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24 May 2015 · 1272 views

Excel for Rich Data Exploration and Dashboarding

Ben Watt explains how to build enterprise dashboards using Power View in Excel

Following from his quick intro to Power View, Ben Watt presents a 50-minute in-depth tutorial leading you through all of the features of this data exploration and reporting tool.

To get started, you will need to enable Power View in Microsoft Excel (1:30) or install it in your SharePoint site. Once you are up and running you can connect to various sources (2:18) to explore your business data.

Power View has a simple and easy to use work surface allowing you to build customised reports in just a few clicks. Use on-report and interactive filters to summarise and focus on the data you want to explore. Filters are very effective, and important features of Power View, and you should master them.

There are various visualisations in Power View which can be used for more than just displaying information. They can help you spot trends in your sales, outliers in your customers, or well-performing products in your catalogue. By combining tables or matrices with bar charts, line charts or pie charts you can build informative, and elegant dashboards.

Taking a step further, you can start with high level information, such as a year and a product category and drill down into the details, like quarter and month, or a subcategory and product, to pinpoint root cause of successful timeframes or problematic products.

You can look for interesting patterns with the scatter chart where you can combine three measures into a single static, or an animated view. Watch your scatter chart come alive and tell you a story of your data over time by using its play axis.

If your data includes geographical attributes you can plot it on an interactive map. Don’t worry if you don’t have longitude or latitude details, your textual address information will be automatically geocoded by Bing Maps so it can be plotted. Of course, if you have those coordinates, you can use them to create more accurate maps. Bear in mind that there is another tool in the Excel BI family, Power Map, which offers more advanced map-based reporting options than Power View.

Once your report elements have been finalised, you can brand it according to your taste. You may also want to select from a built-in theme to make it visually appealing. With the report complete, you can share with your team by saving it to Power BI in the cloud and have it accessible anywhere with an internet connection on any device.

If you would like to access the same data and the visualisations that Ben shows in this video, make sure to download it: it is available to Full Access Members.

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