Excel Dashboard Tips

When you are building an Excel dashboard, be sure to show key information clearly, and highlight important data

Slide Show: Excel Dashboard Tips

Keep these 5 Excel dashboard tips in mind when you work on your next project, to make the data easier to understand. The steps are also shown below.

Highlight key data at top

Know what the dashboard is designed to show

  • What key information should be highlighted?
  • Which numbers are most important?

This dashboard doesn't have a clear focus -- it has several charts, but nothing is highlighted as key information.

no focus in dashboard

Add key data at the top left, to highlight it, and to give focus on the dashboard.

focus in dashboard

Muted colors with a few accents

Use muted colors in the dashboard, and brighter or darker colors to highlight a few key items.

The colors in this dashboard hurt your eyes, and don't help tell the story of what is important.

too many colors in dashboard

The revised dashboard uses muted colors, and stronger colors sparingly, to highlight the key information.

muted colors in dashboard

Clean & simple layout

A dashboard should show a streamlined summary of the key information -- don't try to include everything in a small space.

This dashboard is packed with charts and tables, and as a result, nothing stands out.

crowded dashboard

This dashboard shows the key data, with highlights at the top, and a button to view detailed data, if necessary.

clean layout on dashboard

Clear charts

Keep dashboard charts clear and simple, so they get the information across quickly. Remove background colors, unnecessary gridlines and pictures.

Pie charts rarely work well, and avoid 3-D chart effects, which distort the data.

cluttered charts on dashboard

These bar and column charts use simple color schemes and white backgrounds, so the data stands out, and is easy to read..

clear charts on dashboard

Interactive controls

Add interactive controls on the dashboard, so users can change the focus.

This dashboard has a few charts, and key points at the top, but no way to adjust the view.

no interactive controls on dashboard

Include a few simple controls, such as option buttons, check boxes, scroll bars, drop down lists, and slicers.

interactive controls on dashboard

More Dashboard Resources

Excel Dashboard Course offered by Mynda Treacy from My Online training Hub -- an amazing course that will take you from the beginning steps, up the advance dashboard techniques

Excel Charting Tools by Jon Peltier-- great tools for quickly creating complex charts

Excel Dashboard Template Kit by Charley Kyd at ExcelUser -- everything you need to great a dazzling dashboard

Excel Dashboards and Reports, by Mike Alexander and John Walkenbach -- this book takes you step-by-step through the stages of dashboard planning and design


Note: I am an affiliate for the products mentioned above, and earn a commission on the sales.

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Last updated: August 24, 2016 3:24 PM
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