10 techniques for building a Google Sheets dashboard

You’re probably familiar with using Google Sheets to organize and analyze your data. But did you know you can build a dynamic Google Sheets dashboard to really understand your data?

With a handful of powerful techniques, you can add some pizzazz and dynamism to the presentation of your data. Here are ten tricks to try next time you’re building a Google Sheets dashboard.

Google Sheets dashboard for digital marketing
Google Sheets dashboard for digital marketing, covered in my online course

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How to create CSS pie charts in Geckoboard dashboards with data from Google sheets

I’ve been working on an interesting project for a client recently, creating a custom Geckoboard dashboard for sales and financial data from Google spreadsheets. Geckoboard pairs well with Google sheets; it’s a fast and cost-effective way of visualizing your data.

One of the client requests on this project was a pie chart to display the data for sales sources. At the moment, Geckoboard doesn’t come with a pre-built pie chart option for data that comes from Google sheets (full list of Google sheets widgets here). So, unless you build a custom back-end widget to get data from Google’s API, which is a fairly complex project, you’re out of luck. Hang on a minute though, there is a way!

Geckoboard pie chart with legend
A Geckoboard Text Widget displaying a pie chart with legend

There’s a crafty workaround you can use to create a pie chart in your Geckoboard using a text-widget, which pulls data from a Google spreadsheet and updates dynamically along with the rest of your charts.

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Creating a dynamic d3 visualization from the GitHub API

GitHub Repo Visualization
Try out the GitHub Repo Visualization here

As someone who works with data on a daily basis, I’m always impressed and inspired by interactive charts and dashboards. I’ve built plenty of dynamic dashboards within Excel (here) and, more recently, within Google spreadsheets (here, here and here), but never my own custom web charts. I’ve wanted to learn d3 for a while, but until recently didn’t have the necessary Javascript chops to do this.

This year I’ve focussed on deepening my coding skills, so I’ve finally been able to give d3 a proper go. And let me tell you, it’s brilliant. It’s exciting to hook up a data source to a custom chart that changes dynamically, and be able to see it on a live website, which other people can view.

In this post, I’m going to discuss the steps I took to create this d3 visualization of the GitHub API.

The app is live here!
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Building a dynamic dashboard for a 3-day digital flash sale

This time last year I worked with The Write Life during their three-day sale of The Writer’s Bundle, a collection of digital products for writers. I built a dynamic dashboard using Google spreadsheets so the team could visually monitor progress throughout the sale.

This year The Writer’s Bundle 2015 was bigger and better than ever, so I wanted to create an even more useful dashboard for the team. The dashboard was a key tool for the team, to monitor both overall and individual sales channel performance, as well as to be a motivating force by giving everyone a visual sense of progress.

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