The Dashboard Spy

September 26, 2006

Happy Face Excel Dashboard – using conditional graphics to show KPI status

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 9:36 am

Enterprise Dashboard Spy reader update: With your great interest and contributions of your own dashboards, The Dashboard Spy collection of executive dashboard screenshots has grown to over 800 examples of all sorts of BI dashboards! This unique enterprise dashboard reference can now be found at a new URL: And for your convenience, the posts on the various dashboard screenshots are collected together on the enterprise dashboard sitemap. The move to the new url allows exciting new functionality such as videos on enterprise dashboard related information.

On the lighter side of enterprise dashboard design, we look at this nifty excel dashboard example using graphics to show status or state. From the excellent excel resource site, comes this great xls file download of a happy face excel dashboard. The idea is that this sample shows how an excel graphic changes in response to the entry of a different cell value. I grabbed 2 screenshots below. The first value is 95 which gives me the bright happy smile. The second worksheet shows a much lower value and hence we get the frowny face. Maybe something gimicky to lighten the day the next time you deliver an excel spreadsheet to your users? Finally KPIs that smile or frown at you!

Happy Face Excel Dashboard Graphic

Sad face excel dashboard graphic

Homework: If you need to catch up on some excel charting basics, start with Excel Charts for Dummies.

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s favorite books on business dashboards.


  1. see “Chernoff Faces”

    Comment by LeMel — October 16, 2006 @ 3:27 pm

  2. I download the excel file but it doesn’t work, the face is always smiling even with 0.

    Comment by Prof — June 12, 2007 @ 6:50 am

  3. Where? Where do I find “Chernoff faces”?
    I’d like to understand how create Chernoff faces using Excel, any suggestion?

    Comment by Prof — June 13, 2007 @ 8:03 am

  4. It wouldn’t work unless you enable the macross when you open the workbook.

    Comment by Hanjo — July 23, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

  5. Add conditional formatting to give the face a nice red or green glow 🙂

    Comment by Mickey — July 26, 2007 @ 4:14 am

  6. Does anyone know how it works

    Comment by jarrod — September 19, 2007 @ 2:02 am

  7. Hello Dashboard Spy. I enjoy your blog about excel dashboards. It is good to see such information. I have been studying this topic for many months now and am glad to see so many examples. I will visit your site often.

    I was very interested in seeing your post about “KPI Requirements for Dashboard Projects – Using the KPI excel dashboards”. Thank you for the information about this dashboard topic. There is a dashboard project at work about this subject.

    The excel dashboards graphic is very nice. I like the colors and the questions are very interesting – What Question? Who’s Asking, Why is it Important, etc. I think it is very good. I also like the layout of the screen. I have a question about the boxes on the right side. Is the user supposed to type the answers to the questions into the boxes?

    Comment by saibaba — November 22, 2007 @ 2:40 am

  8. Mickey,

    I’m very interested how to add conditional formatting. How did you do this?

    Comment by Peter — April 23, 2008 @ 9:08 am

  9. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest butt your sites really nice,
    keesp it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later.
    Many thanks

    Comment by pussy — August 18, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

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