Excel video walk-through: Icon sets

Add some graphic flair to your spreadsheets with this quick and easy spreadsheet tip.
By Jeff Drew

Accountants and other proficient producers (and perusers) of Excel spreadsheets know how dreadfully gray they can be. Even if you use well-crafted tables and different colors for different types of numbers (e.g., green for revenue exceeding target, red for revenue falling short), it’s difficult to quickly pick out the most relevant information in a large worksheet.

One quick and simple way to help the data stand out is to use icon sets, which is an Excel feature that visually depicts types of data circumstances such as budget variances. What do icon sets look like and how do they work? Find out in the short walk-through video above from Kelly Williams, CPA, Ph.D., co-author of the JofA’s Technology Q&A column and an assistant professor of accounting in the Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University.

If you would like to follow along with the video, you can download this Excel file and go to the worksheet labeled “Icon Sets.” Note that the instructions in the video are based on Microsoft Excel 365 for PCs. Other versions of Excel may have slightly different steps.

This video originally was posted as part of the Technology Q&A item “2 Simple Ways to Visualize Data” in the January JofA.

Jeff Drew (Jeff.Drew@aicpa-cima.com) is a JofA senior editor.

SPONSORED REPORT

Get your clients ready for tax season

Upon its enactment in March, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) introduced many new tax changes, some of which retroactively affected 2020 returns. Making the right moves now can help you mitigate any surprises heading into 2022.

100th ANNIVERSARY

Black CPA Centennial, 1921–2021

With 2021 marking the 100th anniversary of the first Black licensed CPA in the United States, a yearlong campaign kicked off to recognize the nation’s Black CPAs and encourage greater progress in diversity, inclusion, and equity in the CPA profession.