Admins / Users

Creating Dashboards in Salesforce

By Andreea Doroftei

As your Salesforce journey continues, mastering dashboards and reports will become a natural step following your understanding of the Salesforce data model. Once you’re able to create Report Types and Reports that display either standard or custom object record data based on filters, you’ll be ready to move forward with Salesforce dashboards.

In this post we’ll investigate the definition of a Salesforce dashboard and the different components required, as well as the process for creating your very own dashboard from scratch (in Lightning Experience).

What Are Dashboards in Salesforce?

A Salesforce Dashboard is a simple way to visualize key data from either one or multiple Salesforce reports, and can help to “identify trends, sort out quantities, and measure the impact of their activities”.

As a core out-of-the-box Salesforce feature, dashboards are supported in both Salesforce Classic and Lightning Experience (as seen below).

Dashboard Components

Similar to the options available when adding a chart to a report, when adding a dashboard widget, you will be prompted to choose between a number of available chart options. If the source report already has a chart added, you can also opt to keep the chart settings from there: “Use chart settings from report”.

Note: Make sure that the source reports you wish to use in your dashboard have groupings – and enough groupings to support the type of component you wish to use on the dashboard!

In the example above, the report I chose only had one grouping, which is why the stacked bar charts were not available.

Based on the reports you’re using and the data you want to display on your dashboard, choosing the right chart can be key to increasing adoption. Just to name a couple of examples, gauge charts are ideal for tracking progress against sales monetary targets, while a donut chart can easily display the open Leads by “status”.

READ MORE: Dynamic Gauge Charts for Salesforce Dashboards

Unclear about which chart component should be used and when? Check out Salesforce’s Lightning Design System for guidance.

Source: Charts

How to Create a Dashboard in Salesforce

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to get hands on! In our use case, a sales manager would like to see how his team is performing. Specifically, he is interested in seeing the total Opportunity amount associated with his team, and how much each member has contributed, as well as a view of each sales rep’s Opportunities broken down by “stage”.

Check Your Reports

Before getting started with the actual dashboard, it’s important to ensure your reports are in place and available for the audience to access. In this use case, all the requirements could be captured in a single Opportunity report. I’ve decided to store it in the public folder so that all internal users can access it.

Set up the Dashboard

As mentioned above, this use case was easy and straightforward, which is why all the data we need is in one report. So, to display the key information the sales manager is looking for, we’ll use the same report for three different dashboard components.

33 STEPS

1. Starting from any page, locate the Dashboards tab on the Navigation bar and click on it.

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2. Click New Dashboard.

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3. Type “Sales Manager Overview” for the Dashboard Name.

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4. (Optional) Click Description.

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5. Private Dashboards will be the default folder when creating Dashboards. Click Select Folder to choose a different one.

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6. If none of the existing folders is suitable for this Dashboard, click New Folder.

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7. You need to enter a Folder Label only, as the unique name will be automatically completed. Click Save.

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8. Click Select Folder.

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9. Click Create.

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10. Now that the Dashboard is created and stored in the right folder, it’s time to add the widgets. Click Add Component.

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11. Click the report you want to use as a source.

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12. Click Select.

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13. Since the first requirement is to show the Amount, click Metric Chart.

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14. Scroll down and click Title, as we’ll change it to something else.

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15. Click Subtitle.

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16. Click Footer if you’d also like to include one.

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17. Click Add.

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18. Let’s resize the component by dragging the corner.

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19. Click Add Component to add the next widget.

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20. Click the report you want.

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21. Click Select.

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22. For this one we’re keeping the bar chart, but let’s click X next to Opportunity Owner.

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23. For Y-Axis, select Opportunity Owner.

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24. Once again, we will change the Title.

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25. Click Add.

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26. Once the components are resized and placed to your liking, click Add Component.

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27. Choose one last time the report.

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28. Click Select.

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29. This time, let’s click Stacked Horizontal Bar Chart.

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30. For Y-Axis, select Opportunity Owner. For Stack by, leave Stage as is.

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31. After changing the Title, click Add.

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32. After all components are placed on the canvas, click Save.

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33. If you’re happy with the result, click Done.

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Here’s an interactive tutorial

** Best experienced in Full Screen (click the icon in the top right corner before you begin) **

https://www.iorad.com/player/1948644/How-to—Create-Salesforce-Dashboards-1

Visualize the Data

After adding all the desired components, the dashboard is ready to be shared! Don’t forget to train the sales manager (and any other users using the dashboards you create), especially when it comes to refreshing the data – you can do this by using the “refresh” button on the right-hand corner of the dashboard page.

Enhance the User Experience

There’s a simple way to enhance the user experience – you can display a dashboard as a tab on the Lightning app’s navigation bar (as long as editing is permitted when setting up the app).

11 STEPS

1. The first step is to open the Dashboard you have just created and click Add favorite.

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2. Click the pen located at the end of the Navigation Bar.

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3. This will open a list of all the Navigation items, where you can reorder them or add more. Click Add More Items.

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4. Since the Dashboard was just added to my favorites, it appears by default. When you’ll have more items or switching to All you will need to search the item. Click the + sign next to the Dashboard name.

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5. Click Add 1 Nav Item.

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6. Drag and Drop the Dashboard wherever you see fit, then click Save.

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7. A confirmation message appears that the navigation bar was updated.

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8. To test that we can successfully access the Dashboard, let’s click Home.

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9. Once the Homepage loads, click the Dashboard tab we just added.

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10. Once the Dashboard opens, click Refresh.

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11. That’s it, your Dashboard is loaded and the data is refreshed.

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Here’s an interactive tutorial

** Best experienced in Full Screen (click the icon in the top right corner before you begin) **

https://www.iorad.com/player/1948677/How-to—Create-Salesforce-Dashboards-2

Dynamic Dashboards

One feature definitely worth mentioning (which we didn’t use when building the sales manager’s overview dashboard) is the out-of-the-box dynamic dashboard functionality.

Simply put, this feature allows you to choose the running user of a dashboard – by default, this is set to the person creating the dashboard, but it can be changed at any point in time.

These options become extremely helpful when the sharing model for a certain object is set to private, but users who shouldn’t otherwise view all the data need to access data on certain dashboard widgets. As highlighted above, here are the options an admin has when making a dashboard ‘dynamic’:

  • Another person: This can be any active Salesforce user with permissions to run reports and dashboards – viewers will see all data this user has access to. Keep in mind that this may open up data that they would not usually be able to access, so be careful using this!
  • The dashboard viewer: This option will automatically change the running user to the person who is looking at the dashboard – they will see only the data and fields they have at least “read access” to.

Key Information

  • Each dashboard can support a maximum of 20 components.
  • The same report can be used for one or multiple components.
  • Dynamic Dashboards are limited to a maximum of ten, five, or three per org based on the edition.

As these features might evolve over time, make sure you continue to check out the official Salesforce documentation.

Summary

The out-of-the-box “Salesforce Dashboards” functionality combines accessibility, ease of use, and capabilities, making it a very widely used, close-to-ideal feature.

Being able to juggle Salesforce’s reporting module is an absolute must for both aspiring admins and the more senior trailblazers who are well into their journey. The reason is simple – as long as users are working in Salesforce, they are bound to use at least one report, if not more!

Feel free to tackle examples provided by Salesforce in the Reports & Dashboards for Lightning Experience Trailhead module. And don’t forget to keep an eye on the documentation and release notes, as more dashboard-related features will certainly become available in the future.

The Author

Andreea Doroftei

Andreea is a Salesforce Technical Instructor at Salesforce Ben. She is an 18x certified Salesforce Professional with a passion for User Experience and Automation. 

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