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How to Master Reporting & Overview in Excel

How to Master Reporting & Overview in Excel

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you work in HR, you know how important it is to stay organized and keep track of all your data. Whether you’re managing employee information, tracking performance metrics, or analyzing data from surveys and feedback, Excel is an essential tool for managing and reporting on all of this information. It’s like an HR’s superhero cape — effortlessly organizing chaos and saving the day, one spreadsheet at a time.

On the flip side, however, it can also be quite overwhelming — especially if you’re not familiar with all of its features. In this article, we’ll share 3 ways to master reporting and overview in Excel, so you can stay organized, save time, and get the insights you need to make informed decisions. So without further ado, keep reading to learn more!

3 Ways to Master Reporting and Overview in Excel

Use Pivot Tables to Summarize Data

One of the most powerful features in Excel for summarizing and analyzing large amounts of data is PivotTables. Pivot tables allow you to quickly summarize data from multiple sources and display it in a compact and easy-to-read format.

To create a Pivot Table, first, go to the “Insert” tab and click “Pivot Table”. Then, select the data you want to analyze. Choose where you want to place the Pivot Table, and then drag and drop the fields you want to analyze into the “Rows” and “Values” sections.

How to Master Reporting & Overview in Excel

For example, if you want to analyze leave activity by department, drag the “Department” field into the “Rows” section. Excel will then evaluate the leaves taken across each department, giving you a quick overview of how each department performs in terms of leave activity.

Pivot Tables also allow you to easily filter, sort, and group data to customize your analysis to meet your specific needs and for reporting and overview purposes. Once you’ve created a Pivot Table, you can update it with new data as needed, and Excel will automatically recalculate the summary information. 

Create Charts and Graphs for Visual Representation

Sometimes, it’s easier to understand data when it’s presented visually. 

Excel has a wide range of chart and graph options that allow you to create visual representations of your data that are easy to understand and interpret.

To create a chart or graph, select the data you want to visualize, and then go to the “Insert” tab and choose the type of chart or graph you want to create. Excel will then generate a chart or graph based on the selected data.

How to Master Reporting & Overview in Excel

For example, if you want to visualize the number of leaves taken per week, you could create a bar chart with the “Department” field on the x-axis and the “Leaves Taken” field on the y-axis. This would give you a quick overview of departmental leave activity over a specific time period.

Excel also allows you to customize your charts and graphs, so you can change colors, labels, and other elements to make them more visually appealing, on-brand, and informative. Once you’ve created your chart or graph, you can easily update it with new data as needed on a timely basis. Easy peasy.

Use Conditional Formatting to Highlight Important Data

Conditional formatting is a powerful tool in Excel that allows you to highlight important information in your data based on certain pre-selected criteria. For example, you could use conditional formatting to highlight employees who haven’t yet used up their leaves or who are at risk of burnout.

To use conditional formatting, select the data you want to format, and then go to the “Home” tab and click “Conditional Formatting”. Choose the type of formatting you want to apply, such as color scales, data bars, or icon sets, and then set the criteria for when the formatting should be applied.

How to Master Reporting & Overview in Excel

For example, you could use a red color scale to highlight employees who have used leave quotas below a certain threshold, and a green color scale to highlight employees who have exceeded these limits. This would allow you to quickly identify which employees need additional support or recognition when it comes to PTO.

How to Master Reporting & Overview in Excel

Conditional formatting is also dynamic, which means that it will automatically update as you enter new data or change existing data. This can save you a lot of time and ensure that your reports are always up-to-date and accurate. Long story short, it’s one less thing for you to worry about!

Another useful application of conditional formatting is identifying outliers or anomalies in your data. Let’s say you could use conditional formatting to highlight sales figures that are significantly higher or lower than the average or to flag data points that fall outside of a certain range. This can help you identify trends or issues that may require further investigation.

In addition to these three techniques, there are many other ways you can use Excel to master reporting and overview in HR. 

More things to keep in mind

Here are a few additional tips to consider when reporting and doing overviews in Excel:

  • Use named ranges to make your data easier to work with. Naming ranges can make it easier to refer to specific cells or groups of cells in your formulas, pivot tables, and charts.
  • Set data validation to ensure data accuracy. You can set rules for what types of data can be entered into specific cells, which can help prevent errors and inconsistencies.
  • Make use of Excel’s built-in functions to automate calculations. Excel has hundreds of built-in functions that can perform complex calculations and analyses with just a few clicks.
  • Run macros to automate repetitive tasks. Macros are scripts that automate repetitive tasks, such as formatting data or generating reports. They can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
  • Add Excel add-ins to extend its capabilities. Excel add-ins are third-party tools that can enhance Excel’s functionality, such as by providing new chart types, data analysis tools, or data visualization options.

By using these techniques and tips, you can become a master of reporting and overview in Excel, and use this powerful tool to manage your HR data more effectively. With the ability to create pivot tables, charts, and graphs, use conditional formatting, and automate tasks with macros and add-ins, you can streamline your workflow, save time, and get the insights you need to make informed decisions.

There’s got to be a better way…

Does all this manual work sound tedious, time-consuming, and repetitive? You’re not wrong, because it sure is. With Vacation Tracker, you can automate this process in just a few seconds. Then, relax as we do all the work for you. 

Curious to see how? Keep reading.

Managing your reporting in Vacation Tracker

Scheduled Reports

Admins on the Complete Plan can easily schedule reports for each existing export type as listed in the Reports section. To prepare your reports, simply follow these steps:

From your online dashboard, please go to Settings and select Reports. Please choose Scheduled Reports. 

How to Master Reporting & Overview in Excel

First, click New Report. You will then be asked to configure the settings for the report you’d like to receive. please enter the name of the report you’d like to be sent. After that, enter the following:

  • Select the Report Type from the dropdown menu
  • Choose the Location and Department for your report. Depending on the Report Type, you will be asked to select the Reporting Period.
  • Pick an appropriate time zone for your delivery. You can then set up the delivery preferences to send the report at your preferred time.
  • Lastly, select a time for the report to be sent and enter the recipient’s email addresses. Our system will indicate a brief summary of when we will send the next report.

Finally, select the Schedule Report button, and you’re all set! You can also choose the Send Now button to receive the report immediately! No manual fuss, no back-and-forth — just a streamlined workflow that is automated forever.


Furthermore, Administrators can also take a look at Wallchart to get a quick overview of their company’s leave activity with just a glimpse.

How to Master Reporting & Overview in Excel

Employee Team Leave Calendar

But wait — it doesn’t end there. Vacation Tracker also has a built-in team leave calendar that gives another quick overview of all leave activity. All this information can also be filtered by Locations, Departments, Labels, or a mix of all 3 to get information right at your fingertips!

P.S. Here’s the cherry on top — you can also sync your leave activity with your personal calendar to have access to synchronized leave data at all times. How cool is that?

How to Master Reporting & Overview in Excel

I hope our tips helped make tracking leaves in your organization even easier. If you have any additional questions about automating your workflow, please let us know at hello@vacationtracker.io — we’re always here to help! 

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