Interactive Dashboard with Excel

A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve 1 of more objectives, consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance.

Stephen Few quote

With Excel we can make them interactive.

In this blog post I walk through the excellent MyOnlineTrainingHub YouTube - How to build Interactive Dashboards

Making dashboards is a skill.

I’m fortunate in that I’ve got control over webservers, DB and storage, and can design my own log strategy.

Like many recent projects, I’m favouring simplicity and have found that I can write sufficiently well to the OLTP DB with small to medium size projects.

User dashboard

  • Who has logged in most recently
  • Who needs help using our system
  • Tools with most interest
  • Search engines giving the most traffic (and what terms)
  • End of year reports

Developer / Devops dashboard

  • Email delivery problem
  • 500 errors
  • Critical Errors eg app pool recycle
  • Unusual activity (spike in traffic)
  • Too many Polly retry errors (need to up database power)
  • SQL query times
  • Server memory usage (can I scale up / down)
  • Server disk space
  • Server CPU usage (can I scale up / down)
  • Days since last deploy (and therefore patch)

Alerting from the dashboard? potentially using slack for notifications like Maybe when a new user registers




Making a good looking dashboard in CSS and HTML is tricky. Lets mock it out, and maybe it is good enough to just have it in Excel, then connect to the live db.

Also lets explore to see if interactivity is easy to accomplish

eg focus down on a date range of date eg todays 500 only downloads

Interactive Tools (Slicers) Dynamic labelling

Separate worksheets for

  • Data
  • Analysis (preferably one sheet for each PivotTable)
  • Dashboard


  • Excel Tables
  • PivotTables
  • PivotCharts
  • Names for - PivotTables, Ranges, Worksheets
  • MapCharts (Excel 2016)

She is using Excel 2016. Slicers need 2010 onwards.

I’m using Excel 2019 2110 Build 16.0.14527.20270 64-bit. Fully updated on Win 10 as of 10th Nov 2021.


Alt H O I auto format column widths

Ctrl T Format as an Excel Table. Essentially this tells Excel to treat the data like a DB.

To make managing and analyzing a group of related data easier, you can turn a range of cells into an Excel table (previously known as an Excel list).


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A simple CSV list of values pasted in, then formatted the first column as a date, now an Excel Table.

Table Design, name the table: Data and the worksheet data.


First PivotTable will be data for Sales by Chain

In the table, click Summerise with PivotTable, new worksheet

Call worksheet Line Pivot, and PivotTable Line Pivot

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Excel 2019 automatically grouped the dates when I selected Month.

Can Ctrl z to undo that.

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Now get Columns and Data

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formatting Grand Total using separators, and 0 decimal places.

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End of result of the data we’re going to use to build the line chart.


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PivotTable and a PivotChart

  • X Axis - Time - grouped by Years and Month
  • Y Axis - Sum of Sales
  • Series - 2 different Chains

Right click and Hide All Field Buttons on Chart. As we’re going to use Slices to control filtering

  • button put legend on top.

Add chart title

Hold Shift to keep aligned

Webserver Data

My end goal is to make an dashboard for webserver data, so lets look at it.

I copied the data from SSMS and pasted in.

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A format I used to save the data from a specific application. Notice the LoginId, Email and RoleName which comes from the application layer not the webserver.

Formatted the date column as:

yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss.000 worked for fractional dates for SQL Server DateTime.

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Notice instead of doing a sum, I’m doing a count of WebLogId (I guess it could be any column) to give me a total number of requests per day.

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This is a big win just to see requests per day on a chart! Doing on the Webserver would involve a JS Chart library, custom CSS, and something to display the data nicely to the side. Using Excel is much easier.

Sales by Category Br Chart

Which is going to be a bar chart.

To ensure all PivotTables share same source data and Pivot Cache is to copy. Use Ctrl left click

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Delete legend as we’ll be using a global legend.

Right click on Grand Total, sort smallest to largest, so chart goes largest to smallest!

Sales by Manager (by State)

Filter by Count - SQL

I want to show only pages (paths) that have had > 10 requests.

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Right click on columns in chart, value filter.

Top 10 is also a good one.

Seems like mulitple value filters are complicated. Probably better to do another way.

Pie Chart

She doesn’t like - probably a better chart.

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Right click, show values as % of Grand Total.

Pie Chart SQL

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Nice to see the percentage of HTTP1.1 vs 2.0 requests.


Needs 3 pivot tables

  • Total
  • Next Look
  • Fashions Direct

breaking the rule of keeping 1 pivot table per worksheet. Should probably do it!

Design, Subtotals off, Grand Totals off.

Sort state labels A-Z

Field Settings, Layout and Print, Show items with no data as we want to display an empty sparkline if no data.


Have put in Australia to be sure that Excel gets it right.

