Does your job require you to track important metrics like KPIs constantly? If yes, you’ll agree that searching through a large collection of raw data stored in multiple tabs and spreadsheets can be incredibly challenging.
This is even more frustrating when you need to find accurate information quickly. Thankfully, you can solve this problem by simply creating Google Sheets dashboards. What’s interesting about Google Sheets Dashboard is that it provides you and your team members real-time data on demand.
By providing important data in a visual format, dashboards give you a comprehensive overview of key metrics at a glance.
When creating Google Sheets dashboards, you’ll often have to use powerful resources like tables, charts, and graphs. The reason is that these tools are engaging and easy to read for everyone. By including charts, tables and graphs in your Google Sheets Dashboard, you make it easy for your team members to better understand the information you have extracted from a spreadsheet.
More so, creating Google Sheets Dashboards isn’t only cool but also great for impressing others, as the data is presented comprehensively. Most companies you know today display their performance dashboards for everyone to see. They have realized that doing so keeps the team motivated and ensures everyone is on the same page.
Dashboards are great for many reasons. You can use them to track every business process, including monitoring stocks and analyzing survey results.
Without mincing words, data visualization is a powerful tool for businesses, especially when it comes to data analysis. For teams working in the cloud, incorporating dashboards into your project will allow all team members to instantly access dynamic data.
Thanks to the actionable insights dashboards provide, it is easy to spot trends and problems. More so, you’ll be able to make fast decisions based on accurate information.
Today’s Google Sheets tutorial will bring you up to speed on everything you need to know about creating Google Sheets dashboards. But before we jump into the practical aspects of this guide, let’s start with the basic- understanding Google Sheets dashboards.
What is Google Sheets Dashboard?
Google Sheets dashboard provides you with a comprehensive view of your entire project. Thanks to Google Sheets dashboard, you can easily make decisions based on the data you have. Most dashboards serve several purposes and are very flexible to use.
Google Sheets dashboard comprises graphs and charts. These elements help the viewer understand the data and its representation with ease. Additionally, the data can also be displayed within a table, depending on what works for you. Overall, dashboards typically have a lot of colors, which goes a long way to help you define data much more easily.
A fantastic example is when companies leverage dashboards to show trends to their employees. Achieving the same result with a spreadsheet is challenging as it will be hard on the eye. More so, a lot of data can be skipped.
Simply put, a Google Sheets dashboard makes data easier to read as it appears appealing and concise.
Creating Google Sheets Dashboards: Step-by-step guide
Now that you know a thing or two about Google Sheets dashboard, let’s show you how to create a dashboard in Google Sheets.
Before creating your dashboard, you’ll need to ask yourself some important questions.
- What data do I want to visualize?
- What format do I want it in? (E.g., a scatter chart, pie chart, a scored card or more)
In our example, we will analyze the sales data of select products. To put things in a better perspective, we will use the following sample data to create our dashboard in Google Sheets.
Using the above sample data, here is how to create a simple dashboard in Google Sheets.
Step 1: Insert Chart
The first thing we want to do is insert the chart. Now, head over to the spreadsheet you’re working with and highlight the columns and rows you want to include in your dashboard. For this example, we will highlight our entire spreadsheet.
With the columns and rows you want to be included in the dashboard highlighted, navigate to the Insert menu and select the option for “Chart.”
If you follow these steps exactly as detailed above, Google Sheets will automatically add a chart to your spreadsheet. Here is what ours looks like:
Step 2: Change Style
Having created our chart, we need to take things up a notch by tweaking the style a bit. Surprisingly this is super easy to do.
Simply head over to your spreadsheet and navigate to the extreme right of your spreadsheet. You should find the Chart Editor there. If yours isn’t showing, you can simply click the three-dot icon on your chart and select the option for “Edit chart.”
After executing this action, you should find the Chart editor window on the extreme right of your spreadsheet. Here is what it should look like.
Now, what we are interested in isn’t a scatter chart, as it doesn’t visualize our data very well. So we want to change that and switch to a column chart instead. To do that, click the dropdown list under chart type and select Column chart.
After the changes are effected, you should notice that the chart in your spreadsheet has now changed to reflect your preferred chart option. Here, take a look at what our chart looks like:
Step 3: Move the chart
After inserting your preferred chart into your spreadsheet, you don’t want to keep it on the current spreadsheet, instead, you want to move it to a separate spreadsheet, which is super easy.
To start, head over to your recently created column chart and click on the three-dot icon in the top right-hand corner of your chart.
From the options available, select the Move to own sheet option. This action puts the dashboard in a dedicated sheet, separated from your other data.
