Top 5 New Productivity Features in Zebra BI Custom Visuals for Power BI

The latest version of Zebra BI for Power BI brings a bunch of new features that bring new flexibility to companies and users who rely on standardized reports to present their data.

Reorder your columns and scale your reports

As you work with Zebra BI Power Tables you might want to change the default order of columns. While the default ordering is based on best practices and standards prescribed by IBCS, companies very often have reporting standards which define a proprietary order of columns. For example, data for the previous year should be displayed to the left of Actual results or to the right. With the latest update, you no longer have to worry, just simply drag and drop columns to reorder them.

The reordering is very flexible and intuitive. Your custom column order is preserved even after you resize your table. Some detail, particularly charts, might get converted into numbers to save space and retain readability, however, the information itself is not removed and stays front and center. This feature is great for scaling your stories from beautiful, highly visual full-screen power bi dashboards to extremely compact, mobile-friendly reports and everything in between ... with a simple resize action

Use this feature to add a new level of flexibility to your IBCS-compliant reports and dashboards. Our visuals now support virtually any customization you might need to create powerful and convincing data stories.

Focus on the most important things

To make a point, sometimes you just want to show the most significant items and reduce the visual clutter. To help you do just that, we've added the Top/bottom N feature to our waterfall charts. Once you toggle the option On, you simply select the number of top or bottom values you want to display and the chart adjusts automatically.


How to use this option? Once you have your waterfall chart, click the Format tab in the Visualizations pane. Open the Categories group and toggle the Top/Bottom N switch into the On position. Afterwards, you can set the number of items that need to be shown. Other items are merged into a single group named Other.

This feature helps you focus on the most important data points while reducing visual density to improve chart readability.

Automated data labelling

Everyone hates it when the labels on their charts overlap and ruin an otherwise perfect visual. We've added an advanced algorithm to Zebra BI PowerCharts to prevent this. When you are working with a narrow chart that cannot accommodate all the labels, the visual will hide them automatically. Labels appear again once you resize the chart or switch to the Focus mode. This ensures optimal label density depending on your context and situation.

To turn this feature on, select your chart and click the Format tab in the Visualizations pane. Open the Data labels group and select Auto from the Density dropdown menu.

Small multiples that combine chart types

Small multiples mode now supports charts combining multiple chart types (bar and lollipop, for example). To use this feature, select your chart and click the Format tab in the Visualizations pane. Open the Chart Settings group and select either "Absolute / Relative", "Actual / Absolute" or "Actual / Relative" from the Layout dropdown menu.

At the same time, we've added the Top N + Others option to the small multiple mode. It works similar to the feature described above by showing only the most important charts and combining the others into a single chart named Other.

To use this feature, select your chart and click the Format tab in the Visualizations pane. Open the Small multiples group and select an item from the Top N dropdown menu. Then, set the number of items you want to have shown.

Break the axis in line and area charts

Sometimes you want to track a difference in a KPI that has very small variations, you can now break the axis in line and area charts to emphasize otherwise minor variances. The feature works on individual charts as well as small multiples.

Our advice is to be careful with this feature, because it artificially emphasizes differences where there might not be any. However, you might find this feature useful if you want to focus on the trend of a variance or a similar feature of your data.

You can find the axis break option in the Format tab in the Visualizations pane under the Axis break group. Turn the feature on with the toggle and set the Percent value - lower values might result in a better display of very low data labels.

Make sure you download the free trial!

In addition to out-of-the-box support for IBCS standards, Zebra BI visuals for Power BI feature 1-click data sorting, powerful outlier handling, advanced small multiples, responsive visuals, improved navigation, and full customization. With support for Power BI, best practice reporting is now available on the desktop and mobile and in the cloud.

Try Zebra BI Visuals for Power BI

Zebra BI Visuals for Power BI 2.0 Released!

Zebra BI Visuals, the only IBCS®-certified software solution for Power BI, has just been updated to version 2.0.

Note: Version 2.0 of Zebra BI visuals for Power BI takes advantage of the latest additions to Power BI core, so it requires August update of Power BI Desktop. Older Power BI versions still work with version 1.3.

This release is available for existing subscribers as well as a free trial and delivers improved comparisons and more options for formatting and designing data.

The most important new features of version 2.0. include:

Report page tooltips

Now you can make your Power BI reports even more user-friendly. Use report page tooltips to display additional information when a user hovers with his mouse over a specific data category.

