you can make up for lost time by creating bespoke reports and dashboards to give the information you want to see. 

    power BI pricing

    Power BI Pricing

    Most business leaders can get a free trial of Power BI, and then you can choose the Power BI subscription that you want. Microsoft offers two main options: Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium.

    Each solution is unique and has a different subscription option, so professionals or business leaders can find the perfect option and pay for the functions and users they need. 

    The Premium option contains everything the Pro version has, but additional features make it better for larger companies. 

    It also offers per-user or per capacity payment options so that larger organisations can get cost-effective solutions for their larger teams. On the other hand, individuals or smaller companies can purchase individual user accounts to ensure that they only get the Power BI services that they need. 

    Learn more about Power BI Pro Vs Premium, find out which functions each solution offers, and choose the right one for your organisation. 

    Power BI Is… Powerful & Affordable

    Thanks to these multiple payment options and solutions, Microsoft Power BI is a valuable business data analytics tool for a wide range of businesses across the corporate market. 

    Whatever the size of your organisation or the niche it operates in, you can use Power BI’s flexible solutions to provide cost-effective analysis of business-critical data. 

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    Key DAX Expressions

    For further flexibility for Power BI users, Microsoft developed DAX. DAX expressions and formulas are a crucial part of customising the Power BI platform. 

    DAX Overview

    DAX, which stands for Data Analysis Expressions, is the main programming language used in Microsoft Power BI. Like VBA, the programming language used for Excel, you can use a DAX function to adapt Power BI and create a range of custom functions like trig functions, filter functions and mathematical functions. 

     Much like using formulas in the formula bar in Excel, DAX can be adapted to calculate averages, future predictions, analyse growth percentages and more. There are many similarities between the DAX functions and Excel, so compare the two to determine which one will work for your projects. 

    DAX In Power BI

    Using the data already in your Power BI model, DAX code can help users transform this data and make accurate predictions create timelines and more. 

    As well as Power BI, Microsoft has also developed DAX to interact with other products on its Microsoft Power Platform, including Microsoft Power Pivot for Excel and other platforms that focus on tables and numerical data. 

    That means that if you learn how to use DAX functions and code, you can apply these skills to various Microsoft programs and make the most of the tools you use. 

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    How Is DAX Used In Power BI?

    As the program’s developer language, DAX is the backbone of Power BI. As such, no business leader can get the most out of the platform without learning DAX programming language.

    While it is possible to create a Power BI file, import data and create basic reports without using DAX, the programming language is useful for any customisation that you might need. 

    For example, you can use DAX to create cumulative totals that include content from across various reports and tables to give you a comprehensive overview of your numbers. 

    Cumulative data can be used to explore everything from sales numbers to the complete number of leads generated. This information can be valuable when predicting future business growth or reviewing past performance. 

    Data Analysis Using DAX

    Another useful application for DAX in Power BI is data analysis, comparing past data to current information, and understanding trends. 

    Using past and current data and comparing the two, business leaders and managers can create innovative visualisations that track the changes in past sales or other business practices. 

    As DAX also has date and time intelligence functions, users can evaluate data based on a specific period, for example, between one month and another. 

    These examples are just some of the ways that you can use DAX in Power BI. As you learn more about DAX and how it works, you can further adapt it to suit your company’s requirements and craft even more interactive and innovative reports. 

    power bi in business

    Why Is DAX In Power BI So Useful For Businesses? 

    As the examples above highlight, DAX formulas and expressions can be integrated into reports and transform data sets into useful numerical reports that help drive businesses forward. 

    Microsoft Power BI users can create new data, such as predictions, timelines, targets, and more from their existing information using DAX expressions. 

    That means that you can make the most of the information you have at your disposal. While you might know that you made X many sales in quarter 1 of last year, you might not realise that this is three times as many as the same time the previous year. 

    You might also not realise that the reason for this is because your business doubled its marketing budget during that time. 

    Build Customised Reports Using DAX

    Numbers alone are not enough to help your business to grow and flourish, but by combining them and working out how they relate to each other, users can create valuable insights that they can then use to inform future business decisions. 

    With Microsoft Power BI and DAX, you can create unique reports and adapt them as your company changes and grows. Growing organisations need scalable solutions, and DAX can give you those in combination with Power BI. 

