Summarize Data With Excel Dashboard Templates

Summarize your data with Excel dashboard templates. Show charts and tables to highlight key factors. Save time with dashboard kits or online training


Some of your Excel projects need a dashboard. Those projects have lots of data -- too much to absorb by reading through it. Perhaps there are several years of sales data, or thousands of survey results. Even if you make charts, people might still have trouble wading through the sheets, looking for the data and charts that they need.

To make things easier to understand, you can create an Excel dashboard. The Excel dashboard can show a few key numbers, small charts to summarize the data, and formatting to highlight the good and bad results.

For example, here's a small section of an Excel dashboard that shows key revenue numbers, with a chart of the data. At a glance, the person reading your Excel dashboard can see how things are going, without sifting through years of data.

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Link to Key Data

To pull key numbers to the Excel dashboard, you can use links. For example, you have total amounts at the top of a worksheet named SalesData.

On the Excel dashboard, you can use an IF formula, to show each total, or leave the cell empty if there's no total on the SalesData sheet.

In this example, the formula in cell D4 is:


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Label the Key Data

If you pull key numbers to the Excel dashboard, it's important to label all the data clearly. You can manually enter a label in the cell next to a key number. Or, if the source sheet has clear, concise labels, you can use formulas to link to those labels.

Add Simple Charts

On an Excel dashboard, the objective is to make the data easy to understand. So, when you add charts, keep the charts simple. Show one set of numbers per chart, such as total quarterly sales for the previous 5 quarters.

Use a simple line chart, with only the key features, and minimal formatting. These two charts have a single line, numbers on the Y axis, and quarters on the X axis. There's nothing else to distract the reader, and the message is clear in each chart.

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Make the Charts Small

Because the charts on the Excel dashboard are so clear and simple, you can reduce their size. In the sample charts shown above, the information is easy to understand, even though the charts are only about an inch wide.

With small charts, clearly labelled and titled, you can arrange many charts on the Excel dashboard, without overwhelming the reader.

Highlight Good News and Bad News

With conditional formatting, you can use colour to highlight numbers on the Excel dashboard that are well below or above average.

For example, you could highlight a cell if it contains an amount greater than 5000:

  1. Select the cell that you want to highlight
  2. On the Ribbon, click the Home tab, then click Conditional Formatting
  3. Click Highlight Cells Rules, then click Greater Than.

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This will open a dialog box, where you can set the minimum amount (5000 in this example), and select the formatting that will highlight the cell. You could format the cell with a bright red fill colour if it's over the set amount.

Excel Dashboard Resources

Free Excel Dashboard Webinar by Mynda Treacy

A few times each year, Mynda Treacy, from My Online Training Hub, presents a free webinar on creating Excel Dashboards. Click the image below, to get the registration details, and attend the free session.

Free Excel Dashboard Webinar

More Dashboard Resources

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

Excel Charting Tools by Jon Peltier-- this Excel add-in has tools for quickly creating complex charts


Dashboard Problems Survey Results

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Last updated: October 26, 2022 1:38 PM