February 14, 2024
Written By
Rand Owens
Founding team member at Motive (Formerly KeepTruckin) and passionate about all things Marketing, RevOps, and Go-To-Market. VP of Marketing @ Polymer Search.

How to Create a KPI Dashboard in Google Sheets

KPI dashboards help you make data-driven decisions easily by automating the number crunching and leading you straight to the performance metrics that matter. 

With Google Sheets, anyone can build a unique KPI dashboard connected to a handful of data sources—from email marketing tools to website analytics platforms. 

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about building KPI dashboards with Google Sheets, including steps, tips, and examples.

Table of Contents

  • What are KPI dashboards in Google Sheets?
  • Steps to create a KPI dashboard in Google Sheets
  • Step 1: Connect your data sources to Google Sheets
  • Step 2: Create and customize your charts and tables
  • Step 3: Assemble and format your dashboard layout in a separate sheet
  • A better alternative to Google Sheets for creating KPI dashboards
  • Move your data management forward

What are KPI dashboards in Google Sheets?

A Google Sheets KPI dashboard is a spreadsheet that tracks and visualizes key metrics that measure performance. Using dynamic data tables and visualizations, a KPI dashboard streamlines business decision-making by translating large data sets into actionable insights.

Examples of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 

KPIs—short for “Key Performance indicators”—are refined metrics that measure the performance of individuals, campaigns, departments, or the entire company. Some examples of commonly-used business KPIs are: 

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
  • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) 
  • Net Profit Margin (NPM)
  • Win rate
  • Market share
  • Upsell and cross-sell rates
  • Average Order Value (AOV)
  • Year-on-Year (YoY) growth
  • Leads by source
  • Leads by region
  • Quota attainment
  • Customer churn rate
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)   

Apart from data visualizations and tables, a Google Sheets dashboard also uses functions and formulas to automate calculations. These can also be referenced in dynamic charts and tables, enabling higher-ups to make quicker, data-driven decisions. 

Steps to create a KPI dashboard in Google Sheets

Here are the steps to create a dynamic KPI dashboard on Google Sheets: 

Step 1: Connect your data sources to Google Sheets

Use integrations to import and consolidate important performance data into Google Sheets. 

As part of Google Workspace, Google Sheets is widely supported by platforms for sales management, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), form builders, email marketing, and more. 

An easy way to connect a data source to Google Sheets is to install extensions. 

From Google Sheets, go to ‘Extensions,’ select ‘Add-ons,’ and click ‘Get add-ons.’ 

Image Source: Sheets.Google.com

Use the search bar to look for your data source. Once you find it, click through to its Google Workplace Marketplace page and click ‘Install.’ 

Image Source: Sheets.Google.com

Follow the on-screen instructions to finish linking your data source to Google Analytics. 

Image Source: Sheets.Google.com

Upon installation, open the ‘Extensions’ menu again and look for your data source sub-menu. You should be able to perform data management functions from there. 

For example, to import data from Google Analytics, go to ‘Extensions,’ select ‘Google Analytics,’ and click ‘Create new report.’ 

Image Source: Sheets.Google.com

Google Sheets extensions usually work via a sidebar where you can configure data imports.

With the Google Analytics extension, enter a name for your report, select your property, and configure how metrics will be collected. When done, click ‘Create Report’ to continue. 

Image Source: Sheets.Google.com

After creating the report, go back to the extensions menu, select ‘Google Analytics,’ and click ‘Run reports.’ 

Image Source: Sheets.Google.com

Your data source should now populate the pre-defined sheet with the requested data. 

Take note that the exact steps and format of data imports vary from platform to platform. For your reference, here’s how Google Analytics data are organized when imported to Google Sheets. 

Image Source: Sheets.Google.com

Automation platforms like Zapier and IFTTT also let you connect virtually any third-party tool to Google Sheets for streamlined data management. 

Using Zapier, create a new automation that adds new spreadsheet rows to your Google Sheets KPI dashboard whenever your website goal is met. 

Image Source: Zapier.com

For more ways to feed data to your dashboard, read our post on how to import data into Google Sheets.

Tips when importing data to Google Sheets

  • Manage multiple data sources in separate sheets. Organizing data ranges from different sources into separate sheets makes it easier to manage, organize, and update metrics. Remember, data sets from various sources typically use different formats. 
  • Check for direct integration first before using automation platforms. Direct third-party integrations and extensions make data imports on Google Sheets a breeze. Search the web or the in-app extension library before turning to automation platforms like Zapier. 
  • Label your sheet. Use clear labels for data sheets to help you find the metrics you need later. This also simplifies formulas that reference data ranges in other sheets. 
  • Clean up your data. If your data source feeds irrelevant metrics, consider deleting their columns or rows before referencing the data range. Check your data source to see if there’s an option to exclude those metrics in future exports. 

Step 2: Create and customize your charts and tables 

With your data ready, it’s time to put together your KPI dashboard.

Your first option is to use a KPI dashboard template to speed up the report generation process. It also gives you an idea of how to organize data in Google Sheets in case you wish to build a dashboard from scratch. 

How to create KPI dashboards with a Google Sheets template

Browse websites like Spreadsheet Point and Sheetgo for free KPI dashboard templates. 

This template, for example, gives you an overview of your company’s sales performance over the months. The dashboard comes with pre-built charts and dynamic tables that summarize your sales data. 

To import your data, look for sheets like “Data Sheet” in the template above.

The range is already structured, so you know where key pieces of data go. If necessary, you can customize the datasheet to accommodate the formatting of your data source (if any). 

