Beautifying Excel #2

I have created an application which outputs it's information into
Excel so the client can manipulate the information easily. However,
they've moved the goalposts a bit and now want it to 'look cool'.

I usually work with websites so that usually wouldn't be a problem.
However, could anyone point me in the direction of any resources on
making Excel ... erm ... sexy! I appreciate that I can probably change
the fonts and colours, maybe include graphs and images here and there,
but I wondered if there were any galleries anywhere of good examples.
Specifically he wants an interface to filter the information and
things.

To be honest, I like my spreadsheets simple and elegant. Most of the
attempts I've seen at jazzing up excel end in the creation of some
real munters.

Thanks
0
11/4/2008 11:05:51 AM
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"Astley Le Jasper" <Astley.lejasper@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:3faca6fb-6d3d-42d6-899c-1fca57093522@w24g2000prd.googlegroups.com...
>
> To be honest, I like my spreadsheets simple and elegant. Most of the
> attempts I've seen at jazzing up excel end in the creation of some
> real munters.

Exactly! Sexing it up usually means obscuring the information, so keep it 
simple. 


0
BobNGs (423)
11/4/2008 12:58:43 PM
Astley,

I don't necessarily agree with Bob.  Visualization is a powerful tool and 
can help your client to adopt a process more easily if its people find the 
technology easier to use and understand.  I suggest you look at Business 
Objects Crystal Xcelsius.  Look at the samples that they show and understand 
that for the most part, an Excel spreadsheet is driving the dashboard.  You 
can find Crystal Xcelsius at the following URL: 
http://www.businessobjects.com/product/catalog/xcelsius/.

John
Accelare


"Astley Le Jasper" wrote:

> I have created an application which outputs it's information into
> Excel so the client can manipulate the information easily. However,
> they've moved the goalposts a bit and now want it to 'look cool'.
> 
> I usually work with websites so that usually wouldn't be a problem.
> However, could anyone point me in the direction of any resources on
> making Excel ... erm ... sexy! I appreciate that I can probably change
> the fonts and colours, maybe include graphs and images here and there,
> but I wondered if there were any galleries anywhere of good examples.
> Specifically he wants an interface to filter the information and
> things.
> 
> To be honest, I like my spreadsheets simple and elegant. Most of the
> attempts I've seen at jazzing up excel end in the creation of some
> real munters.
> 
> Thanks
> 
0
Utf
11/4/2008 2:56:00 PM
I didn't say don't do visualization, I said keep it simple.

Unfortunately, I think Crystal Excelsius is prime example of what is so 
prevalently bad in the field of visualization, too many widgets, ill-thought 
out dashboards, and a predominance of style over content. To quote Stephen 
Few ... these solutions ( Crystal Excelsius competition) illustrate the 
theme that has dominated most BI data visualization ...: anaemically 
presented data, tainted with distracting visual nonsense.' Couldn't have 
said it better myself.

Unfortunately, too many people, and you seem to be amongst them, confuse the 
technology with the objective. The technology should serve the objective, 
not be the raison d'�tre in itself.


-- 
__________________________________
HTH

Bob

"John H." <John H.@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message 
news:BCA660DB-7238-48FC-BE84-6ABC521975C5@microsoft.com...
> Astley,
>
> I don't necessarily agree with Bob.  Visualization is a powerful tool and
> can help your client to adopt a process more easily if its people find the
> technology easier to use and understand.  I suggest you look at Business
> Objects Crystal Xcelsius.  Look at the samples that they show and 
> understand
> that for the most part, an Excel spreadsheet is driving the dashboard. 
> You
> can find Crystal Xcelsius at the following URL:
> http://www.businessobjects.com/product/catalog/xcelsius/.
>
> John
> Accelare
>
>
> "Astley Le Jasper" wrote:
>
>> I have created an application which outputs it's information into
>> Excel so the client can manipulate the information easily. However,
>> they've moved the goalposts a bit and now want it to 'look cool'.
>>
>> I usually work with websites so that usually wouldn't be a problem.
>> However, could anyone point me in the direction of any resources on
>> making Excel ... erm ... sexy! I appreciate that I can probably change
>> the fonts and colours, maybe include graphs and images here and there,
>> but I wondered if there were any galleries anywhere of good examples.
>> Specifically he wants an interface to filter the information and
>> things.
>>
>> To be honest, I like my spreadsheets simple and elegant. Most of the
>> attempts I've seen at jazzing up excel end in the creation of some
>> real munters.
>>
>> Thanks
>> 


