Creating data dashboards or reports with the help of Excel provides users with an efficient and accurate way of synthesizing data for timely decision-making. Excel can be used for a wide range of applications, from developing an effective financial model to formatting a simple report. It also offers a vast scope to display real-time data in an attractive, easy-to-read visual format. Excel is uniquely equipped to handle dashboard design and development due to its powered features, such as advanced visualization capabilities, data archiving, dynamic tracking, and interactivity.

In this article, we will discuss the advantages of using Excel for dashboard design and development, such as:

  • Data Visualization
  • Customizable Reports
  • Flexible Formatting and Organization
  • Data Analysis Tools
  • Real-Time Data Tracking and Analysis

Benefits of Excel in Dashboard Design

Excel is a powerful tool that can help make dashboard design simpler and more efficient. Some of the benefits of using Excel in dashboard design include prototyping, automated processes, ease of visualization, and availability of multiple entrances.


Excel offers users the ability to develop prototypes quickly and with ease. By utilizing formulas and visualization tools, users can quickly create sample data and test the integrity and accuracy of their dashboard prior to deploying it. Excel also makes it easy to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the design process before the dashboard is released.


The coding language of Excel, Visual Basic, supports a wide range of scripting languages, making refined automation possible. With this, dashboard developers can quickly write scripts to automate various processes, such as data extraction and data cleansing. This automation can reduce the amount of time it takes to develop a dashboard, thus helping reduce design and development costs.

Ease of Visualization

Excel is capable of producing powerful and impressive visualizations, making the design process simple and intuitive. There are numerous built-in and customizable chart types, providing users with the ability to create highly informative and attractive dashboards. Also, various databases and spreadsheets can be easily connected with Excel, granting users the ability to quickly access relevant information and present it in an easy-to-comprehend format.

Availability of Multiple Entrances

Dashboard developers can use Excel as an entry point to many systems and data sources. Excel works with all modern databases and can be configured to communicate with a variety of different platforms. This allows dashboard developers to quickly access information and visualize it within their dashboards, creating a unified user experience within the dashboard ecosystem.

Benefits of Excel in Dashboard Development

The powerful capabilities of Excel not only make data analysis and interpretation effortlessly, but also make it a great tool in dashboard development. Excel has greatly revolutionized the way dashboard applications are designed and produced. Here are some of the benefits of utilizing Excel in dashboard development:


Excel is widely available and accessible, which means that almost anyone can utilize it. Excel can be used from basic systems and the environment is simple and uncomplicated, allowing anyone with basic skills to develop and design impressive dashboards. Excel is not only simple but also resourceful, requiring less hardware and software resources than other tools. It also has automatic calculations, a graphics library, and a complex language for spreadsheet manipulation. This makes it easy to write macros, customize functions and create complex reports.

Quick Development

In comparison to other software, Excel is quick and simple to develop. Excel enables developers to use several techniques and tools to create powerful, interactive dashboards in a fraction of the time it would take to do the same process in other programs. The rich features, functions and parameters that Excel has to offer give developers the freedom to express their creative ideas. Additionally, editing in Excel is relatively simple, which allows developers to quickly make changes and update dashboards.


Excel is highly scalable, which makes it flexible and allows developers to design dashboards that can serve different levels of users. This means, it’s possible to develop dashboards with Excel that can be used by individuals who are not very tech savvy, yet be as powerful and sophisticated as dashboards typically used by Data scientists or Developers. Moreover, with Excel’s powerful reporting capabilities, it can also generate complex dashboards with ease.

Reduced Cost

Excel is cost-efficient and does not require expensive hardware or software to develop dashboards. Additionally, the license fees for Excel products are low, making them an affordable option for small businesses and organizations. Excel also saves time and money, as it allows developers to quickly create powerful dashboards that require minimal maintenance. This in turn reduces the cost of dashboard development and helps businesses improve operational efficiency.

Excel Dashboard-specific Features

Excel's powerful software capabilities provide users with many tools that make building and maintaining dashboards easier. Excel offers a number of dashboard-specific features that give users a range of customization options and make it easy to access data quickly and accurately. Below are a few of the features that are specifically designed to help users create and use excel dashboards:

Dashboard-specific Add-ins

Excel provides users with the ability to use dashboard-specific add-ins that make creating and managing dashboards easier. These add-ins allow users to easily create visualizations, add interactivity to the dashboard, and quickly analyze data. For example, using an add-in, users can create a visualization that shows the overall performance of the dashboard and automatically refreshes when the data updates. This saves time and effort by allowing users to focus on adjusting the dashboard without needing to continuously adjust the visualization.

