Excel works very well for dashboard reporting. But there are a wide variety of techniques you can use, and they all can’t be explained in one short article. Even so,
3) Standardize Coloring and Formatting Reports
- Impress your boss with one consistent color and formatting scheme through out the document. Use your company’s colors when appropriate. If you deem it necessary to select a different palate, go with lighter tones that are easier on the eyes
- Before you save for the last time, make sure that each tab is ready for its close-up. Excel will open up for the next user in the way you left it. For example: If you leave a tab so that cell A1100 is that last tab you selected, that’s the tab your boss will see. Always select the top left cell (cell A1) before your final save and exit
- The Painter Brush allows you to select the cells that you would want to copy for formatting purposes. To use this feature repeatedly, simply double-click it before using, to turn off, just click the icon once.
4) Group Rows and Freeze Cells When Necessary
- A lot of people don’t know about the ‘Group’ feature, while formatting reports so stand out from your peers by putting it to good use. You can group rows to remove clusters from your reports. This is a great feature if you have secondary data that breaks down metrics in certain rows even more, for example you have a row showing Total Revenue, and you also want to have Revenue broken down in two sub-rows showing Revenue for Inside Sales and Outbound Sales.
5) Always Include a Summary Page
- Your Year-End Sales Reports are intriguing, really… but not everyone is going to want to go through each tab and read every element. Take the important pieces of information and summarize them in the first tab. Your executives will love you for it, and they’ll be able to drill down into the numbers that appeal most to them
- Be sure to include the key graphs and charts to make your summary page visually appealing! You want to capture your readers’ attention from the very first page—and entice them to read on
The year is coming to an end. That means time for that holiday bonus, maybe some extra vacation time, but before all that, you have to close out the year on a strong note. And even when you reach—and surpass your goal, you’re still not home free. Because you still have to do some year-end sales reporting in Excel before you can officially close the book.
To help make this task easier, we’ve compiled some tips on formatting reports:
1) All Columns Should Be Created Equal
- Give your reports the professional polish they deserve by having all the columns in each tab an equal width. To do this:
- Select each column that you would like to make an equal width, make sure you are clicking and dragging from the very top row (with A, B, C, etc.) and that there is an arrow pointing down before you click and drag
- Then select the border next to one of the selected columns and drag until it is the proper width. Before dragging to you will again need to select the very top row and this time you should see an icon with arrows pointing left and right.
- Pro Tip: Excel will tell you what the width is exactly so you can apply the exact same measurements to all of your tabs (or where it makes sense in your report)
- When the data in the cell is too large for the width, you will get the “######”error. To fix this, increase the width of the cell by double-clicking on the column. This will adjust column width to necessary size in order to make everything in the column fit. You can also manually increase cell with by clicking and dragging the side of the cell until all the text shows up. You will want to go through every tab of your document before sending out
2) People Love Visuals – So don’t ignore it while formatting reports
- Not everyone is into numbers. So don’t make your readers’ eyes bleed as they look number-by-number, cell-by-cell at your sales report. Mix it up, add some graphs and charts to the report
- We all prefer to see those graphs that go up and to the right (showing growth), but realize that you’re not always going to be able to generate those, if that’s not what your business is showing. Focus on being accurate and noting what the numbers indicate. Are you plotting growth over time? Cost per customer? Make sure to mark your axes
Save time and improve your reporting skills with these important tips:
When a skilled analyst or marketer opens Excel, their quick, graceful movements may appear to be magic. But if you break down their movements you’d see a series of keyboard shortcuts, skillful uses of formulas, subtle clicks of the mouse, and habits built over years of practice.
If you’re a small business, digital marketer, or analyst, chances are you open Excel a few times a week (if not every day). If you pick up just one tip from this column, it may save you hours each year.
Here are few Excel tips for digital marketers to help save you time and improve your reporting skills:
- Use the TEXT() function for days of week and much more
- Quickly group by months or weeks in pivot tables
- Adjust column width with a double-click
- Use wildcards to find words in ads or keywords
- Get rid of #DIV/0! in CPA calculations for improved accuracy
When creating a performance report, have you ever wanted to see if CPCs or conversion rates on Mondays were different than Saturdays? Or maybe display 10/1/2013 as “Oct-01″?
There are a few ways to do this, but a very quick and flexible way is to use the TEXT() function. TEXT() converts a number into text values, which can be formatted into dates, days of the week, months, or even fractions like 5 ½. All the recognized formats can be found here. Check them out because this one formula is a timesaver whenever you have data over time to analyze.
If you frequently pull performance reports with a daily grain of data, you might miss a handy pivot table feature called “Group.” Use this trick for a fast way to move from daily summary into months or even weeks with just a few clicks.
In a pivot table, move your “date” data into the rows of the pivot table, and add a value. Then within the pivot table, right-click any date, and in the open dialog box choose how to show your data by time segments.
If you’ve ever opened a .CSV file in Excel you’ll notice all the column widths are fixed. Always. This isn’t helpful when you’re trying to read ad copy or find keywords in a report because the data appears cut off. Excel has a feature that will quickly adjust a column’s width to the widest entry.
Just select the column or columns you want to expand, and then double-click the dividing line between them.