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Common Digital Dashboard Layouts

While business dashboards can adopt many distinct designs in terms of look and feel, there are a core number of basic layouts that they tend to follow. I suppose this comes from grid-based design in general and the prevalence of the template approaches in popular presentation layer technologies such as tiles and struts.

When designing custom layouts for dashboard applications built in-house or creating a custom layout in an off-the-shelf dashboarding software product, I tend to follow the 3 or 4 column approach with portlets of various sizes spanning the different columns as needed. Can’t picture what I mean?

Take a look at this dashboard layout picker from a dashboard software package (iDashboards 5.0).

idashboards dashboard layout

What is your most commonly used layout? Do you mostly arrange portlets containing charts and graphs of various metrics and KPIs? If so, maybe you choose the 3×3 layout for 9 charts. More likely, you mix up wider portlets for text content.

It would be interesting to find out how these various digital dashboard layouts are ranked in terms of usage.

Click on the “read more” link below to see how the iDashboards software product handles the dashboard layout selection process. Screenshots of the dashboards can be found below.

Here is the sequence of actions for creating a new dashboard in iDashboards.

First, take a look at the default sales dashboard that comes with iDashboards:

idashboards sales dashboard default template

As you see, it has a 3 column by 2 row configuration for the portlets. It has the following metrics:

  • Top 10 Shipping Customers
  • Market Share
  • Sales by State
  • Top 3 Products
  • Sales Performance
  • Sales by Province

Note the bottom leftmost section where you will find a “Menu” button. If you click it, you get the following panel where you can select a new dashboard and pick out the desired layout per the screenshot we saw earlier:

idashboards menu dashboard layout picker

If you pick the 2 row layout, you will get the following dashboard template:

Blank Dashboard Template

At this point, you can populate the top portlet of the dashboard with a graph.

Add chart to dashboard iDashboards 5.0 configuration

Use the SQL Custom Query tool to select your data for the chart.

idashboards sql query window

Here is the resulting chart in the top portlet of the dashboard:

idashboards portlet graph

Tags: iDashboards 5.0 Screenshot, idashboards layout configuration, digital dashboards

This is a post by The Dashboard Spy as part of the Dashboards By Example blog. Check out the following Business Intelligence resources:

Dashboards by Example Volume 1
Business Intelligence White Papers

For more information visit Common Digital Dashboard Layouts

Filed under: Dashboard, Excel Dashboard, Excel Dashboard Software, Featured, IT, Service

Excel Dashboard Tutorials

Excel for dashboards? Yes, Microsoft Excel is an excellent starting point for business intelligence visualization. It’s everywhere in the enterprise and is a good way to start an organization down the dashboard path.

Chandoo, the Pointy Haired Dilbert, consistently offers amazing Excel Dashboarding Tips over at his blog at He has a set of 4 great excel dashboard tutorials contributed by one of his faithful readers, Robert from Munich. These excel dashboard lessons are great and come with downloadable excel dashboard worksheets.

Take a look at these screenshots and visit Chandoo for the corresponding lessons.

Post 1 – Implementing a Scrolling Excel Dashboard Table

Create a scrolling dashboard portlet in excel

Post 2 – Add Sorting to the Excel Dashboard

Sort an Excel Dashboard Table

Post 3 – Add Percentile Information to the Excel Dashboard

Excel Dashboards with Quartiles

Post 4 – Excel Dashboards for Data Visualization

Dashboards in Excel with Microcharts for Data Visualization

Very nice job Robert and Chandoo. Thanks!

The Dashboard Spy

For more information visit Excel Dashboard Tutorials

Filed under: Dashboard, Excel Dashboard, Excel Dashboard Software, Featured, IT, Service

Data Visualization: Voting Down the Bailout

Use of color is the key to this data visualization. Take a close look and you’ll realize that the gray color indicates a “yes” vote. It shows not only who voted “nay” on the 0 billion financial bailout plan, but also shows the breakdown between the Republican and Democratic representatives.

This information graphic appeared on View it at this link: The No Votes – Details on the House of Representatives Bailout Vote.

Click on the image below to enlarge the information visualization graphic:

New York Times Info Graphic: The No Votes - House of Representatives Rejects 0 Billion Bailout

New York Times Info Graphic: The No Votes – House of Representatives Rejects 0 Billion Bailout

For more information visit Data Visualization: Voting Down the Bailout

Filed under: Dashboard, Excel Dashboard, Excel Dashboard Software, Featured, IT, Service

Washington State Economic Dashboard

As we saw with the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board Dashboard, Washington State takes the issues of accounting and transparency quite seriously.

They have a program called GMAP – Government Management Accountability and Performance. It was set up as an approach for the Governor and her cabinet agencies to track spending and tie it to performance. The business intelligence dashboard is a primary tool used by the various agencies to measure and manage their programs.

While some of the BI dashboards used are online (see above for the link to the transportation dashboard), others exist as powerpoint dashboards.

The powerpoint-based dashboard is titled The Next Washington and it consists of a series of slides with various metrics and economic indicators on them.

Here is a screenshot of one particular page with the “Economic Vitality Dashboard”. Click on the dashboard screenshot to enlarge it.

Washington State's Economic Vitality Dashboard

Washington State’s Economic Vitality Dashboard

The powerpoint is distributed via email as well as posted on the State’s website.

Tags: Washington State Economic Vitality Dashboard, Washington GMAP Dashboard

For more information visit Washington State Economic Dashboard

Filed under: Dashboard, Excel Dashboard, Excel Dashboard Software, Featured, IT, Service

Benefits of Excel Dashboards

Download Excel dashboards Now

Be a Dashboard Super Hero


“VOW!” Your Boss and Management:

Dashboards will help your Boss look better in front of his own boss (that is your super boss). Yep, the word will spread around. Believe me, Dashboards have that power. If managers like to read your reports, they read them more quickly and carefully, and they learn more about your organization’s performance.

Gain Clarity and Faster Insight:


Using many small charts communicates complex information more quickly. Build a combination of tables and charts including Bar, Pie, Gauges, Speedometers

Show Any Data:


Use it to derive intelligence for Human resource, Sales, Marketing, Finance and Manufacturing

Heterogenous Data

: Pull information from any number of disconnected Excel Files, MS Access Database, Oracle, SQL server, MySQL, DB2 etc.

Drill from Excel Files into MS Access or Access to Excel. Create a drop down parameter using Excel data and use it to filter Access or Oracle or MSSQL or any database. The combinations are unlimited.

Zero Coding

: You can create professional-quality reports without any coding knowledge. You do not need to know Excel formulas or Macros or VBA coding. You do need any SQL knowledge. Just Drag and Drop

Give Managers More Control Over Their dashboard reports:


Create interactive Dashboard report where you can change the parameter value and instantly see the results refreshed.

Use Dashboards that refresh themselves

Save Time and Money

: Invest initial time on creating the dashboard and then just refresh it each week or month. You will see a guaranteed boost in your productivity.


Download Excel dashboards Now

For more information visit Benefits of Excel Dashboards

Filed under: Dashboard, Excel Dashboard, Excel Dashboard Software, Featured