Contextures News 20151208

Excel Dashboard Ideas

December 08, 2015

Dashboard ideas, quick count, and more, in this week's Excel news. Visit my Excel website for more tips, tutorials and videos, and check the index for past issues of this newsletter.

Note: For some products mentioned below, I earn a commission on sales. That helps support the free tutorials on my site.

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.

Spreadsheet Principles

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.

You can go to the ACAEW website to download the full article in a pdf file, and read the short version of the list.

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.

Celebrating Cookie Day

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?

weekly photo

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That's it for this week! If you have any comments or questions, send me an email.

Debra Dalgleish

Debra Dalgleish

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Last updated: October 30, 2019 6:53 PM