Excel dashboards and reports are an essential tool for analyzing data in today’s business world. Professionals in all fields need to be able to efficiently and accurately handle large amounts of data in order to make informed decisions and keep their operations running smoothly. Excel dashboards and reports provide a comprehensive visual representation of data to help track progress, analyze trends, and compare performance. By having a better Excel reporting system, companies can gain valuable insights into their operations and be better prepared to handle any challenges that might arise.

With the right strategies and tips, anyone can improve their Excel dashboard reporting. Here are five tips to get you started.

Tip #1: Organize Your Data

Organization is key when it comes to optimizing Excel usage for dashboard reporting. To achieve this, you should break up your data into separate tabs, in order to make it easily readable and accessible. This will help you to quickly locate the information that you require.

In addition, you should take advantage of all the features in Excel, such as PivotTables and PivotCharts. These tools will help you to easily and quickly visualize your data, helping you to draw conclusions and make sense of the information.

Finally, you should always double-check your formulas and calculations to ensure accuracy. This is especially important when using Excel for dashboard reporting, as any discrepancies could influence your decision-making.

Tip #2: Identify Outliers

Outliers can help improve the accuracy of your visuals and provide valuable insight into your data. To maximize the benefits, it’s important to identify and record the values that are different from the rest. To do this, pay close attention to the numbers and ensure that you list the outliers so that you can refer back to them later.

It’s also important to generate a visual representation of the outliers, so that you can interpret the information more easily. To do this, use a scatter plot, as this visualizes where the items stand out from the rest of the data points. This is especially useful if you’re looking for patterns in the outliers.

Whenever you identify one or more outliers in your Excel dashboard reporting, consider what it’s telling you. This can inform decisions about the data and help you to find the most valuable insights. Try to make assumptions about the outliers and use them to refine your reporting or adjust plans accordingly.

Tip #3: Utilize Macros

Excel offers users the ability to automate certain reporting tasks, making mundane data compilation, analysis and reporting tasks much easier. Macros are units of code that can repeatedly execute certain functions, like transferring data from one sheet to another, or automatically formatting a report. Excel Macros are simple to use and can be quite powerful in helping to streamline routine reporting tasks.

Take Advantage of Excel’s Automation Capabilities by Using Macros

To take advantage of Excel’s built-in automation capabilities, users need to familiarize themselves with the concept of macros. A macro is a set of instructions that allow a user to automate repeatable and time-consuming tasks without having to code an entire program. Macros are relatively simple to set up, and are triggered in Excel by user input or an event, such as opening a spreadsheet.

Streamline Routine Reporting Tasks with Personalized Macros

By personalizing macros, users can streamline their routine reporting tasks. They can set up macros to automatically compile data from different areas of their spreadsheet and export the information into other formats, such as HTML or PDF. Macros can also be used for such tasks as sorting or filtering. Macros allow users to identify key trends and compare data points quickly and easily, making them incredibly powerful tools for effective data reporting.

Automatically Populate Data with Macros

Macros are also for users to easily populate cells with data from other sources. For example, if the user wishes to populate cells in an excel document from a CSV file, they can do so via a macro. This helps to speed up the data entry process and reduces the risk of error. In addition, macros can be used to query databases, extract data from webpages, and perform a wide range of data manipulation tasks.

Tip #4: Format Charts

Chart formatting is essential to understanding your data and communicating the most important insights. To make sure your chart formatting is effective, there are a few things to consider.

A. Choose an appropriate chart type to reflect your data appropriately

The right chart type can make a complex set of data easier to understand. Popular chart types include bar charts, line charts, scatter plots, and pie charts. You may need to try several types of charts to find which one best reflects your data.

B. Determine which formatting options best highlight your data, e.g. font size and color

Changing the font size, color, and type of your text can dramatically alter how your data is communicated. To make sure the important points in your data stand out, use a bold font for titles and key labels. Additionally, select vibrant colors for your lines and bars to make them easier to see.

C. Make sure labels and titles are clear and easy to understand

When crafting labels and titles, it’s important to make sure they are descriptive and clear. This will make it easier for readers to identify trends and correlations in the data. Additionally, use simple (but not overly simplistic) language to maximize understanding.

Tip #5: Edit Data

Excel dashboards offer users the power to manipulate their data in order to obtain more meaningful information from it. Editing data in this way can be a useful tool for improving Excel dashboard reporting.

A. Filter data in helpful ways to make reporting easier

One of the ways you can improve your reporting by editing data is by filtering it in useful ways. This can help to make your datasets easier to comprehend and it can also help to avoid irrelevant information from being displayed. For example, you can use filters to select only the data that is relevant to the report, or to display data sorted by particular criteria. Additionally, you can use filters to summarize complex data into simple and consumable chunks, to ensure information is presented in a way that is easy to digest and understand.

B. Remove unnecessary rows and columns for a more concise view

Another way you can improve your reporting by editing data is by removing any unnecessary rows or columns. This can help to keep the data short and to the point, providing the report user with only the information they need. Removing unnecessary data can also help to avoid clutter, ensuring that only relevant data is visible on the dashboard.

C. Set up the dashboard for your users to easily sort and search data

Finally, you can improve your reporting by making it easier for users to sort and search the data. By setting up layers of navigation and search options, users can quickly activate the data they need and obtain the relevant results. You can also use special filtering functions to quickly identify patterns in the data, helping the user to draw meaningful insights from their data.


Dashboard reporting is a helpful tool for businesses of all sizes for tracking KPIs and analyzing data patterns. When designed and implemented well, an Excel dashboard can quickly become an invaluable resource for decision makers. In order to get the most out of the data that dashboards offer, organizations must take steps to ensure they are well-designed. The following five tips are essential for improving an Excel dashboard:

  • Structure the spreadsheet properly to make it easier to understand and navigate
  • Organize data into multiple tabs and sheets
  • Create reports and menus for different users
  • Consolidate data for better analysis and improved visualization
  • Choose the right tools and settings to best meet reporting needs

The importance of having a well-designed dashboard cannot be overstated. By taking the time to organize the data properly with the right tools and settings, businesses can ensure they are getting the most out of the flashy charts and graphs that make dashboard reporting so useful. The five tips discussed in this article are a great starting point for any organization looking to create a dashboard that can effectively track KPIs and enable data-driven decision making.

The time to start creating a well-designed dashboard is now. Take the first steps towards getting meaningful insights from your data and improving your dashboard reporting today.

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