After moving the chart to its own sheet, Google Sheets automatically moves it to a new sheet. If you did everything right, you should have something like this:
If you look closely at the image above, you’ll notice it has several options: Copy chart, Edit chart, publish chart, download chart, delete chart and more.
What is even more exciting is that the chart automatically updates once you filter the data in the spreadsheet.
Now, that’s how to make a simple dashboard in Google Sheets. That wasn’t too hard, was it?
How to add a sparkline
One of the many disadvantages of adding a chart to your spreadsheet is that they often take up more space than needed. Because they often overlap with the sheet, they end up covering up cells featuring crucial data. Thankfully, you can fix that by adding a sparkline to your spreadsheet.
What’s special about a sparkline is that it adds a chart into a single cell, something you can’t achieve when you add a normal chart to your spreadsheet.
For those just hearing about a sparkline for the first time, it will interest you to know that a sparkline is a kind of mini chart that can easily be added to a single cell. Like other types of charts in Google Sheets, a sparkline also displays trends over a specific time period.
With a sparkline, it’s easy to spot increases or decreases. Also, it indicates where you need to take a closer look at your data.
If you have been working with data for some time, you’ll agree that data often comes as a time series, just like you have with many financial and stock metrics. But more than that, trend analysis is also important for marketing and web analysis.
For instance, you might want to look at the trends for specific keywords or page visits.
Having given you some background on what sparkline is, let’s show you how to add a sparkline to your spreadsheet.
For this example, we will use the following sample data:
To add a sparkline chart to your spreadsheet, we will use the following formula:
Here is how to add a sparkline chart to your spreadsheet.
- Select the cell where you want to add the sparkline chart. For our example, we will use cell C2.
- With that done, head over to the formula tab and type in the following formula:
Once you’re done typing the formula, hit the Enter key on your keyboard. Google Sheets should automatically add a sparkline to your spreadsheet.
If you did everything right, you should have something that looks like this:
Note: While a sparkline chart looks pretty easy to create, keep in mind that you can use a sparkline chart to create more advanced chart types, including column charts, line charts, bar charts and even a win-loss chart.
How to Create a Great Google Sheets Dashboard
By now, we are sure you know how to create a simple dashboard in Google Sheets. But sometimes, simple doesn’t always cut it. So, here are a few rules you might want to follow to create a Google Sheets dashboard that is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to understand.
Keep it simple
When creating Google Sheets dashboards, you want to ensure you don’t add too many complicated or distracting visuals. Adding any unnecessary visuals might be overbearing to a viewer’s eyes. To keep things as simple as possible, we recommend using 2D charts instead of 3D ones, which have too many effects.
Use a Good Color Scheme
Always keep in mind that your choice of colors can either make or break your data visualization. When you have too many colors on your dashboard, it will look too messy. If you’re unsure of the best color scheme, we suggest you use a color palette that follows a theme. Not just that, you also want to ensure that it is gentle on the eyes.
If you are in doubt, you can use a color palette generator for some insight on the best color to use.
Tell a Story
When creating Google Sheets dashboards, you want to ensure you connect all the elements with each other organically. This way, it adds relevance to your overall presentation.
Although they are a lot better than raw data, charts and graphs can be a lot to take in. To this end, you want to ensure they are correctly linked and titled. Also, you want to ensure that your spreadsheet is organized.
Filter the Data
An excellent dashboard will always filter your data per the variables you want to showcase. Keep in mind that it is a lot different from the raw spreadsheet. Here is the catch: If you don’t summarize your data in a way that is easy to understand, you’ll end up bombarding your viewers with haphazard data that will only result in more confusion.
Limits of Creating Dashboards in Google Sheets
While there are tons of possibilities when it comes to creating Google Sheets dashboards for data visualization, there are also a couple of limitations you should be aware of when creating Google Sheets dashboards. Here, check out a couple of them.
- Compared to when using other spreadsheet dashboards, it isn’t easy to add shapes and drawing to Google Sheets dashboard. Even though Google Sheets provides access to a drawing tool on the insert menu, the shapes and drawings are not always sharp, especially when you resize them.
- When creating Google Sheets dashboards, there are limits to how much customization you can make.
- Whenever you use add-ons to create a dashboard in Google Sheets, you might run into issues later when the add-on is updated.
- The more data you have to work with, the more challenging it gets to create a dashboard in Google Sheets. This is even more difficult when you factor in the automation features available.
- Google Sheets dashboard doesn’t have a lot of dashboard-specific features. This simply means you might be unable to track some important metrics.
Building a Dynamic Dashboard In Google Sheets – Understanding the basics
A dynamic dashboard is a unique type of dashboard that can be personalized and updated in real-time by multiple users. The first dashboard tutorial we showed you in today’s guide is a perfect example of a dynamic dashboard.