    Using DAX in Power BI will allow your team to make the most of this useful business analytics programme. If you don’t use DAX, then you might not get good value for the money you spend on your Power BI subscription. 

    learning-dax-in-power-bi

    How To Get Started With DAX In Power BI

    If you want to get started using DAX in Power BI, you need to understand how to make the most of Microsoft Power BI, and Power BI reports. This approach will allow you to use it to the fullest for your organisation. 

    Learning about this innovative but complicated business analytics tool can be challenging, particularly if you’re not experienced with technology.

    When you first start using any data-based tool, you should always create example workbooks and reports. If you launch straight into using your real data, then you could find that you make potentially devastating mistakes. 

    Keep your data safe in an Excel workbook or another storage space that you understand while using your practice Power BI documents to learn the basic skills you need to make the most of Power BI. 

    Help With DAX In Power BI

    If you’re still feeling unsure and don’t know where to begin when using DAX in Power BI, consider collaborating with The Excel Experts. Our team offer dedicated Power BI consulting to help your business make the most of the features of Power BI. 

    We also offer consultancy services for a range of other Microsoft products, including Excel training courses, MS Office training, custom Excel workbooks and more.  

    For personalised advice and support, contact us today. You can also check out our blog to get regular updates on the Microsoft Excel and Power BI markets, new Office 365 tools and more.

    With our help, you can make the most of Microsoft’s innovative tools and learn how to apply their various uses to your business. 

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    Power BI Mobile Apps Give You Instant Insights, Anywhere!

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    Power BI Mobile Apps are an excellent choice for your business or management team if you need to view data on the go.

    The data visualisations created and used in Power BI transform seemingly unrelated pieces of data into coherent, interactive and visually stimulating dashboards and reports. The data could be from an excel sheet, cloud technology or onsite data warehouses.

    The purpose of Power BI Mobile Apps is to connect the user with their data sources, visualise the information and make the relevant decisions necessary to the future of the business. The resulting data presentation can then be shared with anyone and everyone the user wants.

    What Are Power BI Mobile Apps?

    Power BI mobile apps are software programmes that are designed to allow mobile users to access and interact with their business data. It combines both onsite and on cloud data to help the user view shared dashboards in Power BI and reports through the Power BI operating system.

    The Power BI Report Server manages reports and key performing through a web portal. The portal allows users to create different types of reports, including mobile reports, paginated reports and KPI’s. Microsoft Intune, however, focuses on mobile applications with an emphasis on device management and data encryption.

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    Why Should I Use Power BI Apps?

    Power BI Desktop provides an easy way to create and share interactive reports and dashboards. When bundled with Power BI Apps, it is easier to install the app on mobile devices and Power BI Service to access the visuals.

    Here are three great reasons you should consider using Power BI for Business and Power BI Apps.

    1) They allow users to accumulate the content in one place. This means that the user doesn’t have to remember all of the different names of the reports, and they are all easily accessed from browsers and mobile devices. 

    2) The author of the reports/dashboards can schedule how often they want the data to be refreshed. The users will get notifications when the author makes any changes. 

    3) Power BI’s allow the author to set their own restrictions and permissions for specific parts or even the whole report. This means that the users can then only access what the author wants them to see.

    While the above three are perhaps the three most significant advantages to using Power BI Mobile Apps, they aren’t the only advantages. They are also great for deploying reports to larger audiences. In short, they make the sharing of data easier for businesses.

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    3 Microsoft Power BI Mobile App Examples

    Microsoft Power BI apps have become increasingly common in business settings lately, and they have several uses. Most employees can use these apps, who can then access the information in their own way. This can help to improve employee collaboration and ultimately lead to increased productivity

    An Employee Onboarding App

    One of the most popular uses of Power BI Mobile Apps is creating an employee onboarding app. It seamlessly integrates data from many other Microsoft applications like outlook, tasks, and calendars. These features and more, including contacts, policies and forms, can all be combined to make it easier for staff. It also makes it easier for the HR team when onboarding new hires.

    An Expense Approval App

    Approving expenses is often a tedious role that entails a lot of submission and processing. However, an app can be developed using a Power BI that allows employees to submit expenses and proof online. A manager can then approve or reject this request at their leisure, all from their mobile device.

