The DataHero Blog

Create Gorgeous Excel Dashboards

October 2nd, 2014

It amazes me how many articles, tips and tricks I see online that detail how to create a dashboard from your Excel data.  What is most amazing about these articles is how time-intensive, confusing and overall unimpressive the end result is of these so-called dashboards.  What if I told you that in less than 15 clicks start to finish you could easily create a stunning dashboard that updates automatically based directly on your Excel file?


Do I have your attention?  Good.  We counted the number of clicks it took us to create a dashboard of 3 charts from an internal key performance indicator (kpi) spreadsheet we track internally.  The end count – it took us a total of 14 clicks from sign up to finish.  The end result was charts that look incredible (no more messing with Excel themes and chart configurations).  Our dashboard was kept up-to-date automatically as the data changed in our spreadsheet and allowed us to easily build complex charts without having to create pivot tables, do complex v-lookups to combine data across sources, or figure out how to appropriately filter or group our data.  In the end, we produced a board-ready, pdf packet of our charts.  (click to download the example dashboard PDF)

PDF Dashboard Board Packet Overview

So if you are interested in creating the easiest to use Excel dashboard ever, read on for details on those 14 clicks.  If you’d like to waste hours of your workday taking a 8-hour online training course on how to create the dashboard or go through complex steps to keep that data up-to-date, please don’t tell us because it makes us sad to see time wasted in Excel hell.

1) Import your Excel Spreadsheet into DataHero

Import Files

Getting your file into DataHero is simple.  Simply take the Excel file or files you like to use to create your dashboard and import them into DataHero.  If you import them directly from Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive or Box, we can keep your charts and graphs up to date automatically as that file has new data added.  As an added bonus, you can also directly import from other services like Salesforce, Zendesk, and Recurly to enrich your dashboard further.

2) Create charts

DataHero makes it easy to create charts.  Select any of our suggested charts or create your own by simply dragging on the data you’d like to visualize onto the chart page.  We will automatically perform pivots, do complex cohorts analysis and help you create the best chart based on the data you select.  Best yet, the charts don’t look like a boring default Excel chart.  They are good-looking data visualizations that you can embed directly into that Powerpoint presentation.


3) Add your data to a dashboard

Once you’ve created your charts, simply select to add them to a dashboard.  This means you can easily create a single dashboard from multiple Excel files.  No longer do you need to cut and paste data or link Excel files together.  You can add as many charts as you like to any number of dashboards.  This dashboard can be exported as images, a board-ready pdf document or simply viewed online.

Add To Dashboard

4) Keep your dashboard up to date

Perhaps the most difficult part about creating an Excel dashboard is keeping it up to date.  As the data changes, you need to make sure the ranges and charts are automatically updated.  It can take a Ph.D. to set this up in a way that doesn’t constantly break.

 Excel File Update

DataHero makes it easy,  Simply choose a schedule for updates on the file you imported from a connected cloud drive like Google Drive, or update it on demand anytime.  DataHero will automatically keep copies of previous revisions of your data and charts while always keeping your dashboard up to date.

Interested in making your own beautiful Excel dashboards that update automatically?  Sign up for a free DataHero account and create one with zero training in as little as 14 clicks.

DataHero helps you unmask the answers in your data. There’s nothing to download or install. Simply create an account and connect to the data services you use every day (like Salesforce, Stripe, MailChimp, Dropbox and Box). DataHero automatically decodes your data and shows you the answers you need through dynamic visualizations.

Create My Excel Dashboard Today

By Jeff Zabel

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