0
BobNGs (423)
11/4/2008 5:54:39 PM
On Nov 4, 6:54=A0pm, "Bob Phillips" <Bob...@somewhere.com> wrote:
> I didn't say don't do visualization, I said keep it simple.
>
> Unfortunately, I think Crystal Excelsius is prime example of what is so
> prevalently bad in the field of visualization, too many widgets, ill-thou=
ght
> out dashboards, and a predominance of style over content. To quote Stephe=
n
> Few ... these solutions ( Crystal Excelsius competition) illustrate the
> theme that has dominated most BI data visualization ...: anaemically
> presented data, tainted with distracting visual nonsense.' Couldn't have
> said it better myself.
>
> Unfortunately, too many people, and you seem to be amongst them, confuse =
the
> technology with the objective. The technology should serve the objective,
> not be the raison d' tre in itself.
>
> --
> __________________________________
> HTH
>
> Bob
>
> "John H." <John H...@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in messagenews:BCA6=
60DB-7238-48FC-BE84-6ABC521975C5@microsoft.com...
>
> > Astley,
>
> > I don't necessarily agree with Bob. =A0Visualization is a powerful tool=
 and
> > can help your client to adopt a process more easily if its people find =
the
> > technology easier to use and understand. =A0I suggest you look at Busin=
ess
> > Objects Crystal Xcelsius. =A0Look at the samples that they show and
> > understand
> > that for the most part, an Excel spreadsheet is driving the dashboard.
> > You
> > can find Crystal Xcelsius at the following URL:
> >http://www.businessobjects.com/product/catalog/xcelsius/.
>
> > John
> > Accelare
>
> > "Astley Le Jasper" wrote:
>
> >> I have created an application which outputs it's information into
> >> Excel so the client can manipulate the information easily. However,
> >> they've moved the goalposts a bit and now want it to 'look cool'.
>
> >> I usually work with websites so that usually wouldn't be a problem.
> >> However, could anyone point me in the direction of any resources on
> >> making Excel ... erm ... sexy! I appreciate that I can probably change
> >> the fonts and colours, maybe include graphs and images here and there,
> >> but I wondered if there were any galleries anywhere of good examples.
> >> Specifically he wants an interface to filter the information and
> >> things.
>
> >> To be honest, I like my spreadsheets simple and elegant. Most of the
> >> attempts I've seen at jazzing up excel end in the creation of some
> >> real munters.
>
> >> Thanks

Hi,

Thanks for the comments. I'd agree that when used appropriately
visualisation tools can be incredibly powerful. But often people want
visuals without actually knowing why. However, I've managed to find
that there are a number of style examples with Excel 2007 that have
given me some ideas. I can probably brand the spreadsheet and use some
suitable styles to give them something a little extra without actually
getting in the way of the information. If they then decide after
actually using the data that they need further analysis, then perhaps
it would be appropriate to look again at visualisation tools.

I like the Business Objects examples by the way.

Thanks

ALJ
0
11/4/2008 8:51:13 PM
In article <b97977d3-c987-430b-bb51-6928d3985311@r15g2000prh.googlegroups.com>, Astley Le Jasper <Astley.lejasper@gmail.com> wrote:
(snip)
>Thanks for the comments. I'd agree that when used appropriately
>visualisation tools can be incredibly powerful. But often people want
>visuals without actually knowing why. 

