Once you've created your interactive dashboards in Excel using my famous PARCS method, you will be tempted to share your Excel workbooks with clients and colleagues. You designed something amazing, and it only makes sense that you would want to share it with the world, right?
Aren't you forgetting something???
Theoretically, if you shared your Excel workbook as is, your clients and colleagues will have access to not only your amazing dashboard, but also the raw data and all of the pivot tables that were used to painstakingly build your dashboard. Do you really want to give them access to all of this? More importantly, aren't you violating FERPA, HIPA and/or IRB rules and regulations by freely sharing the raw data? Ouch!
Here is a step-by-step guide to protect both your dashboard and your Excel workbook:
There are two aspects to protecting your dashboards:
Let's start with the first one: Protecting your workbook structure
Let's do the second one, now: Protecting the integrity of your dashboard
Sometimes, when a user is playing around with the dashboard and slicing and dicing the data to their hearts content, they might encounter two nuisances: one, the "Format Chart Area" side bar might pop up when they click on specific charts; and/or two, they may inadvertently move your charts and figures around on your dashboard. Ugh!
Both of these things have happened to me...and my clients thought that the dashboard was broken or "not working correctly."
Please learn from my mistakes and do the following steps to avoid these mishaps:
***As a bonus, consider fixing your slicers in place. That is, if you want to keep your slicers from moving, you will need check the "Disable resizing and moving" option. To do this, right click on your slicers; select "Size and Properties"; go to "Position and Layout" and make sure that "Disable and resizing and moving" has a checkmark next to it.
Another fully protected dashboard has been born. You're welcome, HIPA, FERPA and IRB boards!
Hi y'all! I'm Shelly Engelman, Ph.D.