Data Analysis and Dashboard Reporting in Excel Workshop

Discover how to “tame” your data and make it work for you!

With the huge amount of data available to us every day, a well-built and designed dashboard reports is one of the best ways to interpret and communicate large quantities of information. Learn how to synthesise information into a logical framework, summarise it into a meaningful format, and then display the summary into easy-to-read tables and graphs.

Each participant on this course receives a hard copy of the book Using Excel for Business Analysis. Re-using your copy, got several participants or want to book on multiple courses?  Consider making a bulk booking and save.


The course material includes extensive use of Excel and participants will gain the maximum benefit from this course if they are already competent spreadsheet users. It is designed for users who do use Excel on a regular basis, and are comfortable with using its tools and functions.

At minimum, it is assumed that participants will know how to:

  • Navigate confidently in Excel
  • Use absolute cell references (e.g. =$A$1)
  • Create and use advanced Excel tools and functions on a regular basis

Who should attend this course?

This course is aimed at managers and other professionals who need to create dashboards and other reports in order to analyse interpret and present information.  It is expected that students should have had some exposure to business, finance and reporting principles. This course builds on students’ existing knowledge of Excel tools and functions and incorporates these into complex and dynamic reports and dashboards.

Course Format

Public courses are run in a computer laboratory with workstations provided. Participants may bring their own laptops if they prefer.   The course is demonstrated using the latest version of Microsoft Excel, but students can use other versions of Excel if they prefer.  Course materials contain instructions for all versions, and Excel 2011 for Mac users are also catered for.  PCs are used during this course, so Apple Macintosh users may prefer to bring their own laptops.

Students are encouraged to share their own experiences with the class, and are welcome to bring examples of their own data or reports to discuss during the course.

Learning Objectives

Many of us struggle to make sense of all the data that is available in this information age.  With such a deluge of reports and statistics which don’t mean anything or can’t be made sense of, it’s no wonder that data is often misinterpreted or not communicated at all.  Learn how to synthesise information into a logical framework, summarise it into a meaningful format, and then display the summary into easy-to-read tables and graphs.  Covering dashboard reporting, balanced scorecards, visual design of charts and tables, we will also discuss the new charting and analysis features of Excel 2013 and 2016.

This course is very hands-on and practical.  Each participant will be expected to create their own reports, charts and models utilising the tools and techniques covered during the course.

By the end of the day, participants will:

  1. Understand the principles of data analysis
  2. Learn to synthesise and summarise information into a logical framework.
  3. Consider when to use a chart or a table
  4. Know how to use visual effects to improve their reports and presentations
  5. Explore how to summarise, present and communicate data clearly and concisely
  6. Learn the principles of good dashboard design and presenting data graphically
  7. Discover the tools to analyse data & build reports using your existing Excel tools and skills (and perhaps a few you didn’t know you had!)

Data Analysis Tools

  • Tool selection 
    Evaluation of Excel vs. other BI alternatives, including Power Pivot in terms of speed, usability and cost
  • What’s new in Office 2016
    Technical differences between versions. Considerations when building data models for users of different versions.
  • Shortcuts
    Speed up your data manipulation in Excel with the use of shortcuts
  • Tables & PivotTables 
    Analysing data more quickly and efficiently using structured reference table and summarise using PivotTables
  • Power Pivot
    Demonstration of the Microsoft add-in to Excel, PowerPivot

Using Excel as a Data Analysis Tool

  • Essential Excel tools & functions
    Overview of must-know tools and functions for data analysis such as LOOKUPS, logical and aggregation functions
  • Creating a robust formula
    Nest functions together to create succinct and robust formulas
  • Working with text
    Using text and concatenation functions to string numbers and text together to show in a dashboard or chart.
  • Cleaning your data
    Tools and tricks to clean data before using it to build a report or dashboard

Charting in Excel

  • Working with charts in Excel 2013/16
    Overview of new charting features of Excel
  • Creating a Combo or Bubble chart
    Show correlations by charting on different axes and chart types or bubble charts
  • Waterfall charts
    Comparison of different methods of waterfall charts, create your own template for future use.
  • Charting with dynamic ranges
    Explore various methods for dealing with varying data ranges in chart data sources

Chart and Table Design

  • Tables vs. Charts/Graphs
    Deciding the best method for visual display
  • Visual Design
    Design principles for effective graphic data presentation
  • Which chart?
    Choosing the correct chart to use to display different data and messages from your findings
  • Charting dos and don’ts
    Tips and tricks for a quicker chart build and was to making charts more robust and automated

Dashboard Reporting

  • What is a dashboard?
    Purpose and benefits of Dashboards
  • Common mistakes when building a Dashboard
    Creating a Dashboard in Excel

Dashboard Reporting

  • What is a dashboard?
    History and definition of dashboard reports
  • Purpose and benefits of Dashboards
    Why dashboards are so popular
  • Common mistakes when building a Dashboard
    Critique of poorly built dashboards
  • Creating a Dashboard in Excel
    Using provided data, create your own dashboard in Excel

Dashboard Design

  • Principles of dashboard design best practice
    Dashboard layout, colour choice and display   principles
  • Selecting the correct chart to display data
    Getting your message across most effectively by choosing the correct medium of display
  • Adding icons and images to dashboards
    Quick and easy ways to add automated colour and icons to your reports
  • Effective use of colour and logos
    Ways to make an impact with colour
  • Making dashboards dynamic
    Save time by using clever formulas which automatically update information on the dashboard
Practical exercise:  Using your own data, or examples provided, create a dynamic dashboard template incorporating the tools and techniques discussed during the course.