A dashboard is a reporting tool that displays business data in a visual format, allowing users to quickly identify trends and key performance indicators. Excel dashboards provide business users with an effective way of analyzing and visualizing data for critical decision making.

This post provides an overview of different Excel dashboard strategies, so you’ll know how to get the most out of the data and create an informative, actionable, and visually appealing dashboard.

Overview of Different Excel Dashboard Strategies

  • Data Visualization
  • Dashboard Layouts
  • Choosing the Right Excel Elements
  • Ensuring Data Accuracy

Benefits of Using Excel Dashboards

Excel dashboards are a popular data analysis and visualization tool. They allow organizations to combine graphs and tables on one screen in order to provide a comprehensive data display. They offer numerous advantages, enabling users to easily access, customize and communicate data.

Easily Accessible

Excel dashboards are easy to access and can be used by people with a basic understanding of the program. In addition, users can save dashboard the dashboard to their desktop and access the information whenever it is needed. This allows organizations to quickly and easily interpret the data and make timely decisions.

Comprehensive Data Display

Excel dashboards provide a visual display of data, including charts and graphs. They allow users to identify trends, spot outliers and draw meaningful conclusions from the data. This helps to streamline the data analysis process and can provide organizations with strategic insights.

Opportunity for Customization

Excel dashboards offer the opportunity for customization. Users can add comments, change colors, add annotations and adjust other visual elements on the dashboard. This allows organizations to better suit the dashboard to their needs and display data in a way that is best suited to their goals. Additionally, users can easily track changes to the data over a specific timeline.

  • Easily Accessible
  • Comprehensive Data Display
  • Opportunity for Customization

Creating Excel Dashboards

Excel dashboards provide a graphical overview of the most relevant business data. They enable users to go beyond tracking only single metrics and keep track of multiple metrics at once, offering insights and valuable business understanding. If you are ready to build your own dashboards, here are several strategies and techniques to help you along the way:

Choosing a Data Source

The first step in creating an Excel dashboard is to choose an appropriate data source. While the data can come from any spreadsheet, consider consulting data warehouses and other resources in order to collect a more complete set of data. Additionally, think of using external data sources like websites, databases, and other external sources as you build your dashboard to ensure you are getting the most complete data possible.

Utilizing Excel Tools

Once you’ve gathered your data from a trusted source, it’s time to start leveraging Excel’s build-in functions and features to create your dashboard. As the saying goes, “keeping it simple” applies here. Try to use simple arithmetic, logic, and functions like VLOOKUP, COUNTIF, and SUMIF to build basic calculations. Additionally, make sure to use features like Conditional Formatting, Pivot Tables, and Tabular Formatting to bring your data together in a consumable way.

Incorporating VBA Coding

Adding more complex calculations and processes requires automation. Visual Basic for Applications (or VBA) is a programming language built into Excel which is perfect for creating customized solutions. It is a relatively simple language and there are many tutorials available online. Employing VBA can simplify tedious tasks and can set up functions and processes to make working with complex data easier.

Establishing Charts and Reports

The last step in building your Excel dashboard is to establish charts and reports. By setting up charts and reports you can show the important information in a visual way that is easy to understand. Consider adding in slicers to allow for easier data filtering, and incorporate dynamic charts to allow users to control their level of detail. You can also utilize features like 3D Maps and Power View to add another layer of depth to the visual aspect of your dashboard.

Creating an Excel dashboard is a valuable tool for businesses to view their data and gain insights into their operations. By utilizing strategies like choosing an appropriate data source, leveraging built-in Excel tools, incorporating VBA coding, and establishing charts and reports, you can ensure that your Excel dashboard can provide the most relevancy and insight into your operations.

Advanced Excel Dashboard Strategies

Utilizing External Data

Organizing and creating a dashboard that effectively presents data can be a challenging task. Utilizing external data is one strategy to consider when creating an Excel dashboard. This strategy consists of connecting multiple data sources found both in and out of the organization. By bringing all of the relevant data into a single Excel dashboard, decision makers can quickly access the information they need and quickly analyze the results. The key to combining multiple data sources successfully is understanding what is available, who has access to it, and how it can be connected to the existing dashboard.

Creating Dashboard Reports

Dashboard reports provide a snapshot of key metrics and can play an important role in helping to meet business objectives. In Excel, dashboards are created by combining multiple sheets with informative visualizations, such as charts, tables, and graphs. To ensure the dashboard accurately reflects the data, establish meaningful and accurate relationships between the sheets. Additionally, when creating dashboard reports in Excel, use best practices and structures that can easily be understood by decision makers.

