Data visualization with Excel Dashboard is one of the most efficient ways to extract, interpret, and better understand data. By leveraging the powerful features of Excel, the dashboard designs can be easily customized to transform raw data into actionable information. With the help of comprehensive visualizations, users can quickly identify data patterns, uncover hidden trends, and gain a more comprehensive picture of their data.

Overview of Data Visualization in Excel

Excel Dashboard allows users to bring life to numerical data by creating intuitive graphical representation of the collected data. This helps comprehend the vital information that the data contains quickly, accurately and visually. Excel Dashboard visualizations include pie, doughnut, and bar charts, tables, and histograms just to name a few.

Benefits of Using Excel Dashboards for Data Analysis

  • Ease of use: Excel Dashboard is simple to understand and use.
  • Data accessibility: Excel Dashboard can link multiple data from multiple sources and present them in an interactive and intuitive manner.
  • Data analysis made easy: Excel Dashboard allow quick data slicing and dicing, helping to see the connection between data points even from huge datasets.
  • Time Saving: Excel Dashboard saves you time and effort when it comes to data analysis and interpretation.
  • Flexibility: With Excel Dashboard, users are provided with endless ways to customize and refine their data visualizations as needed.

Types of Dashboards in Excel

Data representation and analysis play an important role in helping businesses identify areas for improvement and set goals for the future. Excel dashboards are a great tool for visualizing data, enabling businesses to quickly make decisions based on the data. Let's have a look at four types of Excel dashboards businesses can use:

Use of Excel PivotTable Dashboards

Excel PivotTable Dashboards provide easy-to-read visuals that show changes in data over time. PivotTable Dashboards allow for data to be grouped and summarized in different ways, making it easier to identify patterns and trends. They also allow for data to be compared against different metrics, enabling businesses to quickly identify points of interest.

Use of Visualization Dashboards

Visualization Dashboards use charts, graphs and diagrams to illustrate data in an easy-to-understand format. They are useful for presenting data to stakeholders, allowing them to quickly identify areas of interest and make decisions. They can also be used to uncover relationships between different metrics, helping businesses to spot opportunities and make improvements.

Power Query Dashboards

Power Query Dashboards are used to query, analyze and transform data from multiple data sources into a single, unified view. This type of dashboard provides a unique way of exploring data, allowing businesses to uncover insights and make better decisions in a shorter period of time.

Dashboards Built From Scratch

Excel also allows for dashboards to be built from scratch. This involves creating a dashboard from a blank canvas, keeping the data organized, and designing the visuals. This method is great for creating dashboards that are tailored to specific business needs, as well as for designing unique visuals.

Design Best Practices

When creating data dashboards in Excel, there are certain design best practices to consider in order to maximize their effectiveness. Applying these guidelines to your dashboard’s interface can make the visualizations more accessible, powerful, and data-driven.

Keeping Your Design Simple and Intuitive

Excel dashboards should always strive to display their data in a simple, intuitive, and engaging manner. A unique design simplifies the experience of browsing and navigating through the visualizations. It also helps viewers quickly identify key insights and relationships within the data.

Setting Up Relevant Slicers and Filters

Adding effective slicers and filters to your Excel dashboard is a great way to provide viewers with additional ways to slice and dice your data. Doing this will ultimately result in more meaningful and actionable insights, and make the visualizations more interactive and engaging.

Automating Data Updates

Automating data updates for Excel dashboards is a helpful way to save time and keep your visuals updated with the most recent data. By using features like Power Query, you can easily connect data sources and update them with just a few clicks. This helps keep your dashboard timely and accurate.

Keeping Widgets and Components Intact

Excel dashboards should be designed with all of the visual components (e.g. sliders, graphs, tables, etc.) in their correlating positions. This form of static alignment helps viewers find and interact with widgets more quickly and easily, and allows them to focus solely on the data points that are relevant to them.

Utilizing Visualization Tools

Visualization tools in Excel can help you craft a truly impactful dashboard, bringing data to life. To get the most out of Excel dashboards, you should utilize these tools to their fullest—from the right chart or graph type to adding color and icons.

Use of the Appropriate Chart or Graph Type

When it comes to selecting a chart or graph type, the essential rule is to use the type that best illustrates the relationship of the data you have. A line graph is best for tracking changes over time, while a bar graph is better used to compare different categories or items. Furthermore, scatter plots are great for spotting trends in large data-sets, while pie charts are the preferred choice if you want to illustrate proportions.

Working with Shapes and Features

Next, you'll want to select the right shapes and features to further emphasize the data in your dashboard. You can use shapes to outline significant points in a graph or to emphasize a change in trend. Additionally, you can use features like animation, color saturation, and data labels to optimize the readability and visual appeal of your dashboard.

