In this formatting Trick we will learn how to make a custom map with Flickering icons (as shown below). In this dashboard the default icon starts flickering as the dashboard loads and if the user clicks on some other icon that icon starts flickering.

This formatting trick shows a very good use of alerts in icons. I know others have used this trick too but not very sure how they have done it.Ofcourse you can use these icons for other purposes also.
You can play with the dashboard below

The most important thing to understand here is that you need to have something that changes continuously to have such an effect (Flickering). So to get this effect we have used the play selector component. These are the steps to be followed.
1. 1) To start we need 7 icons (as I have 7 continents here). Place the icons on the canvas and do the following changes to the Properties

a) First in the General tab: Put Display Value for Icon-1 as D5, Icon-2 as E5 and so on..Icon-7 gets J5. (So 5th row from D to J)

b) Put the Source Data for Icon-1 as ‘1’ (both Checked and un-Checked), Source Data for Icon-2 as ‘2’ (both Checked and un-Checked) and so on .. so Icon-7 Gets Source Data as ‘7’ (both Checked and un-Checked).In the picture below you can see the properties of the 4th icon. From the image you can see that Source Data is 4 (both Checked and un-Checked).

c) Put the Destination Cell for All Icons as Cell D8 (Remember All the icons have to have the same Destination).so for example Icon-5 is clicked then D8 will have a value 5 and if Icon-6 is clicked then D8 will be 6.

d) In Cells D3 to J3 put numbers 1 to 7 indicating the number of the Icon. Why we do it I’ll explain later.
e) In Behavior Tab go to Animation and Effects and Check Enable sound Check box ( if you don’t need the sound uncheck it )

f) In Appearance > Layout uncheck ‘Show on/off’ check box. And in Appearance>Text uncheck ‘Display Value’ Check Box.

g) In Alerts check ‘Enable Alerts’ then Click on ‘By Value’ Radio button. Uncheck ‘Use a Range’ if it is checked. Then in the Box below enter ‘0’ and click on ‘Add’. When you click on ‘add’ you will notice an extra row has been added to the ‘From’ –‘To’ part. Delete the last two rows by clicking on the crosses next to it (as shown in the picture.). Uncheck the Enable Auto Colors box.

h) You can add a color to ‘NO DATA’ Row which can be similar to the first row. Also add contrasting colors so that we can see it changing. So if everything is done correctly your Properties window should look like this.
2. 2)Next we come to the Play selector component.
a) First we make two columns M13:M24 and N13:N24 where the ‘M13 to M24’ cells have alternate “-1” and “1” whereas ‘N13 to N24’ has only “1” in all the cells.
Now we come to the most important part of this trick. We make a table from D13 to J24. We have to write an ‘IF’ condition such that whichever icon is clicked the row corresponding to that icon in the table D13:J24 will have alternate ‘-1’ and ‘1’.For example if Icon-3 is clicked then the cell D8=3(because all icons have destination as D8 point 1C ) then the cells from F13 to F24 should have alternate -1 and 1. Thus we put the following formula in each of the cells. So in cell F13 we put this “=IF($D$8=F$3,$M13,$N13)” (F3 is from Point !d). Similarly we just drag this formula both sides. So the cell D13 would have “=IF($D$8=D$3,$M13,$N13)” and so on.In the image below D8 ahs value '2' thus cells E:13 to E:24 have alternate '-1' and '1'.

b) Select insertion type as ‘ROW’ in properties general tab, give the source data as D13 to J24 and the destination as D5 to J5 (which are also the display for the icons).

c) Go to Behavior Tab>Common and check auto play.
So after everything the sheet will look like.

3. 3)Then we simply import a World Maps Picture using the image component, remember i am not using the map component i am using using the image component, arrange icons on it and do some aesthetic changes. Click preview and we are done.

  1. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - July 16, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    Very good demo. I think you forgot to add"A" for a play component. Very well explained thought. Hope to see more!

  2. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - October 5, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    I don't understand why I'm getting all 1 on all the cells (e.g. E:13 to E:24). What is the formula in cell F14?

  3. gravatar

    # by Analyst - October 12, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    The formula in F14 is '=IF($D$8=F$3,$M14,$N14)'. Mail me at analysisreporting.blogspot.com@gmail.com . I'll send over the dashboard to you.

  4. gravatar

    # by Dr. Carlos Sánchez Calixto - October 15, 2010 at 1:10 AM

    Hi i find this very useful, but unfortunately I can’t get it to work, could you send me the dashboard???

  5. gravatar

    # by Analyst - October 25, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    Can you send a test mail to analysisreporting.blogspot.com@gmail.com, I was not able to figure out your Email Id.

  6. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - December 22, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    hello there! (: i am a student learning to use xcelsius, can send me you xlf file to me? (: Thanks alot! Really hope to learn something from your file.

  7. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - February 5, 2011 at 5:35 AM

    I cannot get mine to work either. I got lost at b) Select insertion type as ‘ROW’ in properties general tab, give the source data as D13 to J24 and the destination as D5 to J5 (which are also the display for the icons).

    Please send me the file as well...thank you!

  8. gravatar

    # by Analyst - February 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Sent the XLF file to all, let me know if you face any issues.
    @Kwon-your email id isn't correct.


  9. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - April 2, 2011 at 5:18 AM

    I am trying to follow the step-by-step but unfortunately I am lost in this step:

    "b) Select insertion type as ‘ROW’ in properties general tab, give the source data as D13 to J24 and the destination as D5 to J5 (which are also the display for the icons)."

    what is the component to be set for the above property?

  10. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - April 9, 2011 at 4:25 AM

    Very good demo.


  11. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - April 26, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    The terms 'row' and 'column' are mixed up in many places. Otherwise, nice idea!

  12. gravatar

    # by dwi - May 10, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Hi I am a newbie in xcelsius, i have tried to follow the tutorial but got lost at step :

    b) Select insertion type as ‘ROW’ in properties general tab, give the source data as D13 to J24 and the destination as D5 to J5 (which are also the display for the icons).

    so, could you please share the xlf file to my email on dwi_v@hotmail.com
    Thank you. Really appreaciate it :D

  13. gravatar

    # by dwi - May 12, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Hi i got it, u meant play selector component right?
    Thanks, it's a great tutorial

  14. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - August 17, 2012 at 8:58 PM


    I love the dashboards you have here. Can you please send the dashboard file with the flickering icons? My address is klutz0301@gmail.com. Thanks!

  15. gravatar

    # by Steven Henein - September 26, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    Hi I'm really interested in how you were able to create the icon to pie chart drill down like you did in the flickering Icon tutorial. Can you please show me how to do that?

    Thank you so much!


  16. gravatar

    # by Steven Henein - September 26, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    can you please send me the file as well. Steven.henein@gmail.com

    Thank you so much

  17. gravatar

    # by gzofera - November 21, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Can you please send me the file as well. gzofera@gmail.com

    Thank you

  18. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - March 1, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Please can i also have the xlf?


    Thank you

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