Author Archives: Best STL

National Rail Strike – Latest News

UPDATE – 21 May 16:40

Planned industrial action has been suspended

Good news, the planned strike has been called off!

Many thanks to all our customers and staff for the support in ensuring we were prepared to deliver all our planned events!

Good news training team, you don’t have to spend Monday night in a hotel. ;-) enjoy your long weekend.



Industrial action due to affect National Rail services on Monday 25 & Tuesday 26 May 2015

The RMT have announced that Network Rail workers are to stage a 24-hour national rail strike from 5pm on bank holiday Monday in a dispute over pay.

As with any potential disruption to our training schedule, we are taking additional measures to ensure all our courses run on the day affected (Tuesday 26th May). Whilst there is a possibility that the strike may be averted we will assume it is going to happen.

Our commitment – courses never cancelled

Again we are committed to running all our planned courses. In the last 10 years we’ve only had 27 out of 12,364 courses disrupted!  As you can see it is a rare event and we are confident that our training delivery will not be disrupted with this latest rail strike.

As we have done in the past, should the worst happen, we will reschedule the course with delegates agreement and offer a free course.

Your options:

  • Come along as planned safe in the knowledge we will be prepared
  • If you face travel disruption, you can reschedule your course, please see options here.

It is our understanding that should the strike go ahead provision will be made by Network Rail for rail ticket refunds, please see links below.

Useful resources:

Our status page

Latest national rail strike information from Network Rail

Network Rail status page

follow #IndustrialAction

BBC – Network Rail workers vote to strike…

Excel Dashboard

Creating an Excel Dashboard – Election Special Video

What is an Excel Dashboard?

Dashboards are essentially reports in Excel that help you visualise and analyse complex pieces of data.

In the following video we look at an example Excel dashboard to guide us through the mind boggling data being produced by the current UK general election.

A further look at Excel Dashboards

Why use dashboards?

We can store a huge amount of data in Excel but it is not very easy in a large worksheet to quickly get the information we need. This is where an Excel Dashboard can be a very efficient and time  saving option.  Once a dashboard is created in the right way it can be easily amended.

the whole dashboard2

Top 5 reasons for Dashboards

We need dashboards to:

  • Visualise data
  • Spot patterns and trends
  • Improve appearances
  • Make the numbers more digestible
  • Provide interactive selective reporting

How should an Excel dashboard be created?

Before creating a dashboard, you need to spend some time planning. What is the objective and who is your audience? Make sure that your audience can get the information they need from your dashboard.

Ask yourself: “What do I need to track in the dashboard”? Try to get a clear picture of what you are trying to accomplish.

When creating a dashboard, think about how the dashboard will be viewed to make it meaningful for your audience. Some may need a clean, compact dashboard with simple visualizations. Others may want to be able to use more complicated tools and more sophisticated visualizations to dig deeper into the source data.

Dashboards should always be created in a way that data can be added or removed from the source data without time consuming updating of ranges, functions and other Excel tools used in the Dashboard.

Interactivity is an important part of a dashboard.

excel dashboard

By adding interactivity such as drop down lists the dashboard can be very dynamic and feed us with even more useful information.

Excel has many statistical tools which can supply us with important information in  the dashboard such as trend analysis, forecasting, rank, correlation, average and much more.


KPI’s are another very useful ingredients in a dashboard to visualize the performance.


Additional Resources

As you can see creating an Excel dashboard is really a combination of Excel skillsets. These include pivot tables, chart creation, filtering data, lookups and plenty more.

The following resources can help you on your way to creating Excel dashboards.

What is a Pivot Table?

Excel 2013: 3 New Ways To Customise Your Charts

Excel Dashboards 1 day training course

Create a drop-down list in Excel