    Staff Attendance Tracker

    Managers can create an app that allows members of staff to log in and out. This data can then be used to track their attendance and identify any patterns in absence. This can be easily implemented across organisations with different levels of access set up to bar users from any information they aren’t authorised to see.

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    Power BI Mobile App FAQs

    The Power BI service is a cloud-based analytics tool that enables users to visualise and analyse vast chunks of data more efficiently. However, this often leads to confusion and questions because the specifics are full of technical terms, which can be difficult for a layperson to understand.

    Can Power BI Mobile Apps Be Used On iOS & Android?

    In short, yes. The Power BI mobile app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. In addition, the app itself is optimised for mobile view. So, depending on the device, you can use and view all of your reporting services and create data alerts.

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    How Secure Are Power BI Apps?

    Depending on the needs of the business, the creator of the reports might want to limit access to said reports. For example, they might contain sensitive financial data which should only be seen by the finance team. Or it could be an HR report which includes a salary breakdown for all employees, which is for the eyes of the HR team only.

    In these cases, it is essential that the data is secure. Power BI has a number of options when it comes to access, sharing and security. Firstly, the reports have to be shared with the right party, these people are granted access, and they can then see the report. In addition, the whole report, or parts of it, maybe secured by a pin or password.

    What Are the Limitations of Power BI Mobile Apps?

    Although there are a lot of benefits for both the users and the designers, as with anything, there are also some limitations to Power BI apps. There are a few areas where they lack efficiency.

    One area is personalisation. Users can’t personalise or filter the reports shared with them on the apps, which can be a good thing but can be annoying for some users when they can’t get the information they need.

    Next, if the report shared via the app needs to be connected with a different data set, it has to be excluded from the app, remade with the new data set before being re-uploaded and shared via the app again.

    Finally, depending on the subscription, a non-premium user may not see the reports shared on the app.

    It’s always worth comparing Power BI vs Excel to see if you can find a use for both pieces of software in your set-up. Often Excel is better at gathering and filtering data whereas Power BI is perfect for data visualisation.

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    What’s The Power BI Mobile App Licencing Structure?

    The licencing structure of a Power BI can be broken down into three levels, pro, premium per user and premium per capacity. Here we’ll take a look at what each subscription level includes.

    Firstly, there is Power BI Free which is designed for smaller groups of people. Users can see but not create reports and dashboards. It is a limited access option. It is also great for users getting started with Power BI’s and want to learn the basics. The person sharing will need a higher level of access than the person viewing.

    Next, there is Power BI Pro. This is the primary licence option that most users within an organisation will use. It does cost money, although there are a few discounts for non-profits or educational businesses. The main limitation is that the output created using this licence can only be viewed and used by users who also share this licence.

    Finally, there is Power BI Premium. This option is mainly for large businesses or mature data first organisations. This is the most expensive licencing option; however, it does have more features than the other options.

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    How Can I Start Using Power BI Mobile Apps in My Business?

    Power BI Apps have several uses for businesses. They can be used in financial estimations to create forecasts or other advanced analytical algorithms. Users can create a what-if analysis using either qualitative or quantitative data. 

    Any data can be processed and presented to make it easier for the reader to understand. For example, sales data, customers analysis and staffing information can also be used to create them. In essence, almost any data set within a business can be transformed using a Power BI.

    Conclusion: Power BI Mobile Apps Give You Insight In The Palm of Your Hands

    Power BI has many different applications within a business setting. The apps have a lot of features to take advantage of that work alongside the Power BI workspaces. For example, they offer an easy way for designers to separate finished reports from the ones in progress. The only downside is that the apps don’t allow non-technical users to view or interact with any reports or dashboards shared by other users.

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    Dashboards In Power BI: A Complete Guide + 15 Dashboard Examples

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    Data visualisation has become increasingly important in business decision-making in recent years. Thanks to tools and features like Power BI dashboards, businesses can gain clear and actionable insights around their internal processes, sales and more, which are crucial for making informed decisions.

    The benefit of using tools like Power BI for business is that management can make quick and thoughtful decisions while at the same time making the data management process more straightforward.

    Without the tools for effective data visualisation, it can be difficult for companies to measure their productivity levels, sales, the efficacy of their marketing campaigns, and the business’s overall performance.

    In this post, we’ll explore some Power BI dashboard examples, compare a Power BI Report is vs a Power BI dashboard, take you through 15 Power BI dashboard examples and cover some fundamental Power BI elements that you need to know!

