In this guide, we are going to show you how to build a Google Sheets dashboard in 3 easy steps and also talk about the drawbacks of using Google Sheets for creating dashboards.
But before we do that, let's answer a simple question.
A Google Sheets dashboard is nothing but live and dynamic charts that you can edit in real-time.
With GSheets, you can create multiple dashboards for free. But there's a catch; it's not primarily a KPI dashboard software - which means it doesn’t have dashboard-specific features to track KPIs.
You have to do a lot of things manually (which you will see later in this article) and give a lot of time to create a single dashboard, let alone multiple.
But if you're a small business that doesn't have the funds to spend a dime on KPI tracking software, you might as well use Google Sheets.
Let’s walk you through the process of dashboard creation on Google Sheets.
To track any KPI, the first thing you need is a database. When it comes to Google Sheet, you have two data sources to extract data from:
Whatever method you use, automating database creation isn’t the strong suit of Google Sheet - there are limited options.
For this article, we will take 'Monthly lead conversion' as an example database.
Note: The list of values you see in the image below are just for example consideration.
The data you see above is quite simple and straightforward, but if you're dealing with complex data, maybe from Google Analytics and have thousands of rows, you can use the following Google Sheets features to sort and quickly analyze it.
So you have your database ready, now is the time to get to the main part.
Creating charts in Google Sheets is easy. Just select the range of values (or range of cells) you want to make the chart of. Go to Insert and click on Chart.
With GSheets, you can customize your chart via chart editor. You can:
It's time to bring raw data to life - we mean converting the graph you just created into a custom dashboard.
There are two ways you can convert your chart into a dashboard on Google Sheets.
When you go for this method, Google Sheets generates a sharable link and publishes your chart on the web. You can share this link with your team members. This also allows you to manage permission of who can edit and view the dashboard.
But there's a major drawback with the publishing method. When you edit your raw data, the dashboard will take forever to reflect those changes.
To solve this problem, the best way to make a Google Sheets dashboard is by using another method. Let's tell you what that is.
Although you will have to keep toggling between tabs time and again, this method reflects changes in real-time.
You can simply click the three dots you see on the top right-hand corner of the chat and select the 'Move to own sheet' option. What this will do is create a new tab in the same sheet and move your charge there.
You can then see how quickly it reflects changes when you change values in raw data.
Congratulations, you have created a dashboard successfully.
But wait, there’s more!
For any business, tracking 1 KPI isn't enough. So to track multiple KPIs on Google Sheets, you need to repeat the procedure above and keep creating charts and making a dashboard, as shown in step 3.
We know this is labor work, but there's no way around it. After spending 30-40 mins, here’s a dashboard we created.
Here’s the final version of what our dashboard on Google Sheets looks like.
You might think that being one of Google’s hardcore services, Google Sheets must have some sought-after features. But here’s the biggest drawback.
Google Sheets provides next to no automation. For example, if you plan to automate your data extraction and management process, Google Sheets won't help you with any automation to support the cause.
It requires you to manually input and edit every piece of data to your Google Sheet dashboard. However, you can create custom automation by writing a script (some code) or using add-ons such as Zapier to keep your data live.
But again, too much extra work just to import data to your dashboard.
Are you creating this dashboard just for your convenience? Or, do you want your team to collaborate with you on crucial metrics and KPIs?
You might wish to add people from different departments to gather constructive feedback or share performance with stakeholders. But here’s the thing.
While Google Sheets is an excellent collaborative tool that allows your team to add data quickly, it slows down once many collaborators are on board. Unfortunate but true!
Google Sheets has a comparably poor interface for managing team activities. It puts you in a blind spot when it comes to project management.
Even some of the day-to-day functions like task management, time tracking, communication, and cataloging of the internal database cannot be achieved with Google Sheets dashboards.
Thus, while creating dashboards with Google Sheets, you must maintain complete documentation of your team activities.
Unlike other pocket-friendly dashboarding software in the market, Google Sheets is far from the competition.
Google Sheets dashboards are poorly optimized for mobile devices. That means the features available on its mobile version are comparably lesser than what its desktop version offers.
On another note, since Google Sheets lacks automation, managing tons of data under your fingertips gets you prone to errors.
As an organization grows, so does its database. Hence, it’s expected for any data management software to scale as your business grows.
However, the number of rows and columns in Google Sheets is limited to 10 Million cells.
The number might sound friendly for small teams, but for large organizations that collect millions of data daily, the scarcity of cells might cause a halt in their overall process.