Unlike the regular dashboard, you know, a dynamic dashboard allows team members to have a personalized view of what they need to see instead of needing to create a separate sheet for everyone.
While creating a dynamic dashboard is somewhat long and complicated, it is definitely worth the time spent creating it.
Although the steps for creating a dynamic Google Sheets dashboard is the same as the one for building a spreadsheet dashboard, there are a few twists and turns, and we will show you that in a bit.
When creating a dynamic dashboard in Google Sheets, you first need to link your data in your spreadsheet and categorize it. You can either import your data from a different sheet or create one online. Not just that, you can also collect your data using a Google form that is linked to your spreadsheet.
One important thing you should use when creating a dynamic dashboard in Google Sheets is tabs. While you can have the main data in one spreadsheet tab, you can have the dashboard in another. Doing this ensures they are linked properly. Plus, it also ensures that any changes you make in your table will be updated in the dashboard.
Also, when organizing your data into pivot tables and using specific formulas such as data validation to analyze data, we always recommend using infinite cell ranges to accommodate any changes that might be updated.
Once you’re done with the pivot sheet, you can hide them so your sheet looks clean. However, remember that when you make changes to the data in the main sheet, it will also reflect in the data in the pivot table.
During Data Visualization
Creating dynamic charts for all the information you’d like to visualize is important for proper data visualization. To achieve that, you can add sparklines, pie charts and more.
When adding a sparkline to your dynamic dashboard, you want to use a formula like this one =SPARKLINE(B2:B). The reason we left the last range open is to show infinity. This way, when you add new data to the table, it will automatically update. This is an important rule of thumb for making a dynamic dashboard.
Also, keep in mind that this rule works for all other charts you intend to use, so ensure to leave the cell range to infinity.
Google Sheets Dashboard Templates
Are you overwhelmed by the sheer thought of creating a customized dashboard from the ground up, or are you just too busy to go through that hassle? Well, you’re in luck, as Google Sheets has a range of templates that are guaranteed to make your job easy.
For those who have no idea, Google Sheets templates are pre-made models that give you a blueprint for the type of project you’re working on. If you have always wanted to save time when creating Google Sheets dashboards, using Google Sheets templates is perfect, as it will save you a lot of time and effort.
In terms of dashboard templates, Google Sheets offers a few brilliant options you can see on the main screen of Google Sheets. From finance trackers to analytics dashboards and more, there are a ton of Google Sheets templates you can leverage to make your job easy.
Why should you use Google Sheets dashboard templates?
Have you always leveraged the manual option to create Google Sheets dashboards? Guess what? You can make your job much easier when you use Google Sheets templates. For those still on the fence about whether to use Google Sheets Dashboard templates or not, here are five important reasons to start using Google Sheets dashboard templates.
- Plug and play dashboard templates: Google Sheets dashboard templates are designed in such a way that they are ready to use. So basically, you won’t need to spend hours designing the dashboard, as all you need to do is learn how to import your data into Google Sheets. After importing your data, the template’s premade function and formulas will handle the rest of the challenging aspects.
- Save time from troubleshooting errors: Although we love Google Sheets’ intuitive nature, using it to build a data dashboard from the ground up is no easy feat. Any little mistake, such as typing the wrong formula or selecting the wrong cell, can result in hours of troubleshooting, further wasting your time.
- Tons of free templates: If there is anything we love about the Google Sheets templates library, it is the access to tons of free templates it provides. So if you’re worried that you might need to pay for these dashboard templates, you’ll be happy to know that there are tons of free and comprehensive dashboard templates you can use right away. Besides the Google Sheets templates library, there are tons of amazing websites and online communities where you can access free templates for different purposes.
- Easy customization: What’s special about most Google Sheets templates is that they are well-structured and user-friendly. These templates often come with additional instructions and explanations that make them easy to use. If you ever run into a brick wall when using these templates, feel free to read these instructions and explanations to make the most of the templates.
- Seamless collaboration: Google Sheets dashboard templates provide hassle-free collaboration for multiple users. This option allows for custom permission, edit suggestions and even comments.
- Automate visualization: Using visualization is a fantastic way to organize data in Google Sheets. Thankfully, when using Google Sheets templates, you don’t have to spend hours tweaking visualization, as most of the templates you’ll find on Google Sheets templates library are fully configured for data visualization. All you need to do is input the data in the right cells.
Accessing Google Sheets dashboard templates
Before we delve further, let’s quickly look at how to access the Google Sheets dashboard templates library.
First, you must load up Google Sheets dashboard templates via the template library or a third-party source.
