17 Tips For Formatting Excel Dashboards (WITH DOWNLOAD FILE)

17 Tips For Formatting Excel Dashboards (WITH DOWNLOAD FILE)


Want to get started with Excel Dashboards? You are in the right place. Welcome to part 2 of the Excel Dashboards for Beginners series.

Excel Dashboards can look cool, but putting one together can be tricky. In the Excel Dashboards for Beginners series, Chris explains his simple approach for putting together powerful, dynamic and visually-pleasing Excel dashboards that you and your customers are going to love. Let’s get into it!

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Part 2: 17 Tips For Formatting Excel Dashboards

1. Consistent Row (Heights) and Column (Widths)
a. Display columns (8/10) and spacer columns (2)

2. Use Subtle Background Formatting (Not A Distraction)
a. Dotted pattern fill works well

3. Shapes Help Create Layers (Use a gradient fill)

4. Switch Off Gridlines (But Horizontal Borders Are Important!)
a. Creates ‘Clean’ Look (but gridlines do support readability)
b. Do you need ‘all borders’? Horizontal only improves readability

5. Get Rid Of The Units (Write It Once)

6. Get Rid Of The Zeroes (With Special Formatting)

a. Some interesting ones to try (working with thousands):
i. 0.00,
ii. 0,”K”

7. Use Colour Sparingly (Within A Scheme!)
a. Same formatting in tables and charts (to highlight important items)
b. Consider conditional formatting
c. White font on dark colour provides a nice contrast
d. Match to client brand identity?

8. Position Output Cell In the Top-Left (Not The Bottom Left)

9. Highlight User Input Cells (Top-Left)
a. Position in the top-left for easy access
b. Use a highlight colour (yellow works well)

10. Differentiate Font Size (Make Output Stand Out)
a. Like on your car dashboard

11. Use Dynamic Headers (Highlight Dynamic Quality!)
a. Use formulae to create this effect

12. Declutter The Axes

13. Cell Comments – An Additional Layer?
a. Option to switch on / off (can annoy the user)

14. Use A ‘Catch-All’ Category In Charts / Tabulation (To Simplify)

15. Consider Role Of Company Logo And Titles (Are They Needed?)
a. Can use up prime ‘real estate’

16. Make (Most) Fonts Consistent
a. Can be considered ‘lazy’ to use the ‘default font’
b. Arial is recommended (obscure fonts may not be supported)
c. Fit to company brand identity?


Golden Rule 1: Formatting Should Support Assimilation

Golden Rule 2: Remember To Some Extent It’s A Matter Of Opinion – Whose Matters?

Did this video help you get started with Excel dashboards? We would love to hear what you think, and to answer your questions in the comments – so go ahead and leave us a query right there.

More to come soon from the Excel Dashboards for Beginners series – thank you for watching!
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