Setting Up Advanced Filters

Advanced filters are a useful tool in Excel dashboards. They allow users to quickly filter and sort data to a specific criteria. This can be useful when creating dashboards with large amounts of data sets. Advanced filters allow decision makers to quickly locate and analyze the data they need without having to go through each and every data set manually. To set up an advanced filter, select the specific criteria from the filtering options available.

Utilizing Data Validation

Data validation provides a quick and accurate way to analyze data in Excel. It helps to reduce errors, verify data integrity and consistency, and reduce manual input and manipulation. With data validation, decision makers can quickly analyze a data set by checking such things as critical limits, pricing, and total values. This strategy creates a more efficient data set and dashboard, ultimately leading to better insights and decision-making.

Excel Dashboard Best Practices

When analyzing reports, data must always be accurate, up-to-date, and relevant. To ensure this accuracy, following some Excel dashboard best practices is essential. Here are some tips on how to best make use of different Excel dashboard strategies:

Ensure Data is Accurate

Having accurate data is essential for creating a successful Excel dashboard. Without accurate data, trends, insights and other details cannot be accurately identified. To ensure accuracy, consider only using data from approved sources, making sure to double-check fields for accuracy and monitoring incoming data for any changes.

Consolidate Data

For an Excel dashboard to be useful, data should be as consolidated as possible. Having too much data can be overwhelming and hard to interpret. Data consolidation involves aggregating data, removing redundant information and combining disparate fields into one unified format. This can help reduce visual clutter, improve the readability of charts and give a more holistic view of the data.

Use Relevant Visualizations

When creating an Excel dashboard, it’s important to select visualizations that are informative and relevant. Each visualization should tell a story, draw attention to trends and explain insights. To ensure that visualizations are effective, use logical layout, labels and color to make complex data easier to digest and interrogate.

Create Easily Actionable Results

The Excel dashboard should be designed to help users take the needed action. The dashboard should present clear and actionable results, quickly allowing users to identify key action items. Try including features such as highlighting insights, enabling drill down into details, automating report distribution and creating links to other dashboards and data sources.

Excel Dashboards in Action

Excel dashboards have truly become indispensable tools for data visualization and business performance analysis in the 21st century. In this section, we will look at some of the most powerful examples of how Excel dashboards can be used to deliver actionable insights.

Example - Sales Performance Report

A sales performance report is an essential dashboarding tool that lets marketers quickly review the progress of a company's sales operations. Dashboard tools such as sparklines, color-coding, pie charts, and line graphs can be used to visualize complex data and display key performance indicators at a glance. The dashboard can be used to track sales goals, identify target markets, and monitor sales performance against pre-defined objectives.

Example - Employee Data Analysis

In addition to sales performance analysis, Excel dashboards can also be used to create employee data analysis reports. These reports can offer insights into employee performance over time, showing areas for improvement as well as successes that can be highlighted for recognition. Additionally, such dashboards can be used to identify areas of strength in a team, as well as areas where additional training or coaching may be necessary.

Example - Website Performance Visualization

Finally, an Excel dashboard can be used to visualize and track the performance of a website. Website dashboards often combine analytics data with other forms of visual information, such as heat maps or geographic viewership data, to create an interactive experience that allows webmasters and marketing professionals to get an overview of their website's performance in real time.


Managing data and making strategic decisions to foster business success can be challenging, but Excel dashboard strategies can make it easier. As we’ve seen, there are many different strategies, from creating interactive dashboards to integrating ‘what if’ analyses with data visualization, to help businesses make sense of the data presented in a spreadsheet.

Summarize the Different Excel Strategies

The main strategies covered include creating interactive dashboards, managing data, creating dynamic ‘what if’ analyses, and data visualization. The interactive dashboards make it easier to manage data and explore different data sets. They can also be used to create dynamic ‘what if’ analyses to identify trends, track performance, and make strategic decisions. Data visualization provides insight into data and helps to identify patterns in data.

Describe Benefits of Excel Dashboards

Excel dashboards are valuable tools for businesses to manage large amounts of data, make informed decisions, and track performance. They can help businesses make informed decisions on how to best allocate resources and track performance over time. The ability to customize the dashboard to fit the unique needs of the business allows organizations to capitalize on their specific strengths.

Provide Tips for Best Practices

  • Always keep performance and efficiency in mind when creating an Excel dashboard.
  • Make sure the Excel dashboard captures the most important data points.
  • Prioritize actions that produce the highest ROI.
  • Test out different strategies to find what works best for the organization.
  • Ensure data accuracy to get the most accurate results.

With these best practices in mind, Excel dashboards provide a valuable way to manage and make sense of data to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes.

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