Dashboard Tip: In-Cell Charting

Your business day is busy and information-packed.  Dashboards are an effective way to make sense of everything without driving yourself crazy.  A well-designed dashboard can save you hours of work and make you look good in front of your boss.

Of course most dashboards include graphs, charts, and even the occasional pivot table.  But a quick, simple, and very flexible alternative involves the use of the REPT function, which repeats any character you designate any number of times that you wish.  By being creative, you can graphically present things like employee sales, total calls received by your call center, or average rainfall by county.

The standard format of the function is:

REPT (text, numbe_of_times)

Although the text used can be anything you wish, because people are used to seeing bar charts, the best character to use is the pipe character which is the “|” above the backslash (“\”) on the keyboard.

A practical application is to take a figure–total sales for each salesperson, for example–and show a vertical bar for each appropriate increment.  For the attached sheet (InCellCharting), for example, I divided the total sales numbers by 10,000.  For every $10,000, that is, a vertical bar is depicted.

Very simple, but very effective, right?


About bbluford
I am an executive finance professional with a love for process and application development (MS Access, Excel, Quickbooks), mostly as it relates to Accounting and Business Functions. I also love to write and share ideas with other people in this world. I'm an admitted Gym Rat who works out excessively. The best summation of me is that I love to teach and to learn.

One Response to Dashboard Tip: In-Cell Charting

  1. Larry Green says:

    Very nice tip Bobby! Nothing like a nifty Excel tip!

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