Businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries continue to leverage the power and flexibility of Microsoft Excel to capture, analyze and display data. Reports and dashboards are two of the most popular types of Excel documents created to present data in a clear and concise manner. Today's blog discusses various types of Excel reports and dashboards, including unique ways that they can be used to present business insight.

Overview of the different types of Excel reports and dashboards:

  • Static Reports
  • Dynamic Reports
  • Reporting Dashboards
  • Analytical Dashboards

What is an Excel Report?

An Excel report is a type of reporting platform created using Microsoft Excel. It's used to produce detailed graphs and charts that help people easily visualize numeric data trends and relationships.

Definition of an Excel Report

An Excel report is essentially a presentation or an analysis of data from within an Excel table. It allows a user to organize and display information in a way that is visually appealing and makes sense. This can be a simple one-page report or a complex workbook of multiple worksheets and a dashboard. Reports can include colorful graphs, charts, or statistics in order to summarize data and make it easier to interpret.

Common Features of Excel Reports

  • Filtering options that enable users to quickly access the data they need.
  • Automatic calculations which reduce manual data entry.
  • Interactive charts that make it easy to compare data points.
  • Drilldown capabilities which allow users to quickly dive deeper into the data.
  • Pivot tables which can be used to quickly summarize large amounts of information.

Benefits of Using an Excel Report

  • Improves the data analysis process by making it easier to interpret and visualize.
  • Saves time by reducing the need for manual data entry.
  • Provides users with interactive data visuals for easier understanding.
  • Makes data comparison and analysis easier with the help of drilldown and pivot table capabilities.
  • Creates visually appealing reports to make it easier for non-technical people to understand.

What is an Excel Dashboard?

An Excel dashboard is a visually-driven PowerPoint presentation, supported by figures and tables from Excel spreadsheets. It is created to show an overview of the key performance indicators and trends from your data, so that you can easily track, compare and analyze your data.

Definition of an Excel Dashboard

An Excel dashboard is a one-page summary of large amounts of data presented in visually-impactful formats such as graphs and charts. The aim is to quickly display key business information in an engaging, award-winning way. It helps to highlight trends and relationships, identify problems and gaps quickly, and monitor progress against goals.

Common Features of Excel Dashboards

Excel dashboards typically include the following features:

  • Data visualizations: graphical representations such as charts, graphs, and tables that make it easier to evaluate the data
  • Summary information: concise summaries that quickly provide key insights
  • Reporting tools: tools that enable users to view, manipulate, and analyze data
  • Navigation tools: tools that allow users to explore and present different aspects of the data

Benefits of Using an Excel Dashboard

Using an Excel dashboard can help make complex data more understandable and easier to analyze. It allows users to quickly identify trends and relationships in the data, identify potential problems and areas for improvement, and monitor progress against goals. Additionally, Excel dashboards are versatile and customizable, making them a great way to present critical data in an attractive, engaging way.

A Comparison of Excel Reports and Dashboards

Spreadsheets, like Excel, are essential tools for businesses. They allow professionals to store and manipulate data in an organized manner, making it easier to analyze and track progress. Excel has a powerful interface which allows users to create dashboards and reports for a visual representation of the data.


Although dashboards and reports are different, they do have some similarities. They both serve the same main purpose, which is to present data in an organized manner. As they both effectively display data in manageable charts, tables and graphs, they can provide the same insights into the data.

They are also quite similar in the setup process. The requirements and steps for creating both require the user to organize and structure the data, choose the relevant information to display, then format the charts, tables and graphs. This same process can be used to create either a dashboard or a report.


The main difference between a dashboard and a report is the type of data to be presented. Dashboards are used to present an overview of data in a concise visual format, by presenting only the most important elements. Reports, on the other hand, are used to present an in-depth analysis of the data, by exploring all the data points in detail.

Another difference is the complexity of the charts, graphs, and tables used. Reports typically contain more detailed information than dashboards and thus require more complex visual elements to display it. Dashboard visual elements, like bar graphs and pie charts, can be quite simple and easy to understand, while report visual elements can be quite intricate and require thorough understanding.

Finally, while dashboards are often used to track performance, reports are typically used to draw conclusions and present the findings. Dashboards often present the “big picture” while reports focus on the details.

Best Practices for Excel Reports and Dashboards

Excel reports and Dashboards are powerful tools for visualizing, analyzing, and displaying data. To get the most out of Excel, there are some important tips you should keep in mind when designing reports and dashboards. In this section, we will focus on best practices for designing effective Excel reports and dashboards.

Tips for Designing an Effective Excel Report

When designing an Excel report, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the report is concise, organized, and easy to read.
  • Use a consistent style and format throughout the report.
  • Include relevant data, and remove any unnecessary data.
  • Include clear headings and page numbers for sections.
  • Leave space for notes and comments.
  • Report trends, changes, and comparisons over time.
  • Proofread for accuracy and typos.

Tips for Designing an Effective Excel Dashboard

When designing an Excel dashboard, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose colors, fonts, and layouts that are visually appealing.
  • Use charts, graphs, and visuals to display data.
  • Make sure the dashboard is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
  • Include key metrics, KPIs, and other relevant information.
  • Highlight important trends, changes, and differences.
  • Include drill-down capabilities for deeper insights.
  • Include search options for filtering data.


Excel Reports and Dashboards provide users a versatile range of data visualization methods. There are a variety of approaches to creating reports and dashboards in Excel, each with its strengths and weaknesses. PivotTables are great for quick summaries of large data sets, while basic formulas are ideal for analyzing small datasets with simple operations.

Charts can convey complex visuals that help understand data in many cases. Conditional formatting can also be used to identify patterns and trends. With a combination of all of these methods, users can create effective dashboards and reports in Excel.

Key Takeaways:

  • Excel Reports and Dashboards help users analyze and visualize data
  • The features of Excel provide many options for creating these reports and dashboards
  • PivotTables, basic formulas, charts, and other features are all available to tailor the visualization of data

Recommendations for Further Reading


Through the examination of different types of Excel reports and dashboards, it has become apparent that they are a powerful tool to help in data analysis and decision-making. They can help businesses understand their data in a more powerful way, enabling them to build more informed models and come up with more accurate predictions.

We encourage you to make the most of Excel reports and dashboards. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Start by familiarizing yourself with Excel functions and data visualization tools.
  • Use informative and appealing labels to make it easier for your users to understand the data.
  • Organize the data in a logical manner so that users can quickly find what they are looking for.
  • Regularly update the Excel dashboard and share reports with stakeholders.
  • Carefully choose the metric and measures that best reflect the data.

By utilizing Excel reports and dashboards, you can make better informed decisions, optimize your operations and maximize profit. We hope you found this examination of Excel reports and dashboards helpful.

Expert-built dashboard templates

100+ Dashboard templates