Interactive dashboards in Excel provide businesses, professionals, and organizations with powerful insights and visualizations to uncover hidden trends, while presenting data in an actionable format. An interactive dashboard is nothing more than a digital, interactive presentation of multiple data points and relevant analytics, providing quick access to data that enables informed, data-driven decisions.

The most important benefits of constructing an interactive dashboard with Excel are:

  • Provides a single source of truth
  • Integrate multiple data sources
  • Identify correlations and relationships within datasets
  • Real time data analysis
  • Save time & effort

How to Build an Interactive Dashboard with Excel

Excel can be a powerful tool to create data-rich interactive dashboards that not only look great but also help in making sense of complex pieces of data. This tutorial will help you understand the different features of Excel that you can use to create interactive dashboards from collected data.

Use Different Features of Excel

Excel comes with a variety of features that are essential for creating data-rich and interactive dashboards. These features can be used to format and structure the dashboards in an efficient way. Some of these features include:

  • Formatting: Excel contains a variety of formatting options that you can use to make your dashboards more visually appealing and easier to navigate. For example, you can change the color of cells as well as the font size.
  • Formulas: Excel allows you to use different formulas for calculating and displaying data on your dashboards. For example, you can use the SUM formula to quickly calculate the total of a column of numbers.
  • Pivot Tables: Excel's pivot tables are an excellent feature for restructuring and presenting data in a concise and organized manner. Pivot tables allow you to quickly summarize and analyze large sets of data in Excel.
  • Charts: Excel provides a variety of chart types that can be used to visualize your data. Each chart type is designed to present data in different ways, allowing you to easily compare and contrast different datasets.

Understand the Data that is Presented

It is important to have a good understanding of the data that you are working with in order to effectively design and build an interactive dashboard. Analyze the data sets that you have collected and determine what type of information it contains. This will help you to decide the best way to design and structure your dashboard.

Design and Structure the Dashboard

Once you understand the data sets that you plan to use, you can start designing and structuring your dashboard. Think about how you want the different pieces of data to be presented and how users will interact with it. Consider the type and structure of data that you are presenting, and create the most efficient layout for this data. This can be done by utilizing Excel's features such as formatting, formulas, pivot tables, and charts - as discussed earlier.

Different Types of Dashboards that can be Created

Dashboards are a great way to visualize complex data sets and simulate different scenarios quickly. Excel provides tools to create a variety of interactive dashboards, each tailored to specific business scenarios. Let's explore some of the types of dashboards you can create using Excel.

Financial Dashboards

Financial dashboards provide an overview of a company's financial health and performance. These dashboards typically contain a combination of graphical representations, statistical insights, and data tables that track both financial and operational indicators. The dashboard can be set up to include a summary of financial activity, as well as to track cash flow, sales, investments, and other financial performance metrics.

Business Analytics Dashboards

Business Analytics dashboards are designed to provide a comprehensive overview of an organization's operations, including sales numbers, customer activity, employee performance, and shift management. With these dashboards, business owners and managers can track progress and make decisions about operations in an efficient and effective way.

Operations Dashboards

Operations dashboards summarize workforce management, material and supply tracking, and quality control reporting. These dashboards provide an overview of each individual component of the manufacturing process, allowing managers to make better decisions about how to adjust parameters for optimizing production. Operations dashboards can also be used to monitor employee performance and understand which processes need to be improved.

Excel provides powerful tools for creating a variety of interactive dashboards, and with the right data it is possible to create dashboards for each scenario. Dashboards can be tailored to meet any specific needs, creating visual representations and statistical representation of company performance.

Building Reports with Data from Multiple Sources

Creating interactive dashboards in Excel begins with gathering data from multiple sources. By collecting data from online and offline sources, you can stitch together an accurate picture of trends, insights, and overall performance.

Gathering the Data from Multiple Sources

One of the first steps to building an interactive dashboard is gathering relevant data from multiple sources. This data can be obtained from various Microsoft Excel tables, databases, or even external software applications. It’s important to organize the data in a clear way so that when you come to the point of building the interactive dashboard, your data is easy to follow.

Organizing the Data

Organizing the data is another important step. Having the data organized helps speed up the creation of the interactive dashboard. Data can be organized by date, category, region, product, or any other criteria that you choose.

Organizing the data also helps make the data easier to analyze and provides a basis for creating visualizations. To make it even easier, consider using tools such as PowerBI or Tableau to create interactive and dynamic visualizations.

Including Data from Sources Other Than Excel

In the current digital landscape, data is readily available from many different sources. To make a dashboard comprehensive, consider including data from external sources such as web-based services, external databases, or even other software applications. This will give you even more insight into the data and make your dashboard even more interactive.

When it comes to incorporating data from sources other than Excel, it’s important to ensure that the data is stored in a format that is compatible with Excel. Most data sources offer numerous export options in different formats, which can be imported into Excel without too much difficulty.

Tips and Best Practices for Building Interactive Dashboards

Dashboards are used to visualize real-time data and enable more informed decision-making. They enable users to quickly identify insights, opportunities and trends from complex data sets. To create effective dashboards, there are some key tips and best practices one should keep in mind.

Keep the design simple

The key to success when it comes to designing a dashboard is to keep it straightforward, simple and intuitive. Make sure that the design is clear and concise, and does not contain too many elements. Eliminate any extra elements that may add clutter to the page. It’s best to focus on the core elements that are most essential for the purpose of the dashboard.

Pay attention to details

Focus on the details of the dashboard when it comes to how data is presented. Think about how easy it is for users to interpret the data, and make sure the visuals are clearly displayed. Make sure to include descriptions of what each element of the dashboard represents. Finally, ensure that the visuals are easy to interpret and interact with.

Use multiple charts and tables

Using several different types of visuals can help provide more insight into the data. Use different types of charts and tables to clearly display multiple aspects of the data. Additionally, combining different visuals can give users the ability to look at the data from different angles. This way, users can gain a more complete understanding of the data.

Group data in an intelligent way

When dealing with a large volume of data, it can be helpful to group information into smaller chunks. This makes it easier for users to interpret the data, as it provides an organized way to present the information. Group similar data together in an intelligent manner, and use boxes or dividers to separate the different groups.

Display only the relevant information

Including too much or irrelevant information can be distracting and counter-productive. Keep the focus on the data that is most relevant to the dashboard’s purpose. The goal should be to display the information in a clear and concise manner, without any unnecessary elements. Keep in mind that the goal of the dashboard is to present the data in an organized way, and make it easier to interpret.

Enhancing the Responsiveness of a Dashboard

When building interactive dashboards with Excel, it is important to ensure that you make any data updates as quick and easy as possible. This will ensure the dashboard remains responsive to the user’s needs, which is essential for optimum performance and user satisfaction. Here are some tips for enhancing the responsiveness of your dashboard:

Use an Automated System

One way to help ensure the dashboard is responsive is to consider using an automated system when updating data. Automation can take some of the manual tasks out of the process, allowing the dashboard to remain up-to-date with minimal effort. Many automated systems are available, either in-house or as a cloud-based solution. Consider the benefits of automation before committing to a specific system.

Make Data Updates as Quick and Easy as Possible

It is important to ensure data updates are as quick and easy as possible. This means that the data input should be intuitive and efficient, boasting minimal effort from the user. Consider automation to reduce any manual data entry, as well as making sure the data entry field is simple and straight-forward.

In conclusion, with the right approach, Excel dashboards can be hugely beneficial and provide an efficient way of tracking and measuring data. By keeping the dashboard updated with quick and easy data entry, the user can remain engaged and respond to the data with the utmost ease.


Interactive dashboards offer users the power to access real-time insights and data that can be used to drive strategic decisions, create efficiencies, and identify potential areas of improvement. With the power of Microsoft Excel, creating an interactive dashboard is easier than ever before. In this blog post, we have highlighted the process of building an interactive dashboard with Excel, as well as the features and benefits of Microsoft Excel dashboards.

How to Get Started – Step-by-Step

Getting started on an interactive dashboard is simple with Excel. Simply open Excel, select the “Insert” tab, and click “Dashboard” to create a blank dashboard. Then, you can add charts, graphs, and other elements to customize and personalize your dashboard to meet your specific needs.

What Excel Can Offer for Building Interactive Dashboards

When it comes to creating interactive dashboards, Excel provides a range of features and tools, including enhanced data visualization and analysis, seamless integration with other applications, easy customization and personalization of layouts, the ability to access data from multiple sources, and more.

How to Maintain Your Dashboards

Maintaining an interactive dashboard doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult. Regular maintenance should include updating data sources and refreshing data, checking data accuracy, optimizing visual elements, and staying on top of new features and trends.

Final Notes about Dashboard Design

When designing an interactive dashboard, it’s important to consider a few key points. Selecting the right data sources and data types, ensuring the dashboard is customizable and user-friendly, planning for scalability and future needs, and taking data security into consideration can ensure your dashboard is as effective as possible.

Interactive dashboards offer a powerful way to access and analyze data in real-time, streamlining reporting and enabling users to make informed decisions quickly. Knowing how to build and maintain these dashboards is valuable knowledge that can help individuals and organizations in many different ways. With Microsoft Excel, the process is even easier - allowing users to quickly create and customize their own interactive dashboards.

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