Spreadsheet software was initially developed as computerized simulations of paper accounting and bookkeeping tasks. However, over time, they have evolved from being the replacement of paper-based accounting systems to independent software
Spreadsheet software was initially developed as computerized simulations of paper accounting and bookkeeping tasks. However, over time, they have evolved from being the replacement of paper-based accounting systems to independent software capable of helping business store, retrieve, and share data easily.
Spreadsheet software allows users to organize and extract data in tabular form. A typical spreadsheet or a workbook is a collection of rows and columns. An intersection of a row with a column is called a cell and cells are basic blocks of storage. Each cell can store text data or numeric data. It can also store the result of user-defined formula that gets automatically calculated; in this case, the cell displays a value based on the contents of other cells. Spreadsheet software also supports reporting capabilities. They offer various formatting, grouping and sorting facilities to enable users present the desired data in a neat and useful way.
Microsoft Excel is one of the most popular and widely used spread-sheet software. One of the primary factors for this popularity is its support to rich reporting facility; the ability to generate attractive and useful reports from selected data. We will discuss some features offered by Excel to support easy reporting:
- Formatting: Excel supports strong formatting features and allows users to beautify their reports using a variety of character fonts, colors, and ability to add other elements such as water marks, backgrounds, summaries, graphics, hyperlinks and footnotes.
- Built-in and custom functions: Excel features provides a wide range of built-in mathematical and statistical formula that can operate on cells. In addition, users can create custom formulas that operate on cells. When the values in the cells change, all the formula that involves these cells are automatically updated.
- Types of reports: Users can generate both text based and graphic based reports using Excel. Excel provides easy options to generate graphical reports like pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, and Pivot Charts.
- Support to other software: Excel is supported by a wide range of applications such as DBMS (Database Management Systems) package such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server; programming languages such as Java and .NET frameworks; ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) suites such as SAP; as well as other data formats like XML (extensible Markup Language), and PDF (Portable Data Format). Users can import data from any of these sources into Excel and generate reports, saving time and money for data input.
Many organizations today face financial crunch to find money saving options. While cutting cost is their major look out they also do not want to compromise on basic business efficiencies. Most of the business intelligence and reporting software that are available in the market are either priced high or are substantially inept to be deployed for enhanced business operations. Excel reports knocks in as the most candid choice for such organizations with absolutely no compromises at functionality, performance and usability fronts.
Excel is not only a cost effective solution but it also is a tested and familiar environment, so you no longer need to squander time and money to try the newer tools that may or may not suffice all your requirements. Excel works exactly like a magic wand that can easily and efficiently handle all the business data without any irking codes and stretched out programs. Easy wizards and menu option makes it very easy to generate useful reports on Excel. Even non technical staff can easily use it effectively through handy guides and help options.
Excel also lends matter to your design aspirations. In absolutely no time, Excel can turn tedious to look at data into intriguing graphs and charts that are easier to understand and represents data illustratively. It can amaze you with its capabilities to handle tremendous data in tables, reflective reports and interactive dashboards. Here are some more reporting components and analytical concepts that are endlessly harnessed by Excel:
It allows creating attractive reports with deep drilled data for accurate business figures
You can create recurring and automated processes
Interactive controls can easily be added within the reports to analyze data in different views
Data can be represented in interesting formats to make it more absorb-able and actionable for each tech or no-tech department of the organization
Data can be pooled in from various external data sources for purposeful data analysis
Summarized report creation is conveniently possible through examining huge amount of data from different worksheet locations
Tough business calculations can be performed in a jiffy with several formulas and functions
- Only an elementary knowledge of handling, filtering, sorting and managing data along with basic table structure and data representation skills are required to create extraordinarily quality Excel reports.
Initially, Excel reports was brought to market with many disadvantages which had to be cleared in the advanced version. All the notified difficulties have been overcome in the recent Excel Reports. Some of the key features to be considered which has been implemented with changes are discussed in this article. Come let us explore.
Sandboxed Excel Reports
With the importance of data in mind, the Excel Reporting tools have been implemented with a new functionality of “Protected View” mode which will protect the data from illegal usage. The functionality is used to search for the origin of the source system in which the report has been opened and if the report finds it to be an unknown source, it will open the report in a protected format. All the sales data are opened in such a format to prevent virus interpretation.
A solution for frustrated developers
Developers are always frustrated with the users who seek reports to be generated for them because of the frequent changes in the requirements of report rendering. The difficulty in creating a new pivot tables have created such a situation for the developers. But in today’s modern era, developers are happy with the development of new Sparklines and slicers.
Sparklines are used in the Excel reports to provide an easily accessible data flow. These are nothing but newly developed small and tiny graphs which give information in a handier manner. Sparklines are represented at the end of each of row which presents the data present in a single row altogether. This saves most of the space occupied by the larger graphs. Make use of this functionality and provide life to the data and allow them to take its form.
Slicers have become another boon to the developers which helps users to present data on a conditional basis. In certain situations, there are conditions on which the data has to be delivered. This provides a more insight on the data analysis rather than restricting the data usage. Do not worry about the user interactivity since the slicers and sparklines create a more interactive platform for the users to work on. This functionality does not include any special coding to improvise this feature and reduces the resource dependency.
Do you think it is useful? Then what are you waiting for? Start implementing it.