How To Make Reports in Excel: Steps, Uses and Tips

Updated March 10, 2023

Microsoft Excel is a beneficial tool for recording and tracking many processes, including in finance and marketing analysis. When you have multiple data sources you want to track in a spreadsheet, creating a report can help you organize and review data more effectively. Additionally, you can create reports using different methods, depending on your purpose for using the application. In this article, we discuss how to make reports in Excel, what you can use them for and what to consider when using the program to create reports.

Related: Best Excel Formulas and How To Use Them

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How to make reports in Excel

The following approaches show how you can create a report in Microsoft Excel, using several methods:

1. Display data in charts

One method to create a report is to display your data in a graph or chart. Excel has several types of charts you can set up in your spreadsheet, including line graphs, pie charts and tables. To create a visual report using graphs, use the following steps:

  1. Enter the data into the sheet using the "Insert" option in the program toolbar.

  2. After the data is in the sheet, find the "Select data" option to choose the information you want to display. This gives you a basic chart display, but you can change the chart design to a different style.

  3. Select the style of graph you want for your report from the "Chart design" tool in the menu.

2. Create a pivot table to organize data

A pivot table in Excel creates a table of summarized values from large sets of data. If you have an extensive amount of data to aggregate into informational reports, you can create a pivot table to make this information more accessible. Create your report using PivotTables by following these steps:

  1. Under the "Insert" option, select "PivotTable" in the menu.

  2. Select the range and location of the data you want to include in the table.

  3. Enter the labels for the reference and values fields of the new table and arrange it in your sheet.

  4. Choose the calculation you want the table to measure from the data, such as the average or maximum and minimum, and update the pivot table.

As you update the various data connecting to the pivot table, the chart also updates to display the information according to your parameters.

Read more: How To Create a Pivot Table in Excel

3. Separate the data types of your reports

With large data, consider separating numerical data values from visual and text information. Excel allows you to create multiple sheets within a workbook and multiple pages within a sheet. This means you can visualize data in charts and graphs on one sheet, tabular data on another and any text values on a different sheet. Using this method when creating reports in Excel is beneficial for organizing and monitoring changes in data more effectively.

4. Add page headers

To print or export, reports need to have page headers. Use the steps below to insert headers and prepare reports for printing and exporting:

  1. Navigate to the menu and select "Insert." From here, choose "Text," then "Header and footer."

  2. Enter the name of your report in the related field and format the text according to your preferences, like large or bold text.

  3. Repeat this process for each of the pages you want to include in the printed report.

  4. If you want to omit certain sheets from your report, right-click on the corresponding tabs and select "Hide."

5. Format and print reports

When printing your report, you can change the layout so you're able to fit it to the printer paper. The following steps show how to format and print Excel reports:

  1. For visual data in graphs, charts or pivot tables, change the page to "Landscape" orientation under the print settings.

  2. Choose the option that allows you to fit all your report columns on a single page.

  3. Click "OK" to print the workbook as individual pages.

  4. If you're sending your reports through email, save the document as a .pdf file for compatible delivery.

Related: How To Make a Gantt Chart in Excel in 4 Simple Steps

What are Excel reports used for?

Microsoft Excel provides a range of tools for organizing and evaluating various data. Excel reports make up one program feature that can be useful for applications in different fields, including:

Finance and accounting

Excel reports are often applicable to financial documentation and analysis. The report feature gives finance professionals the ability to create visual representations of critical data companies rely on to make important decisions. For instance, accounting professionals and bookkeepers can use Excel reports to track and evaluate various metrics, including budgets, incomes and expenses.

Sales and marketing

Sales metrics like conversion rates, customer satisfaction, sales transactions and inventories are several factors professionals in this industry may include in an Excel report. For instance, the graphing function can show changes in customer purchases over time so sales teams can report on the performance of current practices. In marketing, Excel is applicable to creating reports for activities like campaign progress, budget analysis, market analysis and strategy performance can be common uses of the program.

Human resources

Reports in Excel are also useful for documenting hiring practices and analytics in businesses. Managers can enter information regarding current processes, including application numbers, interview invites and successful hires. Reports are also applicable to measuring growth rates among staff members within different departments of a company. This range of documentation tools Excel features is often helpful for organizing and monitoring onboarding and employee metrics, too.

Related: How To Include Excel Skills on Your Resume

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Tips for creating Excel reports

Consider the following tips to maximize your use of Excel's report features:

  • Combine reports on a dashboard. If you have multiple reports you want to track on one page, create a dashboard to display the most important aspects of the reports.

  • Use timelines or interactive elements. Timelines and infographics or layered charts can provide additional approaches to including relevant and current topics of interest in a dashboard report.

  • Create backups of your data reports. As you update information in your documents, create backup files that you can use in the event you lose data or report documentation.

  • Use formatting tools when arranging data. When entering or importing data into Excel, use tools to clean data and wrap elements within the cells of your sheet.

  • Delete blank rows for more accuracy. Eliminate blank rows and empty cells to increase the accuracy of your data analysis and reporting, which can otherwise affect the calculations excel makes when summarizing information.

  • Include column headers when charting data. Include the column headers in the text fields as you select the range of data you're documenting in your report.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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