Here's an animation of report page tooltips in action:

More info about using report page tooltips with Zebra BI visuals for Power BI is available here:

Multidimensional small multiples

The small multiples functionality of Zebra BI visuals for Power BI has been improved. Watch the video below to see multidimensional small multiples:

Make sure you download the free trial!

In addition to out-of-the-box support for IBCS standards, Zebra BI visuals for Power BI feature 1-click data sorting, powerful outlier handling, advanced small multiples, responsive visuals, improved navigation, and full customization. With support for Power BI, best practice reporting is now available on the desktop and mobile and in the cloud.

Try Zebra BI Visuals for Power BI

Mastering Variance Reports in Power BI

One of the most important features in any business dashboard is the ability to present variances in a clear and easy-to-understand way that makes an impact. Essentially, variance reports show the difference between the planned or past financial outcomes and the actual financial outcomes. No organization can expect to make informed decisions without having this insight and variance reports are all about providing it.

When you are working in Power BI, the default set-up lacks some of the features you need to create variance reports. However, Zebra BI has worked really hard to create Power BI custom visuals that help you tell the most convincing story. Variance reports are a big part of that and we will look at how to use Zebra BI to create them since many users still have issues creating them. Read more

Microsoft income statement – FY18 Q4 financial results in Power BI

On July 19, 2018, Microsoft Corp. announced the financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2018, as compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year.

The results are impressive, for example:

  • Revenue was $30.1 billion and increased 17%
  • Operating income was $10.4 billion and increased 35%
  • Net income was $8.9 billion GAAP and $8.8 billion non-GAAP

But what caught my attention, was the fact the press release included only standard tables with additional downloadable Excel, PowerPoint, and Word documents.

So my immediate thought was, where's the Power BI presentation of these fabulous results???

So I tried to redesign the tables in an attempt to present the financial results in a clearest possible way, by leveraging the amazing Power BI capabilities, together with the advanced visualization capabilities of Zebra BI visuals for Power BI.

Alright, here we go:


View as PDF


What do you think? Please let me know in the comments!


Note: This is not an official presentation of Microsoft Corp. financial results. It's just a quick study of how financial data such as income statements can be visualized in a clear and understandable way in Power BI as an alternative to standard data tables.

Source: Microsoft Corp. Earnings Release FY18 Q4

Zebra BI visuals for Power BI can be downloaded at


Zebra BI Visuals for Power BI 1.3 Released!

Zebra BI Visuals, the only IBCS®-certified software solution for Power BI, has just been updated to version 1.3 that brings several exciting new features that make it easier to create convincing and clear visual business presentations in Power BI.

This release is available for existing subscribers as well as a free trial and delivers improved comparisons and more options for formatting and designing data.

Let's browse through some of the new features in version 1.3:


Pixel-perfect profit and loss layouts with waterfall charts for improved readability

Support for multiple scenario comparisons that delivers the highly requested actuals vs PY vs plan reports



Ability to display yearly totals next to monthly charts within the same visual

Additional improvements to small multiples

By setting the advanced layout options for small multiples and by controlling the minimal width of data categories in charts, you now have even more control over creating high-density displays of your data. Make sure you check out the 'Auto' and 'Smart row' datavis algorithms in Small multiples section and try out which sort order best suits your needs:


Significantly upgraded displays of hierarchical tables

Hierarchical tables became even more powerful. For example, check out this P&L statement with comparisons to PY and plan at the same time:


Along with many other improvements and new features, Zebra BI Visuals for Power BI v1.3 allow you to build even more powerful business reports and dashboards. Here you can browse through a few more live examples, published directly from Power BI using the Publish to Web function:


Make sure you download the free trial!

In addition to out-of-the-box support for IBCS standards, Zebra BI visuals for Power BI feature 1-click data sorting, powerful outlier handling, advanced small multiples, responsive visuals, improved navigation and full customization. With support for Power BI, best practice reporting is now available on the desktop and mobile and in the cloud.

Try Zebra BI Visuals for Power BI

Income Statement Excel

How to Design Income Statements in Excel

If there is one report that's a business constant, it's the income statement (also known as a profit and loss statement). Its core purpose is to show managers and investors the bottom line of a company for a specific period. It is normally delivered as a structured spreadsheet that shows how the top line (revenues) is transformed into the bottom line after taking out expenses.

There is a much better way, however. An income statement tells a very important story about your company and you can tell it in a much more effective way. Instead of relying on just numbers, you can use a visual language that makes your story not just much more attractive but also much easier to understand.

