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How to Create KPI Dashboards in Excel

The ability to measure and report an accurate view of company performance is crucial for any business looking maximise their growth.

Key Performance Indicator dashboards (KPIs) offer a perfect way to do just that. They allow businesses to see a high-level view of various key factors and metrics within an ongoing project, all in one place. This helps to spot trends and track progress in relation to a specific objective, whether the focus is sales, finance, marketing, safety, production or any other predetermined goal.

This guide delves into the benefits of using KPI dashboards before explaining how to create a KPI dashboard to suit the needs of your own business. We’ll also cover some of the countless usages for KPIs in a commercial setting as well as a few things to avoid when creating dashboards in Excel.

The benefits of KPI dashboards

The main benefit of building a KPI dashboard is that it brings together separate tables, charts, datasets and metrics into a single page, allowing users to get a much clearer picture of what is happening within a particular project.

A recent study from the KPI Institute found that 68% of working professionals noted a positive impact on business development once they had implemented a KPI framework. This is largely down to the ability to spot trends and compare relationships between separate areas of a business. When viewed collectively, this data forms a story from which businesses can learn about their own performance in a particular area and outline what requires attention.

How to create a KPI dashboard in Excel

Microsoft Excel is the perfect platform in which to create an effective KPI dashboard. The various graph formats and chart options are incredibly useful when translating raw data into engaging visualisations, each one tailored to display information in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

Here’s a quick step-by-step to creating your own KPI dashboard:

1. Gather your data

The first step is to organise the data that you want to include for each section of the dashboard. If it’s sales, for example, you will likely need to gather data for monthly sales, average profit margin, lead to sale percentage, sales opportunities and any other essential metrics you have to hand.

2. Select your charts

Once you have identified the key areas for inclusion, you can begin to decide which data visualisation tools are the most suitable to display each set of information. In most cases, KPI dashboards are comprised of various charts and graphs, each one chosen to make the data as digestible as possible. A varied selection is a good idea, though it’s also crucial not to overload your KPI with too many different graphics.

3. Create a new spreadsheet to house your charts

Open a new spreadsheet and copy and paste each chart that you have created into it. This spreadsheet will become your KPI dashboard, allowing you to view all of your data sets in one place. Remember to resize your charts according to the level of emphasis you wish to place on them. This is an easy way to give people a feel for the most important parts of your KPI dashboard.

4. Test your presentation

Most KPI dashboards are built to be shared with managers or other key stakeholders. Therefore it’s always a good idea to run through the way you are going to present the information to double-check that everything is sized correctly, the resolution is clear and each section is easy to understand.

Looking for help with KPI dashboards?

Many of the businesses we work with get in touch because they are struggling to get to grips with KPI dashboards, or they have no prior experience with using Excel to create engaging data visualisations.

Our team of experts draw on years of experience supporting companies that are looking to make the most of the data available to them. We know the capabilities of Microsoft Excel inside out and have worked with organisations across almost every industry, which means we know exactly how to tailor KPI dashboards to meet the individual needs of any business.

Updated on July 11, 2018

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