Thus, it can be difficult for large organizations to continue using Google Sheets for data visualization and analysis.
Another drawback of Google Sheets is its integrations with third-party platforms.
Google Sheets works best within Google’s workspace - Google Docs, Google Drive, etc.
However, if you are already set up with other applications, you might notice it takes extra time and effort to transfer or export data to Google Sheets.
Till now, you might have understood how hard it is to build a dashboard on Google Sheets. Lucky for you, we have an easy, quick, and hassle-free solution for it.
Datapad is a pocket-friendly KPI tracking dashboard and analytics tool that helps entrepreneurs track, analyze, and manage critical business KPIs from their mobile phones.
Being new to the market, Datapad offers an automated solution for your dashboarding and performance measurement needs.
Unlike Google Sheets, dashboards created with Datapad are highly responsive. They can be easily viewed and accessed on small screens.
Creating a dashboard with Datapad is like walking in the park. It’s just a 4 step process.
All you have to do is:
Here’s a video that will guide you through.
Now that you know how to create a dashboard with Datapad, it’s time to explore the features that Datapad offers.
Datapad excels in satisfying your end-to-end customization needs. Its user-centric design and intuitive drag-and-drop functionality allow you to customize your dashboard completely.
From text to colors and widgets to KPI cards, you can customize everything via your smartphones (no coding required)
Quoting a software as pocket-friendly is a big statement. However, we don’t mind calling Datapad pocket-friendly. Here’s why.
Datapad is designed to provide a seamless mobile experience to its users. The platform is built with preciseness and for seamless functioning on all known small screen devices.
So even if you’re distanced from your laptop or having coffee in the mountains. Datapad got you covered in every aspect of KPI tracking and management at your fingertips.
With Datapad’s mobile-friendly app, you can:
Being a mobile-friendly tool, Datapad lets you stay connected with your dashboard even when you’re off-screen.
You don’t need to stay connected or keep asking for the updated version of essential metrics. Instead, you and your team will receive a notification whenever there is an update in your chosen KPI.
For example, if you are worried about the change in retention rate, you can set a notification alert for the same.
Now, in case of any change in trends or new updates in the KPI, you and your team would receive real-time notifications.
PS: All you need is a reliable internet connection.
With Datapad, effective team onboarding and collaboration are just a few clicks away.
The platform allows you to assign tasks to team members, set goals for them, and measure those goals in real-time.
It also enables you to communicate with your team about important KPIs easily. How?
You can start discussions around specific metrics by commenting and tagging people under each metric.
Suppose you get a notification about a change in new customer acquisition cost. In that case, you can comment under the metric and tag the person responsible for the metric to investigate the change.
Datapad’s robust data connectors and APIs help you quickly transfer data from multiple sources into one centralized dashboard.
Unlike Google Sheets, which requires you to update data manually, Datapad sets your data import process on auto-pilot so that you can focus on more critical tasks.
Plus, its one-click integration with Google Sheets offers a comprehensive approach to your dashboarding journey.
But this doesn’t stop you from importing data manually. Datapad gives you both options - you can either import data automatically or manually; your call!
With Datapad’s data import feature, you can:
Undoubtedly Google Sheets is an excellent dashboarding platform for small businesses and business owners with a micro team.
You can create a simple budget tracking dashboard to a complex activity dashboard. But, as you scale up the ladder, Google Sheets can be a headache.
Besides being a free database management tool, Google Sheets has some must-know limitations.
So if you’re looking for something similar yet better than Google Sheets for creating stunning dashboards, Datapad is your go-to KPI tool.
Note: We're currently doing 1-1 onboarding and setting everything up for you if you wish. If you want us to set up everything for you, just include "1-1 onboarding" in the sign-up form, and we will contact you.
Recommended reading: KPIs vs Metrics: Learn the Difference with Examples From 2022
Recommended reading: Best 16 Free Google Sheets Dashboard Templates 
You can quickly create dynamic dashboards in Google Sheets with three easy steps:
Step 1: Import/collect data from all available data sources
Step 2: Create tables/charts/ for every item you want to visualize
Step 3: Publish it to the web or use the move to own sheet option to track KPI
Yes, Google Data Studio is one of the dashboarding and visualization tools of Google that allows you to create interactive reports and dashboards for free.
Yes, Google Sheets can be utilized as a database for websites or small applications. Due to certain limitations, the cell limit (which is 10 Million) might not be adequate for large organizations.