In today’s blog post I’m going to focus on one of the new features in Excel Services in SharePoint 2013. It’s a feature that makes it really easy for business users to quickly create dashboards that the end-user can interact with without having to spend too much time on designing the dashboard and making it user friendly.
To use the new feature you have to start with an Excel document that contains a number of charts (decoupled or connected to a pivot table). In order for the functionality to work these charts have to be connected to a set of slicers. When you are ready you might end up with an Excel document that looks something like this:
In this case I have an Excel document with three sheets containing a number of different charts and a couple of slicers connected to them. In the back-end these charts are connected to a cube in Analysis Services. Let’s say I don’t have more time to create a fancy dashboard from this document, but I still want to make it possible for my colleagues to use my analysis and interact with it. The new functionality of Excel Services provides just that!
Before I publish the Excel document to SharePoint I have to make sure that I make a selection that only items within the workbook should be published. I do this by clicking on the “Browser View Options” button and select which charts I want to make available for analysis.
That’s it! When I go to the document library that holds my Excel document and click on it Excel Services will open it up in the browser. However, it will not show the document as it looked in Excel. This is where the new functionality will kick in. Since I choose to only make specific chart items available Excel Services will create an interactive “dashboard” that makes it easy for anyone to interact with the charts. This is what my sample above will look like:
I can easily change which chart I want to interact with by clicking on it to the right. Also, I can change what filters (slicers) that should be applied by using the filter panel to the left of the chart. Furthermore, I can even enable the full pivot table functionality to add new measure and dimensions to my charts or pivot tables, like seen in the screenshot below:
All of this is available in the browser. One more thing that is worth pointing out is that this user interface is very mobile friendly. It works as perfect on my iPad as it does on the computer browser.
My conclusion is that this can be a very handy functionality for self-service users wanting to make charts and pivot tables available for basic analysis really quick without having to create a new dashboard from scratch.