Review of the new KydSeries Microsoft Excel Add-in
from Charley Kyd
Yesterday, I received a copy of two new "impossible" Excel Add-ins KydSeries and KydAxes from Charley Kyd. He is one of the most well known Excel Gurus on earth. His books and Add-ins are well known and appreciated by all Excel experts. The two new Add-ins will be released this week and I had the chance to test them in advance. I love to write a short review about the two Add-ins and show you some things they can do for you.
Some years ago I bought Charley's Excel Dashboard Kit. I was a totally Excel Newbie. I knew thinks like sorting, conditional formatting and some other easy stuff. But the dashboard kit turned my unknowing into great skills, so much so that I created dashboards for CEOs in big companies, started to connect data Warehouses with Excel and so on. Today, I use the dashboard techniques for all kind of data, which passes over my desk. And the "WOW-Effect" is always there, when I present my data to others. That's why I really recommend this kit to everyone. If I could learn this as a total noob, you can do it too. You can find some information about this dashboard kit here.
But as I said, I received the two new add-ins yesterday and I was excited, to know if they would be as easy as the dashboard kit and if Charley would be able to top himself. After a fast and easy installation, here is what I found out in a short space of time.
Video of new Kyd Series Addin
The KydSeries Excel Chart Add-in
The KydSeries Add-in includes a 110 page manual, a lot of functions and faction (I will explain faction below), 24 sample workbooks and two bonus packages KydLabels and KydColors. This is quite a lot to learn you might think and, yes it is. But it is like, you know one, you know them all. All functions and factions are built the same way. As it is for the dashboard kit, Charley explains everything step by step, so you never loose track of where you are. If you cannot figure out how it has been done, you can have a look at the 24 sample workbooks.
Charley calls the formulas in his Add-in "factions" it is a combination of "function" and "action". A function just returns a value, but does not do any action. His "factions" do both.
If I had to explain, what the Add-in does in one sentence I would say: You can do an extended, dynamic formatting of a chart with just a formula.
Every Excel user knows this; it is a catastrophe to format nice charts in Excel. They always change formatting style after updating data, you cannot format the axes as you want and you cannot highlight specific data you want your reader to notice. With this easy Add-in all these issues are resolved. Now it is possible to have access to every part of your chart through "factions" and have dynamic color changes based on your data.
Let me give you some examples, to get an idea how this works:
Traffic lights Charts in Excel:
I am a great fan of traffic lights in reports. Why? They are fast to read and point the reader's eye to the data I want him to notice.
Below there is a KPI chart, generated with factions. As you can see the colors of the dots change depending of the data value. So 0 until 39% red, 40% until 59% blue and 60% until 100% green. I could easily change the dots into squares and resize them as I like. This is just done through factions, no editing with Excel is needed.
The same style can be applied to any line chart. It is possible to show a trend at the end of the line. Based on the data, it will turn red or green. For color blindness people you can change the thickness of the line as well. It will be easy for managers read through reports, by just noticing the good and bad news.
3d dimensions in 2d charts
If you are doing category management and you want to show the development of your categories in one chart, you always miss one data. You want to show, the development e.g. Sales by time. But on the other hand you want to show the most successful categories as well. With this Add-in you have the opportunity to easily add a third dimension.
As you can see below, there is a chart with ranks (1. dimension), time (2.dimension) and sales volume in form of square size (3. dimension). So the hats are shrinking this days while ties are not just number one, their performance is also increasing.
This is information I couldn't have ever shown before, but they are valuable to identify leading categories.
There are two other nice options I'd like to show you. If you are working in a marketing department you may launch some campaigns over the year. Now you receive the data of your sales. It would be perfect to show the dates of your campaigns and the data of the sales in one chart. Below is a chart showing exactly this issue:
The last thing I want to show you are stock charts. As you might know, stock charts are very uncomfortable in Excel. If you want to show high low and close value you are very limited in standard Excel. The KydSeries Add-in supports a new feature for coloring the different values, and do alert, if a specific value has been achieved, so it is very obvious to see the development.
There are lot of more things you can do with this Add-in, this is just a short summary of things I find most important.
Who should buy the KydSeries Add-in?
The KydSeries Add-in costs $67. It is not expensive for the value it brings with it. If you are creating many standard reports, which do not differ in style and layout you will love this Add-in. Once you have setup your charts you will never have touch them again. It just runs through dynamically. It is really great. If you have fun playing around with some factions and make the impossible happen, then you should consider buying this Add-in. You won't regret it.
Who should not buy the KydSeries Add-in?
If you are expecting a chart wizard like the standard Excel chart creator with some nice new features and extensions, you will be disappointed. This Add-in will work with "factions" you have to learn. You have to dig into it. It is not rocket science, so you can learn it easily. But if you create just a few charts per year and you hate working with functions, you will not be happy with this Add-in. Leave it and use the standard charts in Excel, even if you will never get the maximum benefit out of charting.
Summary of KydSeries Add-in
I like this add-in and I will use it, because the combination of this Excel Add-in with dashboard reporting Kyd provides a perfect way of showing data. A way which everybody understands. Even our Managers will be more enthusiastic than they have been with our standard dashboard reports.