A Basic Income Statement

First, let's take a look at a relatively simple income statement showing business results for two years.

Income Statement Excel

Tip: There are many things you can do to improve the readability of your report. Some are more subtle than others - for example, in the structure waterfall chart, the numbers that have positive contribution are displayed to the right of the bar, while negative contribution values are marked on the left. This is a good practice that clarifies your story without any added visual noise.

The first and second columns of waterfall charts show the different types of revenue and costs that make up total profit across two different years. The first section of the chart shows revenue sources and growth that contribute to the overall profit, followed by costs, such as purchases, material and other operating expenses that reduce the overall profit. Note the "Operating expenses" which is a subtotal of all other expenses above it. This intermediate calculation improves readability and helps visualize the end result. These subtotals are actually very easy to do in Zebra BI. You only need to tell the software how many rows above a certain cell should be included in the calculation and Zebra BI does the rest.

When you create a report like this, you use the "Structure" waterfall chart. This type of waterfall chart shows the structure of the final profit and contributions of individual items. You could also use the "Variance" chart that puts the focus on actual differences.

The two waterfall charts are complemented by a variance bar chart and lollipop chart on the right:

Income Statement Variance Charts

The bar chart displays absolute values and their change. The lollipop chart represents relative growth or decrease in percentages. The important thing about the variance chart is that it is scaled. The length of the chart now corresponds to the actual difference between 2012 and 2013 values. (You can switch between absolute and relative variance charts with the click of a single button in Zebra BI chart properties.)

Tip: Use a waterfall chart instead of a bar chart to display absolute variance. You will be able to visualize not only the values but also how they contribute to the total difference. Like this:

Income Statement Excel Waterfall

When working with comparisons, you will soon meet the category class column. Instead of using negative or positive numbers, you can use the category class column to define whether an item is a positive or negative addition to the total. You can read more about the category class column here. Using this feature you can easily invert KPIs that have a negative contribution despite being a positive value. For example, an increase in the cost of raw materials is a positive value with a negative impact on your overall profit. Zebra BI will show it in red, despite it being a positive value.

Taking It Up a Notch

In real life, you might want to show data for more than just two years. A typical scenario is a report with the current and past year data and plans for the coming year.

Income Statement Excel 2.5

Notice a different approach to designing the report. With three data sets we are coming up short on space. Since the variance data is much more relevant, we used a table and chart combination. The PY, AC and BU values are displayed in a table, while the more important variance data is visualized with charts.

The bar and a lollipop charts are telling the same story as with the previous template. However, we now have two pairs of them - one pair for showing variance from the past year and the second pair displaying the difference compared to the plan.

The great thing about Zebra BI is that you have complete design freedom. For example, you could change the order of charts or even place data columns between charts.

Tip: When designing a more complex template like this, decide on an order of charts and stick to it. I prefer showing the variance compared to the previous year and then the comparison to the plan. You might want to use a different approach, just make sure to stay consistent. This way, you'll ensure your income statement always tells a clear story at first glance.

When designing a report like this, make sure that all the charts that visualize the same type of data are scaled. You can see here that bar lengths clearly display the difference from the previous year and the plan. Keep in mind that this type of reports is fairly useless if it's not scaled. Luckily, scaling is one of the strong points of Zebra BI. To scale your charts, you just need to select the charts you want to adjust and click on a single "Scale" button.

The more the merrier

These two sample income statements were for a single company. But what about if we are creating an income statement for a group of companies, subsidiaries or profit centers? In this case you might want to show multiple countries or companies on a single page. Take a look at an example:

Income Statement Excel Multiples

Data here is more aggregated - it's five smaller charts with waterfall charts showing key data: net sales, costs, operating profit, EBITDA and net result. On the right are variance charts showing difference compared to the plan. This is a great way to show the picture of your business on a single page.

Again, pay attention to scaling. This report will only work if it is scaled - it must make it clear that Germany is the largest market, followed by France and Great Britain. In this example, the variance bar charts are also scaled to the waterfall charts to show the actual difference.

Tip: When designing visual reports like this, pay attention to labeling and headings. Clear and understandable headings help you tell the story while comments help you draw attention to significant data points.

This is a very complex page - it contains 10 charts in addition to the headings and labels. However, these visualizations comply with the IBCS standards, which ensures that you can easily read this page without losing sight of the overall picture.

