Impressive Dashboards with Google Sheets

Over the years, I’ve used Google Sheets a few times, and usually for basic tasks. Yesterday, I was surprised and impressed to see what it can do, thanks to Ben Collins. He builds interactive dashboards with Google Sheets, complete with pivot tables and maps, using the built-in features. Who knew that all this was possible, in a free, online spreadsheet application?

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Excel Dashboard Course Giveaway Winners

Last week we had a giveaway, with the grand prize of Excel TV’s online course – Excel Dashboard Pro. To enter, you had to add a comment to the blog post, with the hashtag that you might use, if you needed help with a dashboard. There were prizes for runners up too, and you can see all the winners below.

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Hide Table Details With No Macros

Last week, I was preparing reports for a client, and needed to find a quick and easy way to show or hide details in a long list. After a bit of thought, and experimenting, I found a way to do this – without macros.
You could use this technique on a table or pivot table, to make it easier to explore the data. You could also use this technique on an Excel dashboard, where real estate is in high demand!
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Dashboard Tools Add-In Giveaway Winners

Last week, Mike Alexander, from Bacon Bits Blog, provided 2 copies of his time-saving new Dashboard Tools add-in for our Excel giveaway. The lucky winners, in my random Excel draw, are:

Congratulations! I’ll email you later today, to arrange sending you a copy of Mike’s add-in. And thanks Mike, for providing the prizes!

Thank You for Participating

That’s the end of the Summer Excel Giveaways for this year, and thank you for participating. Your comments were thoughtful and much appreciated by the contest sponsors, and by me. When you explain how you would use a tool, describe problems that you’re having in Excel, or share the reasons that you’d like a book, it helps with product planning and improvements.
If you have ideas or suggestions for giveaways in the future, please let me know, either in the comments, or by email. I like to find prizes that are useful to those of us who use Excel every day, so we can be more productive and learn new skills.
Maybe we can have another giveaway series in a few months, to brighten up the long winter months (or cool off the summer days, for those of you in the southern hemisphere!)

Thanks Again to the Sponsors

Of course, the summer giveaways would not have been possible without the generous sponsors. Thanks to all of them! Here’s the list, with a link back to each contest:
Katie Mohr, Wiley: 101 Excel Tips Book
Jon Peltier, Peltier Tech: Excel Charting Utility
Bill Jelen, Mr.Excel: Ctrl+Shift+Enter Array Formulas Book
Jon Wittwer, Vertex42: Spreadsheet Tips Workbook
Contextures Inc.: PivotPower Premium Add-in
Katie Mohr, Wiley: Excel Dashboards and Reports Book
Jon Wittwer, Vertex42: Gantt Chart Template Kit
Mike Alexander: Dashboard Tools Add-In

Excel Dashboard Tools Add-in Giveaway

Last week, Jon Wittwer, from Vertex42, provided 4 copies of his awesome Gantt Chart Template Pro, for project tracking. The lucky winners, in my random Excel draw, are:

Congratulations! I’ll email you later today, to arrange sending you a copy of the template kit. And thanks Jon, for providing the prizes!

Dashboard Building

A couple of weeks ago, during the hot days of August, we had a giveaway for an Excel Reports & Dashboards book, by Mike Alexander and John Walkenbach. You made great comments on that topic, and mentioned that you’re trying to find ways to build better dashboards.
There were 58 entries, with 17 people saying “No”, they haven’t built a dashboard in Excel, and 41 “Yes” votes.

Dashboard Layout Problems

From your comments, I broke down the problems into broad categories, and layout was by far the biggest source of problems. Among the “Yes” votes, there were 25 mentions of layout issues – 61% of those votes.
I’ve uploaded my summary file to the SkyDrive, and you can open it there, and download it to your computer if you want to play with the results. The interactive view is below, and you can go from there to the online file.

The Dashboard Tool

This week, to help you with planning and building your dashboards, the giveaway is Mike Alexander’s new Dashboard Tools add-in. He sent me a copy to try it out, and it’s great!
The add-in creates a new group on the Ribbon’s Insert tab. You can use the Mockup Tools to lay out the components during the planning phase.
Then, use the Info Graphics, Canvas Builder and Color Swatches tools to create a dashboard layout, and link it to your data. There are lots of colours and shapes to choose from, so you can break out of your usual layout, and dazzle your co-workers, and boss, with something new.
In the screen shot below, I’ve added a pointer from the Info Graphics tab, and linked its textbox to the value in cell D2. A couple of clicks, and it was done.

Enter the Giveaway

Mike Alexander, from Bacon Bits Blog, has donated 2 copies of his Dashboard Tools add-in for this giveaway. If you’d like a chance to win a copy, please read the rules, and then make a comment below.
NOTE: If you’re reading this in email, or an RSS feed, please go to my blog to add your comment.

  • In your comment, tell us a benefit you’d get from using Mike’s dashboard tools add-in
  • Include your email address, so I can contact you if you win. Your contact information won’t be publicly visible, and it won’t be used for any other mailings.
  • The deadline is Wednesday, September 11th, 2013, at 12 noon Eastern Daylight Time.
  • One entry per person.
  • The 2 winners will be announced on Thursday, September 12th, 2013.
  • Each winner will have 24 hours to claim the prize, and if not claimed, another name will be selected.