Creating Interactive Dashboards in Excel

Published on
March 30, 2022

Yes, making interactive dashboards in Excel is possible, and in fact easier than ever!

Creating dashboards in Excel is an essential way to visualize your data and help your Excel reporting tell the necessary story. But does the task of creating a dashboard require learning lots of Excel dashboard widgets, or any manual data analysis? What is the easiest way to make an Excel interactive dashboard

We’re going back to basics in this blog, starting with how to create a dashboard in Excel using pivot tables and then describing how XLCubed makes the work even easier.

What Is an Interactive Dashboard in Excel?

An interactive dashboard is a resource that allows business teams to analyze, track, and display success metrics and KPIs. Charts, maps, tables, and other layouts bring the numbers in your Excel columns to life and help users leverage data to make future decisions.

Since lots of data already lives in Excel at many organizations, Excel becomes a natural choice for creating these dashboards.  

How to Create a Modern and Dynamic Dashboard for Free in Excel

Here are the steps for creating an interactive dashboard in Excel:

Define Your Purpose and Data Sources

Before you start creating the dashboard, it’s important to clearly understand how it will be used and by whom. Different stakeholders within and outside the organization will need and want access to different facts and figures to inform decision-making. A dashboard used daily by the sales team may not have the same content as one used quarterly by executive leaders.

With your goal in mind, you must also confirm where the data you need lives and how it is organized. Make a list of all the data you need to incorporate or connect to the dashboard for it to function, and where you can source the data.

Divide and Conquer Your Workbook

With the data prepared, now comes the step to organize it in Excel so you can easily create the dashboard. You want the raw data to be in its own sheets, and in the next step, your pivot tables and calculations will be developed in separate sheets. The dashboard will be a sheet of its own. Keep all this within one Excel workbook!

Clean, Standardize, and Structure Data

As you source and migrate the necessary data into the workbook, you may also need to remove duplicate entries, as well as get rid of any additional spaces that can break Excel’s analytical capabilities. Depending on the data you have and the outputs you need, this is likely to be the phase where you create one or more pivot tables in Excel. A pivot table essentially captures sums, averages, and other statistics from a larger body of data. This allows users to capture and share insights about trends and patterns in the data more easily. Learn more from Microsoft about the creation and uses of pivot tables.

Choose Your Layouts

With the data in Excel and properly analyzed, now is the time to play with fun visualizations. Excel has many different types of charts and graphs built in, and more can be accessed through widgets and add-ons. To make the displays dynamic, connect the charts in the dashboard to the pivot tables elsewhere in your workbook. For more specifics, watch this video tutorial on creating an Excel dashboard with pivot tables and charts.

How to Create a Dashboard in Excel that Updates Automatically

The dashboard you create in your Excel workbook is connected to the data in the same workbook. That means to keep the dashboard current, many users are tasked with regularly updating the raw data in the spreadsheet. But with the power of XLCubed, you can move beyond these manual processes and work more efficiently.

Our powerful Excel add-on connects the Excel platform to your external databases. This makes the process of creating an interactive dashboard in Excel as simple as identifying your goals and starting to create your visuals. XLCubed’s interface was specifically designed to work seamlessly within Excel, connecting this familiar program to your real-time data. That means a dashboard which is always current, and which can be explored using our advanced analytics functions. Our secure, global platform allows these reports to be shared with every stakeholder at the level of access and control their role requires.

Watch a demo of XLCubed to see our product in action and learn more about the capability to slice and dice all your data analytics within Excel. Try it for 28 days free and let us know what you think!

Amber Peckham
Fluence Technologies

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