Export your work

Zebra BI has predefined page templates. The page templates fit perfectly into a PowerPoint slide, so you just need to enter your data, create your charts and export everything to create a presentation. Page templates include an area for inputting data and an area for designing your reports. In the first area, you prepare your data that will tell your story. Then simply move your charts into the areas predesigned for them. This is one of the easiest ways to create an income statement for your presentation.

You can choose between a number of templates available, including pages that display up to 25 charts. This way, you can choose the page with the data density you require - from a 2x2 grid up to 5x5 grid.

Want to create income statements like these?

If you'd like to create income statements that you see in this article, click below to add Zebra BI to your Excel:

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A different way to present cash flow statement

This is a guest post by Saša Butina, a consultant at SASH reporting. See more about SASH reporting at the end of the post.

When one monitors financial activities - inflows and outflows from company’s bank account, he/she usually analyses and presents data in table. It’s just something we are used to and basically there is nothing wrong with it. We should have enough time and carefully read through cash flow statements to clearly see what is happening with our most liquid assets. Let’s be honest - at the end, cash is king and cash is what every business is about :).

But, as life is getting faster and faster we often miss the time to carefully read all reports, especially if they consist mainly of tables with lots of data. In such cases the reader needs to really focus, understand and have good analytical skills to get to some meaningful conclusions based on reports. That is why all BI (business intelligence) solutions put more and more effort into providing good and simple options to visualize our data. The reason for this lies in fact that most people are visual types and are able to see trends and anomalies faster from charts than from tables. Lots of companies already use different BI solutions with such options and present their business results using different charts.

Different type of charts for different type of data

Most commonly used charts in general are:

  • time related charts, showing sales or costs or profit during different time periods, and
  • structure charts showing sales structure by products or markets, costs structure by cost type, inventory structures by product and so on.

There are lots of other data commonly presented in charts but we rarely see cash flow statement data presented in any type of chart. Even if we do, such charts usually are not very user friendly. You can see few examples of such charts below where it is not clear what the message of each chart is. These charts are not easy to read and therefore do not bring added value compared to data presented in tables.

When we present cash flow or any other data in charts we should make sure that:

  • the message we want to deliver is clear and understandable,
  • we use colors that the reader instinctively knows what they mean,
  • we give the reader some recommendation on future actions / decision.

In other words – the reader should get the message with one look at the chart and should quickly know what to do next. Let’s take a look at the chart below to illustrate our point.

Cash flow statement presented with contribution chart

To explain this chart, we should start with grey bars, which present cash position at certain point of time (end of each month in this case). We can see, that at the end of February 2017 cash position was 56k€, at the end of March it was 65k€ and at the end of April it was 47k€.

Note: In the chart above the selected period is a month, but we can also show data weekly or even daily. It depends on data we have available and which we want to look at.

Further, let’s explain the green and red bars in between. They present net inflow (green) or outflow (red, obviously :)) from different types of business activities.

  • Cash flow from operating activities is one generated by company’s core business operations (receivables collection, wages and payables payments).
  • Cash flow from investing activities is the one generated from buying or selling equipment, assets or financial investments (for example shares in other companies).
  • Cash flow from financing is mainly generated from debt, loans or capital changes.

Chart shown above was created at the beginning of May 2017, when the last actual date was end of April 2017. The left part of the chart is presenting past actual data and the right side of chart is reserved for presenting forecasted cash flow for next three months. "Forecast" bars are striped while "actual" bars are colored fully – so you can immediately see what is actual and what forecasted data. On the far right side of the chart you also see red arrow pointing down and two numeric data. These are showing the difference from last actual cash position to last forecasted cash position. The difference is minus 13k€ which means 28%. It is quite a lot and cash position in amount 34k€ is not enough for this company to avoid liquidity issues. Therefore, you can also see red caution alert above the grey bar.

The general rule for services companies is that cash position in every point of time should not be less than the amount of three months costs.

Three questions that come to mind

  1. How do we prepare such a chart, technically?
  2. How do we prepare cash flow data that is used to prepare such chart?
  3. How do we prepare cash flow forecast for next three months?

1. Preparing cash flow contribution chart technically

To prepare such chart you need Excel, plenty of Excel skills and plenty of time. 🙂 Even though Excel 2016 introduced waterfall charts, the default Excel waterfall chart is still too limited for advanced cash flow analysis.

But there's also a quicker and easier way. Instead of doing it manually, you can try using Zebra BI, a great Excel Add-in that allows you to create advanced business charts in a couple of clicks.

