Dashboarding Fun – Display Smileys in your excel dashboards

Posted on August 7th, 2008 in Charts and Graphs , Learn Excel - 10 comments

dashboard-fun-smiley-symbol-excelDashboards are daily staple for some of us who need to report status to our bosses, present them in weekly meetings or generally CC half the world with what is up on our end.

There are several ways in which you can spice up the dashboard, one of the simple things to do is, to replace the standard Red, Green & Amber with Smileys :( :| :) Just follow these 3 simple steps add smileys to your dashboard.

  • First create a dashboard as usual

    Of course, this is what you do everyday, so move on to next one

  • Add a column to display smiley symbols

    The standard spreadsheet fonts like Arial, Verdana or Comic Sans (ahem) do not have smiley symbols as characters. You need to change the font to “Wingdings” (just select the cells, hit ctrl+shit+f to change the font), in this font, the characters JKL stand for :) :| :( respectively.

    Thus, in order to show smileys in the new column you can write a simple if formula like =IF(target < sales,"J",IF(target > sales,"L","K"))

  • Finally, add conditional formatting to change the smiley color

    Select the smiley cells, and launch conditional formatting dialog to specify conditions to change the color of cell contents. For eg. red when sales < target, blue when sales > target and gray otherwise as shown below:

    excel-dashboard-conditional-formatting

So go ahead, wow someone with a smiley dashboard.

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Written by Chandoo
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10 Responses to “Dashboarding Fun – Display Smileys in your excel dashboards”

  1. Jon Peltier says:

    Display smileys? Yeah, you don’t want anyone thinking your dashboard is serious or anything.

  2. Chandoo says:

    Hmm.. I guess smileys have traveled alot to become mainstream, these days I see them pretty much everywhere, agree that all those wink, sleep, dance, rofls may be silly, but the basic smile, sad are so common that often I had to backspace them in much more formal mails, documents. :)

  3. Sam Krysiak says:

    I use these all the time! A simple graphic makes it very easy to compare performance figures in large lists.

    In response to Jon’s comment, regular arrow placeholders work well for dashboards intended for a more conservative audience; see http://chandoo.org/wp/2006/09/05/3-steps-to-create-cool-dashboards-in-excel/

  4. Tony says:

    I’m with Jon on this one. It doesn’t seem too professional to have smileys on a business dashboard. I would prefer the arrows.

  5. cam balkon says:

    thank you for sharing

  6. Hui... says:

    Hey Chandoo
    There a spelling mistake in the 3rd line of the “Add a column to display smiley symbols” section above “Ctrl+Shi..”
    Only took 16 months to pickup

  7. Chris says:

    Thanks for the useful information

  8. [...] Dashboarding Fun – Display Smileys in your excel dashboards |Add a column to display smiley symbols … Display smileys? Yeah, you don’t want anyone thinking your dashboard is serious or anything. … I guess smileys have traveled alot to become mainstream, these days I see them pretty much everywhere, agree that all those wink, sleep, dance, rofls may be silly, but the basic smile, [...]

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