Volatile formula in Excel Xlcubed blog header

Warning: Excel Can Get Volatile (revised)

This is a revised version of this post: Warning: Excel can get Volatile

Excel is a great tool for dashboard/report delivery and design (it’s why we created our addin in the first place!), but there is a hidden performance trap:

Offset, Now, Today, Cell, Indirect, Info and Rand

If you’ve ever used any of these formulae, you may have noticed that whenever you change a cell, or collapse/expand a data grouping, Excel recalculates. That is because these are VOLATILE formulae, as soon as you use one of these, Excel will enter a mode where everything is always recalculating, and for good reason.

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Customer Segmentation XLCubed blog header

Customer Segmentation By Revenue Contribution

We recently had a customer asking us for some assistance with a business challenge.

He had been asked to provide a report analysing their customer base by % contribution to company revenue. But that wasn’t all! He also had to produce an additional report that tracked the customers ‘lost’ by the company Year on Year by looking at sales activity.

This approach is also often used when looking at profitability, and many businesses like to classify their customers in this way:

  • group ‘a’ of key customers make up 40% of our company revenue and group ‘b’ make up the next 30%
  • which customers have we ‘lost’ or have become inactive over a period

This is where XLCubed’s capability and flexibility comes into play – we have an advanced selection mode for handling exactly this type of scenario.

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Rolling Forecast Reporting In Excel XLCubed Blog Header

Rolling Actual and Forecast Reporting

It’s a very common requirement in financial reporting to show actual and forecast data by month across the entire year. Often, we are focusing on the expected year end position so we will want to use the actual data where it exists, and the forecast data where it doesn’t so that the year-end total becomes increasingly accurate through the year.

Excel is a flexible environment and people often build that type of report using a mixture of copy-paste and formulas. It achieves the goal but can be a cumbersome process needing quite a bit of manual amendment each month to update it.

The Challenge

When building this type of report the main challenge is normally that Actual and Forecast are two different measures, or members of a ‘scenario’ hierarchy. In most client reporting tools, reporting across multiple months will mean both actuals and forecast showing for every month where both exist, as shown below. In our case if completed actuals exist, that’s all we want to see, and then forecast for the remaining months.

XLCubed Grid in Excel showing Actual and Forecast Data for all months

We want our report to be dynamic so that we are not having to redesign it every time. In a previous blog from some years back, we showed you how to create the report using the “Keep – exclude from display” feature. While that approach still works, there is now a more intuitive way to achieve the same result using “Keep – Keep Members and Create Dynamic Set”

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Workbook format in XLCubed ribbon

Using Grid Styles in XLCubed

This week’s blog is a quick tip on Grid formatting options. Did you know that XLCubed comes with ten pre-formatted grid styles which you can easily switch between?

These are available from the Workbook Format button on the XLCubed ribbon (the option remains greyed out until an XLCubed grid is added).

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A View of Usage Metrics Report

Usage Metrics in XLCubed

With a wide range of reports being accessed and published daily, it is important for administrators and management to be able to keep abreast of their usage. Common questions are:

  • What reports are being published?
  • How many reports have been updated?
  • How long are they taking to open?
  • Who is publishing the reports?
  • Which reports are not being used?

Our latest 9.2.47 release provides an updated version of the Usage Metrics Dashboard for XLCubed Web which gives visibility on the questions above and more.

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Interactive Charts in Excel header

Interactive Charting In Excel and Web

Proper data visualisation is essential for digestible reports and dashboards. Business charting needs to not only portray a true representation of the data, but must also be intuitive and dynamic in its use. Any user should be able to click around or drill into the chart/report to find the view that they need.

XLCubed v9.2 introduced new and improved animated small multiple charts (read more in this blog). They are an excellent solution for displaying single and multiple charts that can be used both in Excel and Web. Here we will showcase some examples of how these can be used!

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Microsoft Azure AD Single Sign on with XLCubed Web

We’ve previously shown how to setup Single sign on for Okta, and with V9.2.41 we have added support for Azure Active Directory. This includes using the “Application Roles” feature to control which Analysis Services role to use for each user/group.

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Optimising Excel Reports For Mobile XLCubed Blog Header

Optimizing Excel Reports on Mobile Devices

Want to view your Excel report on a mobile device? Tired of having to zoom in on your data? Well then look no further, XLCubed has you covered!

With the XLCubed Mobile App, you can take your Excel reports with you. Workbooks published to XLCubed Web can be accessed by other users on any mobile or tablet device. Furthermore, with XLCubed’s dynamic dashboards, you can optimise the display for any size screen. This eliminates unusable cut-off screens, zoomed-out views, and large amounts of scrolling.

Creating a mobile accessible report from an existing Excel spreadsheet is easy to do. Here I will show you how quickly it can be done.

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XLCubed: A Beginner’s Advice

I have been working with XLCubed for approximately two weeks now and when I first started, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had come from a Mathematics background and so had no in-depth technical IT background.

Over the last two weeks, my main priority has been to get to know XLCubed like the back of my hand. At first, I was advised to run through all the XLCubed YouTube Tutorials and I must admit, it was a nice way to start learning this brand-new software. The videos were not complicated and gave a good introduction to all the different features. While watching the videos, I would try and recreate some of the things shown in the video such as grids and slicers, etc. and so was able to get a good feel for the software. However, the videos alone were not enough to get a full grasp of XLCubed and this was where the Partner Packs came in very useful. These are sample reports we provide for our partner network, and the steps to build them are documented.

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