Interactive Elements

Interactive elements are an essential part of any dashboard, as they allow users to quickly move between different visualizations and access the latest data. Excel offers an array of interactive elements that can be used to easily move between visualizations and access data. For example, users can add menu bars, drop-down boxes, and scroll bars to quickly navigate between visualizations and access the necessary data.

Pre-built Themes

Another great feature of Excel dashboards is the ability to apply pre-built themes and colors. This makes it easier and faster to build attractive, professional-looking dashboards. Pre-built themes allow users to quickly apply colors and styles to their visualizations and provide a uniform look and feel. Additionally, Excel themes are customizable and can be adjusted to suit individual user preferences.

Challenges of Dashboard Design and Development Using Excel

Excel is powerful and popular, however, the use of Excels in the design and development of dashboards present some challenges that need to be considered before embarking on the project. These can include complexity, unreliability and lack of security.


Dashboard design can be complex when using Excel as an engineering tool. Users sometimes struggle to comprehend the different functions required to create their dashboard. In some cases, this can lead to data manipulation errors or formatting inconsistencies, which can be solved with some form of additional guidance. The inherent complexity of Excel can also make it difficult to visualize large data sets and ensure accuracy throughout the dashboard's design.


Excel does not have a full suite of features or comprehensive support for dashboard design, making it potentially unreliable for serious dashboard design projects. This is especially true as Excel may not always give accurate or up-to-date information and in some cases, may require manual intervention for data to be accurately conveyed.

Lack of Security

The inherent lack of data protection in Excel also raises some security concerns. Excel can be prone to data compromises, which can render a dashboard ineffective, with any confidential information exposed to all users. Additionally, it isn't always cost-effective to back up data in Excel, creating additional risk.

Key Takeaways

Using Excel in dashboard design and development brings with it a great deal of advantages, such as cost-savings and ease of use. However, there are also some challenges associated with it, such as a lack of customization options and lack of scalability. In this article, we have looked at some of the benefits and challenges of using Excel for dashboard design and development, so that you can decide whether it is suitable for your project.

Benefits of using Excel for dashboard design and development

Using Excel for dashboard design and development offers several advantages. First, Excel is a widely used tool, so it is easy to find support and resources. Second, it is an inexpensive solution compared to using dedicated dashboard software. Third, Excel is a flexible tool, allowing users to customize their dashboards to suit their needs. Finally, Excel is easy to use, allowing users to quickly and easily create custom dashboards.

Challenges of using Excel for dashboard design and development

Although Excel has a number of advantages, there are also some challenges associated with its use for dashboard design and development. For example, Excel lacks options for customizing dashboards, meaning that users may have to build their dashboards from scratch. Additionally, Excel is not a scalable tool, and it may not be able to handle large datasets. Finally, Excel can be difficult to learn and use, so users may need to invest a significant amount of time and effort to become proficient.


Microsoft Excel is an incredible asset for designing, developing, and analyzing data for companies of all sizes in nearly any industry. Through its wide range of functionalities, Excel enables users to easily create interactive and visually appealing dashboards.

In this blog post, we have discussed the various advantages of Excel that make it a great choice for dashboard design and development. We discussed how Excel makes user interaction easier by allowing instant filtering and sorting options, how it facilitates data visualization through a variety of graphs and charts, and how it enables users to access, manage, and update Excel data from an array of external sources.

We trust that by now you have an understanding of the powerful capabilities of Excel for dashboard design and development, and are capable of deciding which program works best for your needs. We hope you take into consideration the advantages that Excel offers and consider utilizing these capabilities for your own analysis.

Suggest Additional Research

If you would like to learn more about Excel, continue your research into the expansive capabilities of Excel with topics such as:

  • Advanced formulas
  • Excel macros and VBA
  • External Data Sources
  • Power Query
  • Using Power Pivot and Power BI
  • Data modelling and visualizations

Encourage Readers to Take Action

If you’re interested in gaining the skills needed to take advantage of Excel’s versatile capabilities, begin exploring resources such as expertly-developed Power BI and Excel courses. Additionally, attend webinars and conferences related to analytics and Excel, in order to stay up to date with best practices and new trends.

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