This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.
—Sir Winston Churchill
Knowing that Excel has one of the best graphical engines available in business software, why would you consider creating text-based dashboards? There are numerous reasons.
The text-based dashboards described in this chapter use text elements that fit within worksheet cells. They take up little room in a printed report yet give the reader a quick comparison between relative values. And text-based dashboards are compatible across earlier versions of Excel.
This chapter also describes conditional formatting used in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010 that can alert users with colors, icons, and bars. Chapter 19 describes how to insert miniature charts into cells in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010.
With the addition of conditional colors and conditional icons, we can create information-rich screens or printed reports that contain a great deal of data and also convey a great deal of information. The text-based dashboard techniques in this chapter enable you to do the following: