Excel Tutorial: How To Prepare Dashboard In Excel


Are you seeking to level up your data visualization skills and create impactful reports for your business? Look no further than Excel! In this tutorial, we will delve into the world of dashboard creation in Excel, a critical tool for visualizing and analyzing data. Whether you're a business professional, analyst, or student, learning how to prepare a dashboard in Excel can enhance your data presentation skills and improve decision-making processes.

Key Takeaways

  • Creating impactful reports and dashboards in Excel can enhance data presentation skills and improve decision-making processes.
  • Organizing and formatting data correctly is essential before creating a dashboard in Excel.
  • Choosing the right charts and graphs is crucial for effectively visualizing different types of data.
  • A visually appealing and user-friendly dashboard layout is important for clear data presentation.
  • Adding interactive elements and using formulas and functions can enhance the functionality and automation of the dashboard.

Setting up the Data

Before creating a dashboard in Excel, it is crucial to organize and format the data properly. A well-structured data set will ensure that the dashboard functions smoothly and efficiently, providing accurate and meaningful insights.

A. Discuss the importance of organizing data before creating a dashboard

Organizing the data is vital as it allows for easier analysis and interpretation. When the data is well-structured, it becomes easier to identify trends, patterns, and outliers, which are essential for creating an effective dashboard. Additionally, organized data enhances the overall aesthetic and functionality of the dashboard.

B. Provide step-by-step instructions for setting up and formatting the data in Excel

To set up and format the data in Excel, follow these steps:

Step 1: Define the Data Structure

  • Identify the data that will be used in the dashboard
  • Determine the metrics, dimensions, and any additional data that will be needed

Step 2: Clean the Data

  • Remove any unnecessary or duplicate data
  • Check for errors and inconsistencies, such as misspelled words or incorrect values
  • Format the data appropriately, such as converting text to numbers or dates

Step 3: Organize the Data

  • Create a separate tab or sheet for the dashboard data
  • Arrange the data in a logical and easy-to-understand format
  • Use headers and labels to clearly identify each data point

By following these steps to set up and format the data in Excel, you can ensure that your dashboard will be built on a solid foundation, allowing for accurate analysis and effective visualization of the data.

Choosing the Right Charts and Graphs

When creating a dashboard in Excel, choosing the right charts and graphs is crucial for effectively visualizing your data. Understanding the different types of charts and graphs available in Excel, as well as when to use each type, is essential for creating a comprehensive and easy-to-understand dashboard.

A. Explain the different types of charts and graphs available in Excel

Excel offers a wide range of charts and graphs to choose from, including bar charts, line graphs, pie charts, scatter plots, and more. Each type of chart or graph has its own unique strengths and is suitable for different types of data.

B. Provide guidance on selecting the most appropriate chart or graph for different types of data

When deciding which chart or graph to use, consider the type of data you are working with. For example, if you want to compare values across different categories, a bar chart or a column chart would be suitable. On the other hand, if you want to show the relationship between two variables, a scatter plot may be more appropriate.

Factors to consider when selecting the right chart or graph:

  • The nature of the data (categorical, numerical, time-series, etc.)
  • The message you want to convey (comparison, distribution, trend, etc.)
  • The amount of data points and complexity of the analysis

By considering these factors, you can choose the most suitable chart or graph to effectively communicate your data in the dashboard. This will ensure that your audience can easily interpret and understand the insights you want to convey.

Creating the Dashboard Layout

When preparing a dashboard in Excel, one of the key aspects to focus on is the layout. A well-organized and visually appealing layout not only enhances the overall user experience but also makes it easier for the audience to interpret the data. Here are some important points to consider when creating the dashboard layout:

A. Discuss the importance of a visually appealing and user-friendly dashboard layout

First impressions matter, and the same holds true for dashboards. A visually appealing layout can make a significant impact on the audience, making the data more engaging and easier to comprehend. A user-friendly layout ensures that the audience can navigate through the dashboard effortlessly, finding the information they need without any confusion.

