Incorporate Top and Bottom Displays into Excel Dashboards

By Michael Alexander

It’s often helpful to organize your analyses into logical groups of data. Grouping, in your Excel dashboard, allows you to focus on manageable sets that have key attributes. For example, instead of looking at all customers in one giant view, you can analyze customers who buy only one product. This allows you to focus attention and resources on those customers who have the potential of buying more products.

The benefit of grouping data is that it allows you to more easily pick out groups that fall outside the norm for your business.

The top and bottom displays you create can be as simple as source data that you incorporate into your Excel dashboard. Typically placed to the right of a dashboard, this data can emphasize details a manager may use to take action on a metric. For example, the simple dashboard shown in this figure shows sales information with top and bottom sales reps.

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To get a little fancier, you can supplement your top and bottom displays with some ranking information, some in-cell bar charts, or some conditional formatting, as shown in the following figure.

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You can create the in-cell bar charts with the Data Bars conditional formatting function. The arrows are also simple conditional formatting rules that are evaluated against the variance in current and last months’ ranks.