How to Create Dashboard in Excel 2016

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How to Create Dashboard in Excel 2016

How to Create Dashboard in Excel 2016

dashboard New to Excel dashboards? Learn how to create dashboard in Excel to improve your Excel, data analysis and data visualization skills. You can make dashboard in excel in under 5 minutes after watching this video without any additional software of plugin. Download this excel dashboard template for free from here Pivot Tables and Dashboard in Excel  to make excel dashboard and reports for yourself.    


A dashboard is a visual representation of key metrics that allow you to quickly view and analyze your data in one place. Dashboards not only provide consolidated data views, but a self-service business intelligence opportunity, where users are able to filter the data to display just what’s important to them. In the past, Excel reporting often required you to generate multiple reports for different people or departments depending on their needs.


Get your data

  1. You can copy and paste data directly into Excel, or you can set up a query from a data source. For this topic, we used the Sales Analysis query from the Northwind Traders template for Microsoft Access. If you want to use it, you can open Access and go to File > New > Search for “Northwind” and create the template database. Once you’ve done that you’ll be able to access any of the queries included in the template. We’ve already put this data into the Excel workbook for you, so there’s no need to worry if you don’t have Access.

  2. Verify your data is structured properly, with no missing rows or columns. Each row should represent an individual record or item. For help with setting up a query, or if your data needs to be manipulated, see Get & Transform in Excel.

    Sample data in an Excel table to be used as a PivotTable data source

  3. If it’s not already, format your data as an Excel Table. When you import from Access, the data will automatically be imported to a table.

Create PivotTables

  1. Select any cell within your data range, and go to Insert > PivotTable > New Worksheet. See Create a PivotTable to analyze worksheet data for more details.

  2. Add the PivotTable fields that you want, then format as desired. This PivotTable will be the basis for others, so you should spend some time making any necessary adjustments to style, report layout and general formatting now so you don’t have to do it multiple times. For more details, see: Change the layout and format of a PivotTable report.

    In this case, we created a top-level summary of sales by product category, and sorted by the Sales field in descending order.

    Sample PivotTable by Category, Sales & % of total

    See Sort data in a PivotTable or PivotChart for more details.

  3. Once you’ve created your master PivotTable, select it, then copy and paste it as many times as necessary to empty areas in the worksheet. For our example, these PivotTables can change rows, but not columns so we placed them on the same row with a blank column in between each one. However, you might find that you need to place your PivotTables beneath each other if they can expand columns.

    Important: PivotTables can’t overlap one another, so make sure that your design will allow enough space between them to allow for them to expand and contract as values are filtered, added or removed.

    At this point you might want to give your PivotTables meaningful names, so you know what they do. Otherwise, Excel will name them PivotTable1, PivotTable2 and so on. You can select each one, then go to PivotTable Tools > Analyze > enter a new name in the PivotTable Name box. This will be important when it comes time to connect your PivotTables to Slicers and Timeline controls.

    Rename a PivotTable from PivotTable Tools > Analyze > PivotTable Name box

Create PivotCharts

  1. Click anywhere in the first PivotTable and go to PivotTable Tools > Analyze > PivotChart > select a chart type. We chose a Combo chart with Sales as a Clustered Column chart, and % Total as a Line chart plotted on the Secondary axis.

    Chart seelction dialog for a Combination Chart with a Clustered Column and Line chart

  2. Select the chart, then size and format as desired from the PivotChart Tools tab. For more details see our series on Formatting charts.

  3. Repeat for each of the remaining PivotTables.

  4. Now is a good time to rename your PivotCharts too. Go to PivotChart Tools > Analyze > enter a new name in the Chart Name box.

Add Slicers and a Timeline

Slicers and Timelines allow you to quickly filter your PivotTables and PivotCharts, so you can see just the information that’s meaningful to you.

Exploded view of Slicers and a Timeline control in a dashboard

  1. Select any PivotTable and go to PivotTable Tools > Analyze > Filter > Insert Slicer, then check each item you want to use for a slicer. For this dashboard, we selected Category, Product Name, Employee and Customer Name. When you click OK, the slicers will be added to the middle of the screen, stacked on top of each other, so you’ll need to arrange and resize them as necessary.

    Insert Slicer option from PivotTable Tools > Analyze > Filter

  2. Slicer Options – If you click on any slicer, you can go to Slicer Tools > Options and select various options, like Style and how many columns are displayed. You can align multiple slicers by selecting them with Ctrl+Left-click, then use the Align tools on the Slicer Tools tab.

  3. Slicer Connections – Slicers will only be connected to the PivotTable you used to create them, so you need to select each Slicer then go to Slicer Tools > Options > Report Connections and check which PivotTables you want connected to each. Slicers and Timelines can control PivotTables on any worksheet, even if the worksheet is hidden.

    Slicer Report Connections from Slicer Tools > Options

  4. Add a Timeline – Select any PivotTable and go to PivotTable Tools > Analyze > Filter > Insert Timeline, then check each item you want to use. For this dashboard, we selected Order Date.

  5. Timeline Options – Click on the Timeline, and go to Timeline Tools > Options and select options like StyleHeader and Caption. Select the Report Connections option to link the timeline to the PivotTables of your choice.

Learn more about Slicers and Timeline controls.

Next steps

Your dashboard is now functionally complete, but you probably still need to arrange it the way you want and make final adjustments. For instance, you might want to add a report title, or a background. For our dashboard, we added shapes around the PivotTables and turned off Headings and Gridlines from the View tab.

Make sure to test each of your slicers and timelines to make sure that your PivotTables and PivotCharts behave appropriately. You may find situations where certain selections cause issues if one PivotTable wants to adjust and overlap another, which it can’t do and will display an error message. These issues should be corrected before you distribute your dashboard.

Once you’re done setting up your dashboard, you can click the “Share a Dashboard” tab at the top of this topic to learn how to distribute it.

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