B. Provide tips for arranging and formatting the elements of the dashboard
  • Consistent Formatting: Maintain uniformity in formatting elements such as fonts, colors, and sizes to create a cohesive look for the dashboard.
  • Clear Hierarchy: Arrange the elements in a logical order, with the most important information prominently displayed while less critical data is positioned accordingly.
  • Whitespace Utilization: Use whitespace effectively to prevent overcrowding and improve readability. Adequate spacing between elements can make the dashboard look cleaner and more organized.
  • Visual Balance: Distribute the elements evenly across the dashboard to achieve a sense of visual balance, preventing any part from appearing overloaded or neglected.
  • Interactive Elements: Incorporate interactive features, such as clickable buttons or dropdown menus, to enhance the user experience and provide control over the displayed data.

Adding Interactive Elements

Interactive elements are essential for creating a dynamic and user-friendly dashboard in Excel. They allow users to easily navigate through the data and customize their viewing experience. Additionally, interactive elements can make the dashboard more visually appealing and engaging.

A. Explain the benefits of adding interactive elements to a dashboard

Interactive elements provide several benefits to a dashboard, including:

  • Improved user experience: Interactive elements make it easier for users to analyze the data and find the information they need.
  • Increased flexibility: Users can customize their viewing experience by selecting specific data or adjusting the layout of the dashboard.
  • Enhanced visual appeal: Interactive elements can make the dashboard more engaging and visually appealing, leading to better user engagement.

B. Provide instructions for adding features like drop-down menus, buttons, and linked elements

Drop-down menus

Drop-down menus can be added to a dashboard to allow users to select specific data or filter the displayed information. To add a drop-down menu, follow these steps:

  • Select the cell where you want to add the drop-down menu.
  • Go to the 'Data' tab and click on 'Data Validation'.
  • In the 'Allow' dropdown, select 'List'.
  • Enter the options for the drop-down menu in the 'Source' field.


Buttons can be used to trigger specific actions or calculations within the dashboard. To add a button, follow these steps:

  • Go to the 'Developer' tab and click on 'Insert'.
  • Click on the 'Button' control and drag to draw the button on the worksheet.
  • Assign a macro to the button to define the action it will perform.

Linked elements

Linked elements allow users to navigate to different parts of the dashboard or external sources. To create linked elements, follow these steps:

  • Select the element (text, image, or shape) that you want to link.
  • Right-click and select 'Hyperlink'.
  • Enter the address or select the cell reference for the destination of the link.

Using Formulas and Functions

One of the key aspects of creating a dashboard in Excel is the use of formulas and functions to automate data analysis and visualization. By leveraging these tools, you can save time and ensure accuracy in your dashboard reporting.

A. Discuss the use of formulas and functions to automate data analysis on the dashboard

Formulas and functions in Excel allow you to perform complex calculations and manipulate data to generate the insights needed for your dashboard. Whether it's calculating averages, identifying trends, or performing conditional formatting, formulas and functions are essential for automating data analysis.

B. Provide examples of common formulas and functions used in dashboard creation


The SUM function is widely used to add up a range of cells, which is useful for calculating totals or subtotals in your dashboard. The IF function, on the other hand, allows you to apply conditional logic to your data, enabling you to display specific results based on certain criteria.


The VLOOKUP function is commonly used to search for a value in a specific column of a table and return a corresponding value from another column. This is particularly useful for dashboard reporting, as it allows you to dynamically retrieve data for display based on user input or other variables.


These are basic statistical functions that allow you to calculate the average, maximum, and minimum values of a range of data. These functions are essential for providing key summary statistics in your dashboard, giving users a quick snapshot of the data at hand.

By incorporating these and other formulas and functions into your dashboard, you can streamline the data analysis process and ensure that your reporting is both accurate and efficient.


In conclusion, we have discussed the step-by-step process of creating a dashboard in Excel. We learned how to organize and format data, create pivot tables and charts, and design a visually appealing dashboard using various Excel tools and features.

I encourage all readers to practice what they have learned and create their own dashboards in Excel. The hands-on experience will not only reinforce the concepts but also help develop a deeper understanding of data visualization in Excel.

Excel Dashboard

ONLY $99

    Immediate Download

    MAC & PC Compatible

    Free Email Support

Related aticles