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That leaves us with a Data tab that looks like this: Now, turn that range of data into a table by selecting the area from A2 to D19 and choosing Insert » Table.Then, click over to the Table Tools / Design group and change the table name from “Table1” to “Main_Data” (this isn’t required, but I always like to give my tables somewhat descriptive names).We want to look at the currently selected Report Period (a named range called Report Period) and find the value for each metric that is in the same row as that report period.That will give us the “Current” value for each metric.Let’s leave the first row alone — this is where we will populate the “current value,” which we’ll get to later.I like to use a simple shading schema to clearly denote which cells will get updated with data and which ones never really need to be touched.
This is a slightly iterative process that starts with the setup of the Data tab.Now we jump over to the Dashboard worksheet and set up a couple of dropdowns — one is the report period selector, and the other is the report range (how many months to include in the chart) selector.Start by setting up some labels with dropdowns (I normally put these off to the side and outside the print range…but that doesn’t sit nice with the screen resolution I like to work with on this blog): Then, set up the dropdowns using Excel data validation: First, the report period.And, in this example, let’s say we’ve got three different metrics that we’re updating: Revenue, Orders, and Web Visits.This approach can be scaled to include dozens of metrics, but three should illustrate the point.It can be a bit of a hassle on the initial setup, but it will pay huge dividends as the report gets updated each day, week, or month. Before we leave this tab, go ahead and select a value in each dropdown — this will make it easier to check the formulas in the next step. We’re going to go back over to the Data worksheet and start setting up some additional named ranges.We’ve got Main_Data, which is the table that includes the full range of data.Click in cell C1, select Data » Data Validation, choose List, and then reference the first column in the Main_Data table (see the “Referencing Tables and Parts of Tables” section in this post for an explanation of the specific syntax used here, including the use of the INDIRECT function): When you click OK, you will have a dropdown in cell C1 that contains all of the available months.This is a critical cell — it’s what we’ll use to select the date we want to key off of for reporting, and it’s what we’ll use to look up the data.Macs are a bit of a crap shoot, unfortunately (but you can always run Parallels, so I hear, and use Excel for Windows! This post describes (and includes a downloadable file of the example) a technique that I’ve used extensively to make short work of updating recurring reports.Here are the criteria I was working against when I initially implemented this approach: .