The above cash flow statement data is presented in type of analysis called contribution analysis. It is the optimal data visualization in cases where the whole (total) values (visualized as "fixed" columns or rows) are explained by partial (subcategory) values (usually visualized as red/green columns or rows). In our case, the whole value is cash position at certain point of time, while the partial values are net income/outcome from different type of business activities (operating, investing, financing).

You can start your 30-day free trial of Zebra BI here:

Once you have Zebra BI downloaded, prepare your data as shown on the left, then insert Contribution>Variance Column chart.

Note: You can learn more about creating waterfall charts with Zebra BI in our Support Center.

2. Preparing cash flow statement for past actual data

In general, you have two options / methods to prepare cash flow statement for past periods. Direct and indirect method.

Direct method means that you summarize and classify each inflow and outflow from your company’s bank account. It gives you the best information on your cash activities. However, this method is not preferred and used by most companies since it requires much more effort to prepare.

This is why most companies prefer indirect method of preparing cash flow statement. It means that you take your Profit and loss statement and your Balance sheet and calculate Cash flow statement out of them. It is more convenient to prepare Cash flow statement using indirect method and besides that, this method gives you another point of view.  It clearly shows a connection between reported net income (from Profit and loss statement) and cash provided by operations (as the most important category in Cash flow statement).

3. Preparing cash flow forecast for future months

In our previous chart we also presented cash flow forecast to the right of cash flow for actual data. When it comes to cash flow forecast, we should distinguish between:

  • short term forecast (few weeks) and
  • longer term forecast (few months up to half year).

To prepare short term forecast you first need to have a list of receivables and payables with due dates and should know if and which of your customers tend to delay with their payments. Furthermore you should also take into account all other potential activities that have bigger impact on cash flow (such as investments, loans taken or repaid…). Based on all this information you can prepare inflow and outflow forecast, but for no longer period than a few weeks.

Note: To increase reliability of your business and avoid liquidity issues, you should plan your cash flow for longer than 2-3 weeks. You should know today whether you will need additional financial resources in 4, 5 or 6 months so that you have enough time to arrange them.

Preparing longer term cash flow forecast is not a piece of cake :). The information we talked about earlier (receivables and payables with due dates…) does not give you a good basis to prepare the forecast for next 6 months, because when you're dealing with such long periods, there are also other factors that influence your cash flow (for example season influence, growth…).

SASH reporting team has developed advanced algorithms to calculate future cash flow based on your past actual data. Different types of cash flow projections are suitable for companies in different stages and in different industries and SASH reporting cash flow projections have all of it in mind. This kind of report gives you better insight and ability to make better decisions regarding your planned cash-flow forecast.

We believe that many SMEs lack know-how and resources to prepare and present such cash flow analysis but that doesn’t mean they don’t need it. SMEs need cash flow analysis as much as big companies do. In our opinion even more, because they can run into liquidity problems even faster. For example, SMEs which raised an investment should know their burn rate in order to know if and when they will have to provide additional financial resources. SASH reporting is the option of help for SMEs in need of cash flow or any other type of analysis.

Would you like to see your cash flow in a contribution chart?

Visit our web site or send your e-mail with your needs to

SASH reporting enables you to improve your processes, get better insight in your business and above all achieve greater results.

Trump’s Chances – Redesign of The New York Times’s Infografic

In the recent update of The New York Times's article Who Will Be President? the authors used an interesting and a slightly controversial infografic, consisting of 16 sparklines. The graphic depicts the trends of Donald Trump's winning probabilities in the states, where his chances have increased most over the last two weeks.

Unfortunately, the visualization fails to convey a proper picture of the trends due to inconsistent scaling of charts, proving once more, that the correct scaling is still one of the hardest problems in data visualization. We'll present 3 alternative solutions that allow the readers to properly assess and compare changes across the states.

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Difference highlight: the fastest way to improve your reports and dashboards

The goal of visualizing data with charts instead of plain tables is to bring clarity to the readers and decrease the time it takes them to get the key piece of information from the data.

This is usually achieved by removing all unnecessary items from your visualizations and emphasizing the important values. One of the best tools for this is a difference highlight. Here's how it looks like:

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Sales by salesmen YTD FY - AC BU FC

Top 3 Ways to Report your Variance Analysis in Excel

Most companies create plans and budgets to establish benchmarks for future performance in sales, production, operations, labor, etc. The starting point of these plans and budget are usually estimated cost and revenue figures. The goal is to meet these budgets, but as with all goals - they are not always met. Managers use variance analysis to track the actual performance against these goals. If this analysis is not performed afterwards, then setting budgets is useless.