Yes, visualisation can be powerful ... but adding it to 'look cool' is the 
worst possible reason to do so and almost invariably, decreases the power. 
:)
There are some excellent books on visualising data out there - suggest this 
one as a starting point :
The visual display of quantitative information / Tufte, Edward R  (2001) 
 
Other books by this author are also excellent. 

As an aside and to encourage controversy, pie charts are an abomination and 
should never be used - too much 'non data ink'. :) :)
 
 
(snip)
0
11/5/2008 12:35:17 AM
"Bruce Sinclair" <bruce.sinclair@NOSPAMORELSEagresearch.NOTco.NOTnz> wrote 
in message news:geqm7l$1qo$1@aioe.org...
> In article 
> <b97977d3-c987-430b-bb51-6928d3985311@r15g2000prh.googlegroups.com>, 
> Astley Le Jasper <Astley.lejasper@gmail.com> wrote:
> (snip)
>>Thanks for the comments. I'd agree that when used appropriately
>>visualisation tools can be incredibly powerful. But often people want
>>visuals without actually knowing why.
>
> Yes, visualisation can be powerful ... but adding it to 'look cool' is the
> worst possible reason to do so and almost invariably, decreases the power.
> :)
> There are some excellent books on visualising data out there - suggest 
> this
> one as a starting point :
> The visual display of quantitative information / Tufte, Edward R  (2001)


Agree on all points.


> Other books by this author are also excellent.
>
> As an aside and to encourage controversy, pie charts are an abomination 
> and
> should never be used - too much 'non data ink'. :) :)


Double agree. And 3D charts are totally misleading. And have you seen those 
cone charts in Excel 2007, what are they all about? 


0
BobNGs (423)
11/5/2008 8:07:06 AM
In article <#TkuJ2xPJHA.5076@TK2MSFTNGP02.phx.gbl>, "Bob Phillips" <BobNGs@somewhere.com> wrote:
>"Bruce Sinclair" <bruce.sinclair@NOSPAMORELSEagresearch.NOTco.NOTnz> wrote 
>in message news:geqm7l$1qo$1@aioe.org...
>> In article 
>> <b97977d3-c987-430b-bb51-6928d3985311@r15g2000prh.googlegroups.com>, 
>> Astley Le Jasper <Astley.lejasper@gmail.com> wrote:
>> (snip)
>>>Thanks for the comments. I'd agree that when used appropriately
>>>visualisation tools can be incredibly powerful. But often people want
>>>visuals without actually knowing why.
>>
>> Yes, visualisation can be powerful ... but adding it to 'look cool' is the
>> worst possible reason to do so and almost invariably, decreases the power.
>> :)
>> There are some excellent books on visualising data out there - suggest 
>> this
>> one as a starting point :
>> The visual display of quantitative information / Tufte, Edward R  (2001)

>Agree on all points.
>> Other books by this author are also excellent.
>>
>> As an aside and to encourage controversy, pie charts are an abomination 
>> and
>> should never be used - too much 'non data ink'. :) :)
>Double agree. And 3D charts are totally misleading. And have you seen those 
>cone charts in Excel 2007, what are they all about? 

There's a wonderful example of a very "pretty" chart in the tufte book 
mentioned above (I think ?). It's a map of Israel, with some data 
(population or some kind of demographic I think) shown as pie charts with 
quite a lot of segments. The worst part is, some of those pie chart segments 
then have other pie charts attached to them ! There is no way anyone can get 
anything useful out of it. But it looks gorgeous. :) :)

I have explored very few of the chart types in XL, as the only one that 
works for 'real data' ( :) ) is the XY scatter. That is (or was) the only 
one that allowed different spacings between Xs ... and worse ... all the 
other types made the X spacings the same and never said anything about it !!
I noticed when a straight line plotted as a curve in a bar chart ... and it 
was only after considerable confusion for a while that the reason became 
clear. That was a "high bugger index" day ... and a classic reason why 
visual is not always a good idea. Leson learned. :)


0
11/6/2008 12:39:14 AM
Reply:

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