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Excel Dashboard Tips

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

Excel Dashboards - 5 Quick Tips

This short video shows 5 Quick Tips for Excel Dashboard. Keep these tips in mind when you work on your next project, to make the data easier to understand. The steps are also shown below.

Tip 1) Highlight key data

Know what the dashboard in your Excel workbook is designed to show

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

Dashboard Mistake

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

no focus in dashboard

Dashboard Fix

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

focus in dashboard

Tip 2) Muted colors

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

Dashboard Mistake

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

too many colors in dashboard

Dashboard Fix

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

muted colors in dashboard

Tip 3) Clean & simple layout

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

Dashboard Mistake

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

crowded dashboard

Dashboard Fix

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

clean layout on dashboard

Tip 4) Clear charts

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

Dashboard Mistake

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

cluttered charts on dashboard

Dashboard Fix

These line, 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

Tip 5) Interactive controls

For a dynamic dashboard, add simple interactivity controls on the spreadsheet, so users can change the focus.

Dashboard Mistake

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

no interactive controls on dashboard

Dashboard Fix

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

With those controls, people can sort or filter the dashboard charts and formulas, to focus on specific data

interactive controls on dashboard

More Dashboard Problems

To see a list of problems that people have when building Excel dashboards, go to the Excel Dashboard Problems Survey Results page. It's the results of a dashboard survey that I posted on my Contextures blog, and compiled to share with you.

First, I asked if people build Excel dashboards, and for those who said Yes, the follow up question was "What problems do you have with dashboards?"

Excel dashboard survey results yes no

Video: Show Chart or Data on Dashboard

This will save some space on your dashboards. Select "Chart" or "Chart Data" from a drop down list, to show either a Microsoft Excel chart or the chart's data on your dashboard. There are no macros in the workbook -- this tip uses named ranges and a linked picture.

This video shows you the simple setup steps, and there are written details on the Contextures Blog.

More Dashboard Resources

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

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

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Last updated: October 26, 2022 1:35 PM