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# Contextures News

Excel Dashboard Ideas

Dec 8, 2015

Quick count, spreadsheet principles, dashboard examples, and more, in this week's Excel news.

-  Debra -  ddalgleish@contextures.com

### Get a Quick Count

Excel is a great tool for working with a list of data, and calculating sums and counts. And now, with the newer functions, like SUMIFS and COUNTIFS, it's fairly easy to get a total based on multiple criteria.

But don't forget about pivot tables, when you want a quick sum or count. With a couple of clicks, you can create a pivot table, based on your list. Then, add the field that you want to count or sum, and you're done!

To see an example, watch this short video that I made -- it shows how to count the number of times that each item appears in the list.

Have you ever built a simple workbook that took on a life of its own, and grew into a giant, sprawling, monster? Eventually, nobody remembers who built it, or knows exactly how it works. You just throw some numbers into every month, and hope for the best.

It's a common problem, and last year the ICAEW drafted a list of 20 principles for good spreadsheet practice, to help reduce wasted time and costly errors. Principle #14 is great advice: Never embed in a formula anything that might change or need to be changed.

### Excel Articles

Here are a couple of Excel articles I read recently, that you might find useful.

Dashboards -- Chandoo just announced the winners of his recent KPI performance charts and dashboards contest. Take a look at all the entries, to get some inspiration for your own dashboards. Did your favourites win? (Level - Intermediate)

Football Field Chart -- I'd never heard of a Football Field Chart, but Rasna Saini gives step by step instructions on how to build one. I'm sure that Jon Peltier could show us a better way to add that vertical line though. (Level - Intermediate)

More Excel Articles -- Find links to more articles in the latest Excel Weekly Roundup on my Contextures blog.

Last week I made cookies, for the first time in ages -- almond cookies, to go with our stir fry supper. They don't look too pretty, but tasted delicious. I haven't made these for about 10 years, but instantly remembered that the recipe was on page 44 in the cookbook. Does your memory work like that too?

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