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Struggling to visualize your data? Zebra BI’s got you covered!

Whether it’s waterfall charts, variance charts, or lollipop charts, Zebra BI has everything you need to visualize your data for all to understand.

Picture this: you’re about to present your company’s quarterly earnings to its top executives. You’ve spent countless hours gathering the needed information and placing it into a chart in Excel. You’ve even tried your hardest to make the chart look as appealing as possible. (Unfortunately, you thought this entailed simply adding different colors to different columns.) Upon beginning your presentation, however, you notice that your report looks similar to the one shown below and might be difficult for people not familiar with the information to properly analyze or understand.

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The fastest way to insert lollipop charts in Excel

Lollipop charts are a great data visualization technique. Data visualization professionals and business analysts like them for a good reason. They can be used in similar situations as bar charts and column charts, but they have the advantage of producing a cleaner-looking picture.

The sticks of the lollipops are thinner than the bars/columns, which allows the chart to "breathe", while the lollipops force the reader to focus on the most important part of the chart - the values.

Jon Peltier, Stephanie Evergreen and Jon Schwabish all wrote their own guides on how to produce lollipop charts in Microsoft Excel - "the primary data visualization tool for most of the world", according to Schwabish. These kinds of guides are necessary because lollipop charts are not included in the default set of charts found in Excel.

All of these guides work well for producing lollipop charts in Excel, but they all have one flaw: they take time to complete.

Ideally, you wouldn't need a guide to produce a lollipop chart in Excel...

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Designing Financial Statements for Non-Profits & Foundations – The Gates Foundation example

This time we'll take a deep dive into the 2014 annual report of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to find out if data visualization can help explain their consolidated financial statements. As Stephanie Evergreen pointed out in her intriguing article, there's a lot of room for improvement in annual reports of non-profits and foundations (to put it mildly). Data visualization in annual reports is far from being efficient and clear. Many times it's just non-existent. 

Stephanie's got an excellent point. However, when observing her proposed visuals and especially when faced with the extreme ranges of values in the financial statement of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, I thought it's time to add some more 'meat' to this topic.

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How to visualize trends for multiple markets, products, etc.

Recently, my attention was drawn to an interesting analysis of The Hottest Startup Sectors In 2016, written by Tomasz Tunguz. It shows the trend of investments into 16 major startup markets and tries to expose the gap between seed and Series A investment dollars.

The arrangement of charts into a "small multiples" chart matrix is an excellent idea. However, when you start drawing conclusions from the visual representation, you may arrive at some seriously false conclusions. Let's take a closer look:

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Making small multiples in Excel

Have you ever tried making small multiples in Excel? I have. Several times. It's possible. Everything is possible in Excel, but some things just take forever. And when you're done and realize you'd like to change it just slightly, it takes forever again.

Countless times I was in a situation where small multiples of, say, 12 waterfall charts would be perfect for my customer's dataset and intended message, but I dismissed the thought in a split of a second. Imagining I have to produce a bunch of Excel formulas for dummy chart series, apply all those hacks and tricks to make the charts effective and visually correct, adjust the labels, apply the design, etc. And do all that 12 times for 12 charts, take care of proper scaling, solve the labelling of categories based on the position of charts within the matrix, ... Huh, just forget about it. It's frustrating.

This time I stumbled upon a twit by Jorge Camoes from ExcelCharts:

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IBCS Compliant Profit & Loss Report

Designing financial reports, dashboards and business presentations

How do your financial reports look? All too often, they fall somewhere between messy spreadsheets and dashboards, full of poorly labelled and inappropriate charts, that simply do not get the message across to the decision-makers.

Messy spreadsheet, inappropriate dashboard

Countless reports and presentations are created throughout organizations on a daily basis, all in different formats, lengths, shapes and colors, depending on preferences of the person who prepares them. The end results are often managers not making their way through the data presented, time being wasted, and important decisions failing to be made.

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How to Choose the Right Business Chart – A 3-step Tutorial

In this article we will explain how to choose the right chart for your data. Or more precisely, for your message.

There are 3 fundamental rules that you should always follow when deciding which chart to use. If you learn these 3 rules, there is a good chance that you will get it right no matter what the context of your data is.


  • #1 Orientation

    Will I display time-related data?

  • #2 Task

    What message do I want to deliver?

  • #3 Shape

    What type of data am I trying to visualize?

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