An Excel Dashboard Report from 1992 with Financial Data for a Public Company
This Excel dashboard report shows the performance of a public company in 1992. It offers lessons that still are relevant today.
The figure below shows the first Excel dashboard to display data
about a public company. Although this report looks quite similar to today's
reports, the old and the new reports are significantly different under the hood.
Back in 1992 I probably was using Excel 4.0. In those early versions, Excel
could support only a few charts in a workbook. So to create this report
back then I wrote a macro
that generated each chart in a separate workbook and copied its image to
the report page.
But even with those primitive techniques, the charts were
powerful. Notice, for example, that the charts use two time
scales: The column plots show annual performance and the line
plots show quarterly performance.
Today, of course, Excel dashboards are more powerful and much easier to use.
Even so, the lesson from those early days still applies to dashboards
today: Creating Excel dashboards consists of two areas of knowledge,
the body and its engine. The body can look great, but the report will
fail if the engine is poorly designed.
Since the early 1990s I've experimented with many ways to support
Excel dashboard reporting. Today, the reason you can
generate your first dashboard
report in a few hours is that I've created a much easier and more
powerful way to support each figure in the dashboard. That is, I've
designed a much better engine. And no macros are needed!
This is one of the reasons that
users in more than half the countries in the world use my Excel
dashboard products. These users include people working in
banks in at
least 30 countries,
more than 200 universities,
hospitals and other healthcare organizations, and each company that
makes up the Dow Jones