Excel Dashboard Templates: Make Excel Work for You!

excel dashboard templatesAs any finance savvy person will tell you, the most popular spreadsheet application on the planet is Microsoft Excel. Excel is software that features pivot tables, graphing tools, calculation, as well as a convenient macro programming language known as Visual Basic for Applications. Business pros use the application on a regular basis because it makes it easy to manage data records, analyze data, corporate budgeting, create forms, and much more.

It can be fairly easy to become overwhelmed with the application – especially if you’re a beginner and new to the game. It’s much easier to seek outside help when you are first learning the ropes of Excel, which is why it’s wise to take a course, like this amazingly helpful course for beginning users of Excel that will walk you through all the basics of the program. Since there are many functions and tools in the application, it’s always best to break them down one by one. Since Excel’s dashboard templates are one of the most fascinating of the Excel tools, we’ll walk you through what exactly they are and what they’re used for.

What is a Dashboard?

An Excel dashboard is a visual interface and will provide views into measures that are relevant to a business process. They’re commonly used in marketing or sales, production, and human resources. Because dashboards are usually designed with a specific goal, they contain preexisting conclusions that relieve the user from performing their own analysis.

They also can display only the data that the user deems relevant for the dashboard, abolishing any unnecessary attributes. It’s quite common to mix up a dashboard with an Excel report, which is the most common application used since it can be a data table or even a subtotaled view with interactive drilling.

There are usually four key things that help create a great dashboard:

  • Minimum distractions (don’t overwhelm).
  • Simple, projects what the user is trying to say.
  • Applies human visual perception to visual presentation of information.
  • Using meaningful data, it should help support organized business.

Each dashboard should be based on the unique and creative view of the user and can be a very enjoyable process for those who are familiar with using this tool in Excel. If you find you are overwhelmed with information, or even if you are just looking to brush up on your skills, it’s always best to find a suitable course aimed at your specific needs, such as this Microsoft Excel 2013 Tutorial on Udemy that walks you through the basics of the updated software.

There are many different types of dashboard that you can learn how to create by downloading the file (of the desired dashboard), which will walk you step by step through the process of creating one yourself.

Some of the different types of dashboards:

  • KPI Dashboards (Key Performance Indicator)
  • Customer Service Dashboard
  • Project Management Dashboard
  • Sales Dashboards

What is a template?

A template is the face of the dashboard and can often be created by another user and available to download from a third party, or even Excel’s main website. Templates are often extremely easy to find if you use any search engine. If what we are explaining still seems pretty advanced, take this useful course that actually walks you through creating a dashboard!

How to Create a Dashboard?

  1. First, upload the data you wish to use on an Excel spreadsheet. Make sure you name the spreadsheet without using spaces or characters. Best way to avoid this is just put in the “_” symbol where the space or character should be.
  2. You need to create an outline of the appearance of your dashboard – how you would like it to look. This all depends on the data you’re using.
  3. Write the necessary formulas in the software in order to turn your data into charts. Each formal depends on what you’re charting and how you wish to arrange it. Many sites have lists of specific Excel formulas for creating a dashboard.
  4. You will want to use Excel tools like form control, formatting, and objects and graphs in order to create your dashboard. To do this, select “Menu”, then “View”, and then select “Tool Bars”. You can create a dashboard by ONLY using Excel tools, but if you are an advanced user of Excel and understand other programs, you can look to third party vendors who have downloadable tools that will make your dashboard pop more.
  5. Update your data.
  6. If you have a certain type of dashboard software, you’ll need to upload your data onto a spreadsheet.
  7. Install the dashboard software.
  8. Import the data from the database and into the software. You will choose the file name and path, so make sure it doesn’t contain any odd characters or spaces.
  9. Open the data file in the dashboard software. From there, you can use all the tools in the software to create the dashboard of your choosing.

It’s extremely important to be patient when attempting to familiarize yourself with the software. You’ll eventually come to realize that the application is not as difficult as it appears from an outsider’s perspective and once you get this wonderful function down, you’ll start to want to use is as much as possible. Try to explore all the different ways to create a dashboard and play with all the numerous templates that are right at your fingertips via the web. Do this, and you’ll be an expert in no time flat.

It’s best that you don’t get in over your head when exploring the multiple functions within Microsoft Excel because your head might just spin if you become stuck on a particularly challenging issue. If you hit a wall, you can always this Udemy course on Excel for Business, which teaches you how you can use the powerful tool in your business.