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    What Is A Power BI Dashboard & What Do They Do?

    Building dashboards in Power BI is a great way to make data visualisations that can be used in a wide range of scenarios.  Power BI dashboards allow users to save time on analysis by providing them with the important information vital to their business processes without spending their valuable time inputting data manually.

    A Power BI dashboard has many uses, but if we’re asking what Power BI dashboards do? Well, this can be answered in a couple of ways.

    Firstly, Power BI dashboards are used to visually display critical business information so that you have a top-level view of your key metrics at any one time. Additional features like Power BI Mobile Apps mean you can access your dashboards any time, anywhere.

    Secondly, as discussed, having a Power BI dashboard is the first step in getting to grips with your business data. In this sense, Power BI dashboards give you more control over your business and help you make data-driven decisions based on actual data from your own business or competitors. 

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    What’s The Difference Between A Power BI Dashboard And A Report?

    The report feature in Power BI is the result of visualised data formed from a single data set. The report can be as long or as short as necessary, and they are most commonly made in Power BI Desktop.

    On the other hand, the dashboard feature is a single page display screen comprised of report visuals. The visuals are designed to give the reader a summary of the information needed. Dashboards can only be created using Power BI Service.

     The main differences are in the following aspects:

    1. Pages – reports can be multiple pages, Power BI dashboards are single pages 
    2. Creation – reports can be made in both Power BI Desktop & Service, dashboards can only be made in Service
    3. Data Source – reports comprise a single data set; dashboards can comprise several data sets.
    4. Alerts – You cannot set alerts for reports, but you can for a Power BI dashboard.
    5. Featuring – You cannot set reports as featured reports, but you can set featured dashboards.

    Reports and dashboards in Power BI are useful for different things, depending on your end goal. For example, if you want a comprehensive view of the data, a report might be better. On the other hand, if you are looking for a quick overview, a dashboard is ideal.

    You should also consider if Microsoft Excel can be used to help filter your data so it’s ready to use in Power BI. We recently did a comprehensive Power BI vs Excel comparison which is worth exploring!

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    15 Best Power BI Dashboard Examples

    Now you’re up to speed on the ‘power’ of a Power BI dashboard, let’s take a look at some Power BI dashboard examples that you can use in your business. 

    These Power BI dashboard examples are helpful examples of how Power Bi can be used in business, and you might find that they inspire you to create some dashboards of your own (or with the help of a Power BI expert).

    1. Power BI Sales Scorecard Dashboard

    The first of our power BI dashboard examples is a sales scorecard dashboard. Many businesses need to track their sales for different purposes, and a sales scorecard dashboard offers a simple solution. Tracking sales metrics can help to answer several different questions and provide valuable insight into sales performance.

    This information can help sales managers to gain an insight into the areas that it is selling in either by product or region. They can also see comparisons with the previous year’s profits which can provide the sales performance into perspective.

    2. Customer Analysis Dashboard

    The customer analysis dashboard is perhaps the most useful for a business that wants to emphasise its customers. Managers can gain an insight into the profit for regional customers and sales. The dashboard can be used in almost every industry.

    This Power BI dashboard is great for businesses that deal with large amounts of data; some of the insights provided include channel-specific sales, profits, product-wise sales analysis and customer-specific growth and profit statistics.

    3. Inventory Stock Analysis Dashboard

    Creating an inventory stock analysis dashboard will provide a clear view of a company’s inventory. You can track stock availability and use this in their replenishment efforts. The inventory can be categorised as the managers see fit.

    It can be used to determine which products sell well and which don’t and how this affects the percentage of the total sales. There is also stock prediction options where managers can see how well the product is likely to sell in the coming days, weeks, or months.

    4. Customer Segmentation Dashboard

    A customer segmentation dashboard is a tool designed to combine all customer data and house it in a single location. There are many different customer insights which allow the user to visualise their audience—in addition, having the data in one place will enable users to conduct a detailed customer analysis which can, in turn, improve business processes.

     A customer segmentation dashboard should also include critical metrics that can help set a marketing budget and maximise marketing efforts because there is now a clearer sense of the audience. It can also help to support your sales efforts by adjusting pricing and improving profitability.