Here is how to access the templates library. Visit the Google Sheets home page and click the option for “ Template gallery.” Alternatively, if you already have a spreadsheet open, you can go to navigate to the File menu, select New and select the option “From template gallery”
After completing this action, Google Sheets will launch a new window that provides access to different templates. Check out this video for a tour of what the Google Sheets template library looks like:
Note: Before downloading and using any Google Sheets dashboard template, please ensure you get it from a trusted source. Remember that a safe third-party source will always send you a link to the correct Google Sheets URL.
To use any Google Sheets dashboard template, all you need to do is click on it, and Google Sheets will automatically load it to your spreadsheet. All you need to do is make changes as per the data you have. It’s honestly that easy.
With Google Sheets templates, it already comes pre-built with everything you might want to have in your dashboard. Simply load the template and make changes as needed.
For instance, after loading the template for a monthly budget, here is what it looks like:
If you look at the screenshot above closely, you’ll notice the dashboard template has detailed instructions on how to use it. So stick to that, and you won’t have any issues.
Top Google Sheets dashboard templates to make your work easy
If you look through the Google Sheets template library, you’ll notice it has dozens of free dashboard templates you can start using right away. But from the available options, here are our absolute favorites:
Website traffic dashboard
If your job entails tracking website traffic and you need to build a dedicated dashboard for that, you’re welcome to check out this terrific template. It is the perfect template for tracking your website’s performance.
What we love most about this dashboard template is that it comes with the famous add-on Supermetrics, which makes it easy to copy your Facebook ads, LinkedIn, Google or other marketing data directly into Google Sheets.
Not just that, the template also allows you to get your data from Google Analytics. If that doesn’t impress you, then the ability to use the Google Analytics add-on to move data from Google Analytics to your spreadsheet will surely impress you.
Here are some important metrics you can track with this Google Sheets dashboard template:
- Page views
- Traffic monetization
Check out what the template looks like after loading it into Google Sheets.
The Google Sheets Analytics dashboard template is another powerful resource for tracking different analytics, including traffic, marketing, sports and more. From a glance, you can see that the dashboard is neatly designed and easy to navigate.
In addition to all its brilliant features, this dashboard template also has a map for tracking regional data, which is a huge plus.
Here are some important metrics you can track using this template;
Like all other Google Sheets dashboard templates, the analytics dashboard is super easy to use. When you load this dashboard into your spreadsheet, you don’t need to do anything about visualization. More so, it comes with detailed instructions like the other free Google Sheets dashboard templates. Simply follow these instructions, and you won’t run into any issues.
Here is what the analytics dashboard templates look like when loaded into Google Sheets.
How a Google Sheets Dashboard Can Make Your Life Easier
Creating Google Sheets dashboard is an excellent way to organize and visualize your data. While it might take some time to create a comprehensive Google Sheets dashboard, the benefits of using Google Sheets dashboards far outweigh the time it takes to learn how to make a dashboard.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a dynamic dashboard, and is it different from a regular dashboard in Google Sheets?
Unlike your typical dashboard in Google Sheets, a dynamic dashboard is a unique dashboard that updates in real-time. This means that any time you make changes to the raw data, the elements in your dashboard should be updated automatically. A dynamic dashboard is great, especially if you want to improve efficiency. Also, a dynamic dashboard has many interactive features, making the whole experience worth it.
Is it possible to link my Google Form to My Dashboard?
One exciting thing about Google Forms is its unique customization option. If you explore the Google Forms settings, for instance, you’ll notice that it has the option to save responses to Google Sheets. There is also an option for using an existing spreadsheet or creating a new one. Choose whatever option works best for you.
Does Google Sheets have a dedicated dashboard app?
As of right now, Google Sheets doesn’t have a dedicated app for dashboards. However, Google Sheets has a dashboard templates library you can access directly from the Sheets home page. Here, you’ll find dozens of free dashboard templates you can deploy and customize as you want.
Creating Google Sheets dashboards can be quite challenging, especially for novices just going at it for the first time. However, when you get the hang of it, you’ll know how beneficial it is for your project.
Today’s Google Sheets tutorial showed you the nitty-gritty of creating Google Sheets dashboards. Our step-by-step tutorial is complete with screenshots and video resources to guide you every step of the way, so you shouldn’t have any issues creating a dashboard in Google Sheets.
Let’s also quickly mention that today’s guide included tips on creating a sparkline in Google Sheets. So if you’ve never created one before, we are sure you now know how to do that.
Besides showing you the manual way of creating Google Sheets dashboards, we also showed you a comprehensive overview of Google Sheets dashboard templates. In case you don’t want to spend hours creating a Google Sheets dashboard for your project, you can simply use Google Sheets free dashboard templates to make your job easy.
We hope today’s guide has been helpful.