Adding Color and Icons

In order to make your dashboard more impactful and easier to interpret, consider adding color and icons to your data. Color helps categorize data and adds a visual element, making it easier to quickly identify patterns. Icons can also be used to further call attention to specific data points in your graph or chart.

Creating Interactive Visuals

The final step in optimizing your Excel dashboard is making your visuals interactive. Interactive visuals, such as sparklines and data slicers, can help make the correlation between data points much easier to see, allowing users to easily identify significant trends. Additionally, drill-down reports and hyperlinks allow you to further investigate points of interest.

Making Changes to the Backend

Making changes to the backend of a dashboard is an important part of getting the most out of your data in Excel. To make the dashboard more intuitive and flexible, it’s essential to understand and know the right steps to use when editing the backend. In this section, we will explain the process of working with data tables, macros, custom formulas and conditional formatting rules.

Working with Data Tables and Macros

To successfully make changes to the backend of a dashboard in Excel, it’s important to understand data tables and macros. Data tables allow users to store and manipulate their data, which makes them an essential component for creating effective dashboards. Macros are useful for automating frequently performed actions, such as adding or deleting rows, so users can save time by using them to make changes to the backend.

Writing Custom Formulas

Custom formulas are also essential for making changes to the backend of a dashboard in Excel. Using custom formulas instead of existing functions allows users to craft powerful calculations that are tailored to the needs of their unique dashboard. Custom formulas can be used to create complex formulas that combine different cells in the spreadsheet, allowing users to manipulate their data in new and innovative ways.

Constructing Conditional Formatting Rules

Conditional formatting rules can be used to format cells in the spreadsheet according to certain criteria. For example, a user could create a conditional formatting rule that turns text in a cell green if it meets a certain criteria or red if it does not. Conditional formatting rules can be used to identify data patterns, trends or outliers, making them useful for adding an extra layer of customization to a dashboard.

Using Helper Columns

Helper columns are another great way to make changes to the backend of a dashboard in Excel. Helper columns allow users to add extra columns of data to their spreadsheet that are not visible in the final dashboard. This data can then be used to create calculations or perform other tasks that are not available in existing functions. Helper columns are a great way to enhance the flexibility and customization of a dashboard.

Publishing the Dashboard

When it comes to spreadsheet data, publishing dashboards involve producing charts, graphs, and other visual elements to help deliver insights quickly and easily. A well-crafted dashboard can help users get the most out of their data while also correctly interpreting it. Before publishing the dashboard, there are a few best practices to consider.

Saving the Dashboard

It's important to save the dashboard as a separate worksheet or workbook, so that the data used to render it cannot be changed by accident. Keeping the source data separate also eliminates the possibility of unintentional data changes that may affect the overall dashboard accuracy.

Converting to an Interactive Webpage

In addition to saving the dashboard in a spreadsheet format, Excel provides the means to convert the dashboard into an interactive webpage. This enables users to filter and explore the data in more detail, and reduces the potential for data accuracy errors associated with manual charts and graph creation.

Exporting the Dashboard in a Different Format

Exports to different formats such as pdf, html, and csv provide further flexibility for sharing the dashboard or getting even more out of the data by cross-referencing it with other sources. This allows users to create different versions of the dashboard depending on their requirements.

Securing with Permissions

Permissions help to ensure data accuracy and reliability, by controlling which users have access to the dashboard and any related source data. Excel provides capabilities to set user and group permissions, making it easier to protect the most sensitive or confidential data.

  • Save the dashboard as a separate worksheet or workbook.
  • Convert the dashboard into an interactive webpage.
  • Export the dashboard in a different format.
  • Secure the dashboard with permissions.


Excel Dashboards offer organizations an efficient and affordable way to organize, represent, and visualize their data. With the right design and maintenance, Excel Dashboards are a great tool to accurately interpret and action the data available.

Benefits of Adopting Excel Dashboards

Excel Dashboards provide a range of benefits:

  • Consistent and explainable representation of data
  • Adaptable to user preference
  • Easy to differentiate insights
  • Effective communication
  • Save time
  • Ease in assessment

Best Practices for Dashboard Design and Maintenance

To get the most out of your data and Excel Dashboard, heed the following best practices:

  • Be specific with the goals - clearly convey the purpose of the dashboard
  • Define metrics - determine the key performance indicators
  • Keep it simple - provide only the necessary information in an organized and uncluttered way
  • Test and refine - develop and adjust accordingly
  • Continuously monitor - update dashboard data regularly

Excel Dashboards ensure organizations are getting the most out of their data and can be the perfect tool for visualizing, interpreting, and assessing the information available.

Expert-built dashboard templates

100+ Dashboard templates