Design, Subtotals, Grand Totals - take off

Map charts don’t have a Pivot Chart equivalent, they are a regular chart.

Right click on Australia, Field Settings, Layout and Print,

  • Show item labels in tabular format
  • Repeat item labels

Copy data, paste as values

Insert Map, Filled Map

Now to point to back at the orig data.

Right click map, select data, Change A to C (or whatever columns)

Can now delete the pasted as values data.

Chart Design, Change Colour - monochromatic.

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First row is a grey background

Title: Big Fashion Group Sales Dashboard

Segoe UI Light, 22, White

Cut and paste the charts to the main dashboard.

Now for sparklines:

In col D14:

=IF('Sparklines Pivot'!A6="","",'Sparklines Pivot'!A6)

If == “” then “” else what it is.

In Col E14 to get All chains, we can use the map data which contains all data

press = in All Chains, then select Map, and click on the row

=GETPIVOTDATA("Sales",'Map Pivot'!$A$3,"State","ACT","Country","Australia")

then error handle

=IFERROR(GETPIVOTDATA("Sales",'Map Pivot'!$A$3,"State","ACT","Country","Australia"), "")

then handle hard coded state by refeerencing cell to the left in the dashboard, which gives the state.

=IFERROR(GETPIVOTDATA("Sales",'Map Pivot'!$A$3,"State",D14,"Country","Australia"), "")

Format Currency, 0 decimal places.

Conditional formatting, Data bars, Solid fill

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Conditional formatting, Manage Rules. Change colour (as blue means a specific chain here)


Select rows for sparkline

Insert, line

Bug with dynamic so select some space at the end

Change colour to black for all, orange for next look.

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The hardest so far to implement.


Insert Slicer (while a PivotChart is selected)

Turn off gridlines

Hmm for some reason my sliver only affects 1 chart.

Create Manual Legend

Rectangle Text Box, no fill, no outline

Shift to select mulitple

Ctrl Shift to copy and not move off the horizontal

Gradient fill for All Chains.

Axis, display units in thousands.

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Dynamic Labels for Pie Chart

Just need to concatenate text together

CHAR10 is a line break

Type in the &, then click on the Sum of Sales

=A4&CHAR(10)&GETPIVOTDATA("Sum of Sales",$A$3,"Chain","Fashions Direct")

But take out hard coded Fashions Direct

=A4&CHAR(10)&GETPIVOTDATA("Sum of Sales",$A$3,"Chain",A4)

and then the percentage

=A4&CHAR(10)&GETPIVOTDATA("Sum of Sales",$A$3,"Chain",A4)&CHAR(10)&GETPIVOTDATA("Sales %",$A$3,"Chain",A4)

but then wrap the getpivotdata in a text to tell Excel how to format it:

=A4&CHAR(10)&TEXT(GETPIVOTDATA("Sum of Sales",$A$3,"Chain",A4), "$#,###" )&CHAR(10)&TEXT(GETPIVOTDATA("Sales %",$A$3,"Chain",A4), "0%")

Home, Wrap Text to wrap

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Now we can reference these labels in our pie chart.

Insert, Shape, Text Box, into pie chart.

Select text box, press =, click on lable in Pie Pivot

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Select first slicer, right click, Report Connections, select all Pivot Tables

If can’t see all the pivot tables you are expecting:

  • For a slicer to control all pivot tables, the pivot tables must control the same source data.

  • Sometimes you can create more than 1 picot cache. Solution is to copy one of the pivit tables which is in the list, and re-create that PivotTable and PivotChart.

Financial year slicer - want to connect all PivotTable/Chart to it State slicer - all except Map. As the map is not a PivotMap.

todo - maybe Excel2019 does dynamic name ranges for charts? Or maybe there is a PivotChart Map?

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It all works - very impressive. Notice that we are talking in FY’s.

See formatting below on how to get rid of gridlines, sheet tags etc.

Updating the data

Patch in the August data.

Normall she would use PowerQuery, and get it automatically

Can paste the data directly under the existing data.

Data Tab, Refresh All.

Wow - very impressive


Page Layouts, Themes, Parcel is good.


Alignment is very important.

Group elements toether so can move as one

Selet all Slicers, Align Left.

hold down ctrl, then use arrow keys to move something

Rename slicers

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View Tab, get rid of headings

File, Options, Advanced, Display

  • Show horizontal scroll bar
  • Show vertical scroll bar
  • Show sheet tags

Dashboard Protection

Slicer, Size and Properties, Disable sizing and moving.

Other ways to hide stuff too.

Embed on Web Page

Covers that on her excel dashboard course. looks like you can do it with hosting the sheet in Office 365.


show raw data

Slicer on email - then can see everything that person has son Slicer on type eg FaceSearch

slicer on dates

IP address

  • country, town ideally!
  • an easy API?
    • cache the results on my server