    5. Financial Analytics Dashboard

    A financial analysis dashboard is as it sounds – it is a tool that can be used to improve the cash management of a business by tracking expenses, sales, and profits. Using something like financial analytics dashboard, a company can validate its figures and drill down into the financial details as necessary.

    Financial dashboards are a great source of information; the user can set alarms and spot anomalies or issues in their infancy before they become problems. On the other hand, they can also see what they are doing well and dedicate more of their efforts to this.

    6. Attendance Tracker Dashboard

    An attendance tracker dashboard can be used by business administrators to keep track of their employees. It can be an invaluable tool when it comes to monitoring staff. At a glance, the user can see where the productivity might be affected and spot any patterns in absences. A business is only as strong as its staff.  

    A Power BI attendance tracker dashboard is also a fantastic way for a business to identify its greatest strengths and weaknesses. By using it regularly, managers can decide whether the company should hire more employees or change any management practices deemed ineffective.               

    7. Team Performance Dashboard

    A team performance dashboard is another form of staff monitoring. It can be used to highlight the performance level of a team and set targets for them. The user can then share those targets and see how the team has performed against them. This can help managers find areas that can be improved upon and allow them to know where the teams are doing well and reward them accordingly. Sales Dashboards

    8. Quarterly Financial Performance Dashboard

    This Power BI dashboard is an excellent tool for businesses. It is used to compare profit margins and other metrics across quarters. The user can select different quarters and conduct their analysis accordingly.

    This insight can be used as the business enters the next quarter by highlighting the areas that need work. Using this information, managers can conduct research before the fiscal quarter begins to improve their products, market themselves more efficiently, or implement any number of other changes.

    A quarterly financial performance dashboard use cases are almost endless. With it, businesses can analyse market trends and predict future profits with ease. It is also a great way to compare your company with others in your industry.

    9. Social Media Monitoring & Analytics Dashboard

    The social media monitoring and analytics dashboard can be used by marketing managers and marketing agencies alike. It can help you to tailor your ads, thereby improving sales and increasing profits. The tool is predominately used to measure the efficacy of a business’s ads to get an idea of how their audience views their product. 

    It works with most social media platforms, and it provides insights like total mentions, shares, or reach of the ad. This can be divided further into positive, negative and neutral reactions. If a business uses influencers, then the impact of the influencer can be measured too.

    10. Product Sales Dashboard

    The product sales dashboard is, again, as it sounds it a tool that is used for sales analysis and monitoring. Managers use it to keep track of product performance metrics. Most of the main functionality of this specific type of dashboard lies in its graphical analysis of product-orientated sales metrics.

    These metrics often include sales by product, gross margin by product, monthly revenue trend, the top-performing products, sales versus gross margin by product and the monthly gross margin trend.

    11. Email Engagement Dashboard

    An email engagement dashboard contains a series of visualisations that can provide an insight into how the receivers are engaging with the content – in this case, emails.

    It allows the user to see how effective their email marketing efforts are and can let the user know whether to call to action in the email worked, whether the email was even opened or deleted immediately.

    Users can provide their own metrics, such as website visits or discount codes, to personalise their use of this dashboard.

    12. Ad Display Campaign Dashboard

    Of course, digital marketers could opt for an ad display campaign dashboard instead if they advertise through website ads. It lets the user know the advertising campaign’s success through things like clicks, conversions, or the click-through rate percentage. Using these metrics, the ads can be better tailored for success in the future.

    13. Marketing Campaign Insights Dashboard

    A marketing campaign insights dashboard is similar to the above dashboard in that they are both designed to show the effectiveness of a campaign. The main metrics that are tracked are the number of conversions, the cost per conversion and the actual revenue generated. They can also be tailored to track the bounce rate or the time spent on site by campaign visitors.

    14. Marketing Automation Dashboard

    A marketing automation dashboard is used for lead generation through your website’s contact us page, email sign-ups, phone call tracking and more. You can track various information such as the number of website visitors from social media, phone calls from ads and the most popular types of contact.

    This type of dashboard is similar to a sales performance dashboard, but it targets individual contacts, not products or services sold. A marketing automation dashboard can be used by individuals in a business marketing department and marketing agencies.

    15. Customer Experience Dashboard

    The final item on our list of Power BI dashboard examples is a customer experience dashboard. This tool provides insights into how your customers feel about your company and its product, most often through surveys and polls. Customer satisfaction is measured through questions like “How likely are you to recommend this business to your friends or family?”

