Back to Basics: Building Dashboards

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Welcome the seventh edition of the Back to Basics series!  The Back to Basics series comprises the topics that will help get you to get started in your Salesforce journey but will also serve as a reminder for seasoned users who want to revisit Salesforce core functionality.

Last week I wrote about creating Reports.  This week’s edition is an introduction to creating Dashboards in Salesforce Classic.



With the wealth of information in your Salesforce Org, it is vital that your Users know how to view the data relevant to them and important to them.  One of the most valuable functions in Salesforce is the reporting function.  Not only do you have access to a whole host of pre-built Dashboards which you can run as is or customize, you have the ability to create Custom Dashboards specific to Users’ requirements.

There will undoubtedly be requirements for Users to have access to Reports and Dashboards and to use this information as the basis for meetings with managers.  The first step to complete before building any Reports or Dashboards for Users is to find out what their reporting needs are.  Start at the top: what do the C-suite want to see?  What do the Managers want to see?  By starting at the top, you will cut out having to create unnecessary Reports for teams/Users further down the Org hierarchy.

A particular group of Users for whom Reports and Dashboards are of the highest importance are Sales teams.  They need accurate, up to date information at their fingertips and they need to be able to access that information quickly and easily.  It is likely that they will want to access certain Dashboards while they are on the road or just before a client visit.  With this in mind, you will want to ensure that the Dashboards you create are optimized for mobile devices.

There are many Blogs that already exist on this topic so for this Blog, I wanted to show a different use case for Dashboards – Dashboards for the Salesforce Admin.


Dashboards are a fantastic way to collate numerous Reports together in one place.  Note: you need the Run Reports and Manage Dashboards permission.

Assuming we have already created Reports we want to add to our Dashboard (from the previous Blog titled “Back to Basics: Building Reports“) lets go ahead and start creating a new Dashboard for Salesforce Admin team to use to monitor the ownership of records.  The team will use this Dashboard to see what records are owned by End Users who have recently left the company and whose Salesforce accounts have been frozen but not yet deactivated.  This allows the End User’s manager to decide who should be the new owner of all the records and for the Salesforce Admin team to reassign all the records before deactivating their account.

In this Dashboard, I want to show Reports for the main Objects: Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, Cases, Open Activities and Open Leads.

First things first, let’s create a new Dashboard.  Click the Dashboard Tab (or if it is not on your Tab bar, click the + icon as mentioned previously).

The default action when you click the Dashboard tab is for you to be taken to the last Dashboard you viewed.  To go to the full list of Dashboards available, click Go to Dashboard List [1] then click New Dashboard.

Salesforce Dashboard 2

You will now see a blank canvas which you can start customising to meet your requirements.

First, I need to decide what components I want to show on my Dashboard.  Do I want a Pie Chart, Bar Chart, Gauge, Line Graph etc.?  For this example, I want to show the results as a Metric view so I add the Metric component [1] six times as I have six Reports I want to add.

Salesforce Dashboard 3

Next, I need to add the Reports (or Data Sources as they are referred to in Dashboards) to the Dashboard.  To do this, I click the Data Sources tab [2] and search for my Reports.  If like me, you have numerous Reports, then the best way to find the Report you need is to use the Quick Find search box.  By typing in the name of your Report, you quickly narrow down the results.  My first Report is named Accounts by Owner and once I’ve found that Report, I click on the name and drag it to the first component.  I repeat this step another five times using Quick Find box to source the Report names.


The Dashboard now has the data we need however, we need to ensure each component is labelled correctly.

You can add Headers and Footers to each component by clicking the Edit Header and Edit Footer text on the component.  The Source text will remind you what the Header and/or Footer should be.


Now we have added our Data Sources and Headers and Footers, the next step is to save and run the Dashboard to check our results.  Click Save then name your Dashboard by completing the Title field [1].  Note that the Dashboard Unique Name auto populates [2].  Choose which folder you want to save your Dashboard in by selecting the appropriate folder from the Save to drop down menu [3].

Salesforce Dashboard 5

Now we are ready to click Save and Run Dashboard!

To view the records owned by specific End Users, you will have to change the Running User.  Note: see the User Permissions Needed table on page 1 to see the permissions required to enable this.  Click in the Viewing As search box and type the name of the End User.  The name will appear as you type.  Click the name and watch the results change!

This is a fantastic Dashboard to have in the Salesforce Admin toolkit!

Look out for my next Blog which gives a review of my very first Dreamforce!

Useful links:

Choose a Dashboard Running User

For a list of sample Dashboards, go to this page

One thought on “Back to Basics: Building Dashboards

  1. When I click on the “Choose a Dashboard Running User” link above, it takes me to: “” and I get “Invalid language code. Check that the language is included in your Knowledge language settings.”

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