Learn How to Create a Summary Report in Excel

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Create a Summary Report in Excel from Multiple Worksheets

As a tool by itself, Excel is capable of all sorts of things, from quick calculations to data entry and more. One of the most commonly used features in Excel is reporting, or generating different reports using the application. In fact, many employees in financial roles will create a summary page in Excel from multiple worksheets to provide them with a comprehensive view of their data. 

The thing is, it can be difficult knowing exactly what kind of report you can or should create, how to create it, and how to update or edit it whether you are an Excel wizard or just familiar enough with the program to get by. Either way there are some limitations and pain points when it comes to what you can do with Excel alone. That’s why in the following blog, we are discussing how to create a summary sheet in Excel from multiple worksheets, some of the hassles of using Excel alone, and how our tool XLCubed can help alleviate the pain.

How to Create a Summary Report from Multiple Sheets in Excel

Let’s start with a hypothetical. Pretend you are a Chief Financial Officer at a global pharmaceutical company that sells multiple products around the world. In order to give your quarterly update, you want to combine multiple Excel sheets into one sheet using a VBA macro and run a report that breaks down things like:

  • revenue by product
  • revenue by region
  • revenue over time
  • overall expenses
  • net profit

The list goes on of all the things you might want to review in a custom report, but no matter what, the process of creating the report can be a little tricky. Let’s look at a rough overview of grouping and consolidation tools in Excel and how to create a summary or master sheet.

Tool one is to just create a summary report by copying and sorting data. To do this, you will need to:

  1. Decide what data and spreadsheets you want to pull from.
  2. For your criteria (customer name, geographic region, etc.), select the data you want to copy using the advanced filter under “data.” Since you are creating a summary, you most likely want to check the “unique records only” box. This will ensure that you don’t duplicate a region or customer.
  3. Next, you can select the metrics you want to measure like revenue, sales, cost, etc. To do this effectively, you will need to create name ranges for these metrics, and then use appropriate formulas in Excel to generate the summarized metric. 

An alternative to this approach would be to use a pivot table which looks like this:

  1. Open the data you want to summarize. Then click “insert” and select “pivot table.”
  2. Then, Excel will open a new sheet with that data you have selected.
  3. Once the new sheet is created, you can click into the pivot table and arrange it in rows, columns, values, and filters. Once you have the inputs arranged properly, the pivot table will automatically apply the formulas for you. 

For a more in-depth tutorial on either of these approaches, you can watch this video walkthrough. Despite how simple it may seem now, when it comes to either of these data consolidation examples, there are certain pain points and limitations. Let’s take a look. 

How to make a summary table in Excel

Creating a summary table in Excel is easy. First, open your spreadsheet and highlight the data you wish to include in the summary table. Next, navigate to the “Insert” tab and choose “Table.” In the ensuing “Create Table” window, ensure to tick the box labeled “My Table Has Headers,” then hit “OK.” Your summary table is now generated. Feel free to customize and format it according to your preferences.

Step by step to create a summary table

1. Open your spreadsheet and highlight the data you want to include in your summary table.
2. Click on the “Insert” tab.
3. Select “Table” from the options.
4. In the “Create Table” window, make sure to check the box next to “My Table Has Headers”.
5. Click “OK” to create the table.
6. Your summary table will now be generated.
7. You can then rearrange and format the table as needed to suit your specifications.

Limitations of Microsoft Excel

Some of the drawbacks of Excel reporting will likely sound familiar to you if you spend much time in the application. The good news is that these issues are solvable with additional tools and add-ins (like XLCubed). But before we talk much more about the fixes, let’s cover the common constraints.

  • Excel reporting requires lots of manual input and effort. Not only is this time consuming, but it also opens the door for human error. One missed keystroke and you are potentially jeopardizing your entire report. 
  • Most reports in Excel can’t provide accurate, real-time data. And the ones that can are most likely designed by someone with extremely high expertise in Excel. The reality is that most businesses move faster than their reporting can keep up with.  
  • On their own, Excel spreadsheets don’t enable collaboration. Data can be hard to share, access might be limited, and it can be tough interpreting and using a spreadsheet made by someone else.  
  • A lack of automation and speed means you might have to spend a lot of time inputting data and then wait a long time for Excel to churn out your report. The more data you are trying to summarize, the more Excel gets bogged down.
  • Finally, Excel just isn’t versatile enough. Sure you can run custom reports, and set up certain spreadsheets and format pages until you are relatively satisfied, but ultimately you will always bend to the will of Excel. 

Solution: Use Excel Reporting by Fluence Technologies

If you use Excel, some of these gripes probably seem like a way of life. The good news is that’s no longer the case. With XLCubed, you can ramp up your Excel reporting to suit your needs. In fact, you can leverage your existing Excel skill sets and spreadsheets with the help of XLCubed and unlock new levels of insight and analytics. We’re talking:

  • Using existing data and pulling from multiple sources easily without the need for third parties or IT support
  • Working in the Excel application you are so familiar with, just with XLCubed as an add on
  • Generating any kind of report you need at any time, meaning it will be always be useful as your business grows and evolves
  • Accessing tools you’ve been dreaming of to put an end to tricky work arounds and missing features

With everything XLCubed offers, you can slice and dice your data anyway you like. Unlocking your data is the key to reaching your potential. Find out how Fluence Technologies and XLCubed can help you thrive. Contact us today.

Create a Summary Report in Excel from Multiple Worksheets
Gary Crawford
COO, FluenceXL
Fluence Technologies

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