    This type of dashboard is used for many purposes, such as gaining insight into whether or not a product is viable in terms of marketability and customer interest. It can also provide insight on ways that you could improve the customer experience.

    As you can see, there are plenty of Power BI dashboard examples that demonstrate how this software can be used. If you need assistance in creating your own dashboard or would like to see more Power BI dashboard examples that show what we could create for your company, feel free to get in touch to discuss your needs.

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    How Long Does It Take To Build Dashboards In Power BI?

    This question is difficult to answer as it depends on several factors: such as whether or not the individual is building their own from scratch or using templates, or whether you are outsourcing the build to a Power BI consultant or building in-house and how big the project is.

    The first step is to build your first dashboard, which might take around two weeks, depending on the project’s complexity. After creating your first dashboard, you can continue developing and improving your report over time, but you must measure its success to see how well it performs.

    This is typically done by doing an A/B test with two different dashboard versions with a small group of users. This test will then be used to decide which version performs better and is re-promoted through the organisation.

    So, in conclusion: It depends upon a number of factors, such as whether you’re outsourcing or building it in-house and how big the project is.  In short, the whole process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

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    How Do I Create A Dashboard In Power BI?

    Power BI is a data visualisation software application that can be used to visualise and create dashboards from your data. In this case, the user will have an empty canvas with various visualisations of information laid out within a dashboard.  

    From here, you can drag and drop multiple visuals into the report depending on which metric you want to display. However, the reports are not limited to just looking at metrics.

    Power BI can also be used to create visualisations based on your data so you could have an infographic-style report, for example. Various templates allow you to quickly build a professional-looking dashboard without the need for any design skills or knowledge of coding.

    Depending on the dashboard you want to build, you can find various online resources that can help you make your dashboard to your specifications. Power BI is a Microsoft tool, and so the best resources and information can be found on their website.

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    Can Power BI Dashboards Be Created Using Power BI Mobile?

    Yes, Power BI mobile apps can be easily created for Android, iOS devices and Windows phones or tablets to use Power BI mobile.

    To do this, you will need to have a Power BI Pro account and download the app from either the Apple or Google app store. The mobile version interface is similar to that of the desktop version but has a few limitations, such as not being able to create custom visuals.

    The mobile app is only available on iOS and Android, but you can build your dashboards using any device that has access to the web browser portal, including Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.

    Can Power BI Dashboards Be Created Using Power BI Desktop?

     Power BI Desktop allows users to create dashboards and reports. It is a windows-based-desktop-application used on PCs and desktops and mainly used in office situations. Power BI Desktop also allows users to build reports and graphs in an easy drag-and-drop interface that can be published to either the personal or business dashboard, depending on permissions.

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    Are There Power BI Dashboard Templates?

    In short, yes, there are templates that you can find online which can help you when building or developing your own Power BI dashboard. However, the templates may not be exactly what you are looking for; they might need a bit of tweaking in order to work for your business. So, bear that in mind when looking for templates, and if you need any help, contact us.

    Where Can I Get Sample Data For Power BI?

    There are various sources you can use to get your data into the Power BI platform. This includes Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace, which has a wide array of samples that you can download, as well as other marketplaces such as Alteryx and Databricks, which provide more complex analytics solutions.

    You can also connect to existing databases and data sources. There a numerous ways of doing this whether they are on-premise or in the cloud.

    Once you have your data ready, you can use the model designer in order to create a data set for your dashboard or reports. You don’t have to manually build a model for your dashboard, though it is advisable if you want to ensure the best use of your data.

    However, if you have a team member with more experience in designing models, there are tools available for them to design the model without needing to use Power BI Pro, which allows users who build their own models to share it across an organisation for others to access and use.

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    Conclusion – Power BI Dashboards Deliver Incredible Insight

    In the end, the Power BI makes it easier to build intelligent apps. In turn, this allows users to create rich dashboards that turn long and confusing information into visual data, making it easy to glean insights that might otherwise be missed. These custom visuals can be tailored to the needs of the business.

    A Power BI dashboard enables users to make quick decisions on the day-to-day operations of the business, thanks to these insights. Above all else, they are incredibly convenient and user friendly, which can be incredibly advantageous when dealing with dense and hard to understand data.

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