This KPI dashboard template also lets you customize the drop-down menu categories. 

Feel free to customize headers and cells to fit your organization’s needs. Apart from the names of your sales team, define different product types, lead sources, and status categories. 

For more ideas, check out our list of 10 free Google Sheets dashboard templates.

Using templates allows you to construct your KPI dashboard in just a few clicks, especially if you use the perfect template and data source integrations. Without these two, you’ll need to modify the formulas, column headers, tables, and data visualizations to suit your data management goals. 

You also have to enter data manually into the pre-built data sheets. 

Still, using a template requires vastly less time than building your KPI dashboard from scratch. 

On the flip side, starting from a blank spreadsheet lets you tailor every element of your dashboard to your needs. 

How to create dashboards from scratch

It’s easy to create a Google Sheets dashboard. From your blank spreadsheet, start by creating two pages on your workbook: your main dashboard and your data sheet. More sheets can be added for additional data ranges and formulas later.

If you connected your data source to Google Sheets, you simply need to customize the imported data sheet. Ensure you know the KPIs you want to track, be it your MRR, CAC, YoY growth, or lead sources.

The next step is to create dynamic elements to make your data more readable. 

To create a chart, click ‘Insert’ and select ‘Chart.’ 

Google Sheets uses a pie chart by default. To use a different chart type, click the “Chart type” drop-down menu on the “Chart editor” panel. 

Some of the chart types you can create with Google Sheets are line charts, area charts, bar graphs, combo charts, gauges, and scatter plots. 

To customize your chart’s data, click the grid icon under “Data range” and select the data range you want to visualize. 

Use the additional fields to configure your data visualization. Bear in mind that the available options will depend on the chart type you use, which should suit your data range. 

Suppose you want to compare your sales reps’ sales amount and commissions earned. 

A bar chart allows you to track and aggregate both metrics per agent. 

Configure the Y-axis to represent each salesperson and select ‘Aggregate’ to combine their data. Under “Series,” specify the metrics you need to track (sale amount and commission amount). 

Create as many data visualizations as you need in your KPI dashboard. Pay attention to the type of data you wish to visualize and the best chart type for analyzing it.

For multiple intersecting KPIs, consider adding a dynamic data table to your dashboard.

Dynamic tables automatically update whenever changes are made to your data sheet. This requires you to use formulas and functions that grab data from a separate sheet. 

Use the built-in pivot table tool to make dynamic tables a cinch. 

On Google Sheets, click ‘Insert’ and select ‘Pivot table’ to get started.

Specify the data range you want to use and select whether to use a new or existing sheet. Click ‘Create’ to continue. 

Use the “Pivot table editor” panel to configure your table’s rows, columns, values, and filters. Stack multiple rows or columns to create collapsible sections, which keep your pivot table clean and readable.

The pivot table offers a convenient way to include dynamic tables in your KPI dashboard. However, some KPIs require more elaborate calculations that require specific formulas.

To use custom formulas, add a new value and select ‘Calculated Field’ at the top of the sub-menu.

Need help calculating specific KPIs? Refer to our guide on how to create a sales dashboard in Google Sheets for additional KPIs and how to calculate them.

Step 3: Assemble and format your dashboard layout in a separate sheet 

Now that you know how to create charts and dynamic tables, you’re ready to piece together a custom KPI dashboard for your business. 

The goal here is to compile all your data tables and visualizations into a single sheet. Since different businesses have unique requirements when it comes to KPI tracking, there are no specific steps for this process. 

However, observe the following best practices on how to create a dynamic dashboard in Google Sheets:

  • Align your dashboard with your goals. Identify KPIs that align with your organization’s goals. For example, if you need to track your sales team’s performance, create a dynamic table that tracks quota attainment and average sale amount per agent.
  • Organize your dashboard. Prioritize your most important KPIs and position them at the top of your dashboard. Present supporting data as charts and tables to help decision-makers make sense of those KPIs. 
  • Protect your dashboard sheet. After compiling your dashboard sheet, protect it to prevent further or accidental changes. Remember to only add or change data through data sheets. 
  • Invite collaborators. One of the main advantages of Google Sheets is the easy collaboration tools. Invite other users by email and set specific roles like “viewer,” “commenter,” and “editor.” 
  • Customize your dashboard. Use brand-aligned colors and fonts to make your dashboard look more uniform. This may not affect the actual functions of your dashboard, but it makes your dashboard more authoritative in the eyes of stakeholders.

A better alternative to Google Sheets for creating KPI dashboards 

Creating Google Sheet dashboards is easy and cost-effective, but it comes with some limitations. 

For example, exporting data from third party tools is time-consuming unless you use automated data management integrations. 

Google Sheets is also known to have performance issues when processing massive amounts of data. Furthermore, its limited data processing capabilities make it impractical for accessing advanced insights. 

Consider using Polymer.

Our software is an all-around Business Intelligence (BI) platform that solves all these problems. 

Its drag-and-drop interface lets you build charts, pivot tables, heatmaps, outliers, dependency wheels, and other high-level data visualizations with ease.

Polymer also integrates with a range of data sources—letting you store, manage, analyze, and present all your data in one place. Some of the supported platforms are:

  • Google Drive
  • Linear
  • Zendesk
  • Jira
  • Facebook Ads
  • Shopify

Move your data management forward

While Google Sheets is a free and user-friendly platform for building KPI dashboards, its limitations can weigh you down.

The good news is you can start using Polymer today at zero cost. 

With a free trial account, gain unrestricted access to Polymer’s data management and visualization tools—100% risk-free.

Click here to begin.

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