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10 Rookie mistakes to avoid when making dashboards



Are you making these 10 rookie mistakes when creating dashboards?

Watch below to video to understand what these mistakes and how to avoid them.

10 Rookie mistakes to avoid when making dashboards [23 mins]

10 Rookie mistakes to avoid when making dashboards - watch the video

More resources on Excel dashboards

Excel dashboards – Information, examples & tutorials
Creating a KPI dashboard using Excel – 6 part tutorial
Sales dashboards – 32 examples & downloads

Do you make any of these mistakes?

When I made my first dashboard in Excel (a balance scorecard for our department), I made almost all of these mistakes. Today, I am more careful. But I still forget to do print settings or make small mistakes when I create dashboards.

What about you? What mistakes are you making when you construct dashboards? Please share using comments.


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13 Responses to “10 Rookie mistakes to avoid when making dashboards ”

  1. Great presentation. I cannot agree more on the no formula error handling. I think that's a huge problem across all areas of Excel development. Aside from being ugly, spreadsheet errors are often the culprit of major spreadsheet calculation slowdown.

  2. PPH says:

    I think the red tape infographic went over your head a bit, but otherwise good vid and tips.

  3. Oz says:

    My rookie mistake was the 3-D, delicious, super fantastic, slick dashboard ... that slowed down the whole document. That thing came to a slow slow drag.

    You know what had me realize that the graphics were the problem?

    I printed the dashboard to see how it looked on paper. After several prints I realized how much of my ink was being wasted. I went back to 2-D graphics and the document went back to normal speed.

  4. Sreekhosh says:

    HI Chandoo,

    Excellent presentation. These tips are very useful for one who gonna build a dashboard. And i am agreeing with Jordan, I think in some cases we cannot avoid formulas from the dashboard.

    Aligning the charts and object by pressing alt key is awesome.. bcoz i took lot of strain to align charts properly.


  5. Jon says:

    Thanks for that.... I'll be passing this along to my co-workers 🙂

    The Alt key is particularly helpful and the bit on fonts and colors is something I kind of noticed in my work when I violated it, but could never pinpoint what was wrong

  6. lockdalf says:

    @ Chandoo... I have got an 'I' for you for the disco you wanted... and it is really simple... 'Instructions'... Especially if you are developing a Dashboard for someone else's use...

    Otherwise a big thanks for the great presentation... (even with the sounds in the background...)

  7. Ganesh says:

    Hi Chandoo. Thanks for the information. Its really help a lot..

  8. LeonK says:

    Spreadsheet Standards Review Board (SSRB)

    Until discovering it on your site, I never created anything to a logical standard and wasted ages trying to understand what I'd done to a data model or complex workbook from 6 months ago before I could even begin to modify it. Then you published a blog regarding standards and from that day, I have created data models (spreadsheets/dashboards or everything that uses EXCEL) to the standards set out by SSRB.

    By the way, could I have the link to that blog as I'd like to now review it?

    Thanks Chandoo,


    • LeonK says:

      Found it - Searched for SSRB :-0. Additionally, ISO 9000 suite as well; really heavy reading but internet greatly speeds things up by outlining salient points.

      As an information analyst, I have found that using these not only leads to professional modelling and easier knowledge sharing within the team but also offers a great deal of assurance to customers who come back.

  9. 3G says:

    This is great. The irony I encounter daily though, is that people WANT the flash & the 3D charts. I try to explain it gently that those fancy charts (i.e. the Dial, speedometer, etc) really don't do a good job of communicating truth, people tell me they don't care and want them anyway. *Sigh*. They make me nauseous though (the charts, that is 🙂

    I've printed these out and hung them on my desk! Thanks Chandoo!

    • Oz says:

      3G you must deal with some pretty fancy people.

      My clients really didn't care about the colorful slick dashboards. They did care when the graphics were so heavy that it would take 5 seconds for a page to scroll.

    • LeonK says:

      Hey 3G,

      I had the same issue when I got into informatics a few years ago. Before I found Chandoo.org, 3 books by Stephen Few, 'Information Dashboard Designs' in particular, were invaluable for substituting what the customer thought they wanted and provided the rationale to convince them not only that they should use the recommendations but that you really knew what you were talking about.

      Measured through feedback and return business, the efficacy of the recommended products has always been very good and I have never had to use 3D, Pie charts or superfluous graphics.

  10. Rahim Zulfiqar Ali says:

    Can you please share PPT or PDF for this presentation. Thanks

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