How do you create a simple dashboard that is interactive without using code? This article shows you how to create a simple dashboard in minutes using a worked example in Displayr.
You will learn how to import data, create and combine separate charts and visualizations into one dashboard, create and apply filters, and publish online. The resulting dashboard will look like this.
- A Displayr document
- A data set
Step 1: Import data into your dashboard
This article works through an example dataset, which you don't have, but you can follow the step-by-step instructions in this post using your own data set (the processes described here can be used with any data set).
- Sign into Displayr and import your data.
There are many different ways of getting data into Displayr. See Get Your Data Into Displayr for an overview.
Step 2: Set up a background or look and feel (optional)
Get creative and design a background for your dashboard e.g., add a block of color, a photo or a logo. The background used in this dashboard example is saved here. To insert a background image:
Click on the Page Master button in the toolbar, top right of the screen as shown below.
- From the toolbar, click Image.
- Depending on the location of the image you can:
- To insert an image from your computer by clicking on Browse your computer.
- To insert an image from a web search or cloud drive you can click on Web Search / Cloud Drive.
- To insert an image from your company's Displayr Cloud drive, you can select Displayr Cloud Drive.
- Make sure the image fills the page by dragging it to size.
- Do this for every page type under Master you want to apply the background too.
- Once you have made all the desired changes, to return Normal view, click the button to the left of the highlighted button below.
Step 3: Create and modify a simple table
This next step adds a simple table to your dashboard.
- In the Pages tree, click on New Page.
- Enter the title on your page. In this example, I've used "Market research analysis software ranking". If you wish, you can the font size, style, and color as well in the object Inspector on the right using the Properties > Appearance.
- Locate the section in the bottom left of your screen called Data Sets.
- Drag any variable from the Data Sets tree onto the page to create a table..
- If there are any categories in the table that you would like to rename, right-click on the row and select Rename. These changes will be applied whenever that is used again (i.e., they are remembered in the data, rather than being remembered as formatting of the table).
- If there are any categories you would like to remove, right-click the row and select Delete. Keep in mind that this will exclude these respondents from the analysis for any outputs using this variable (i.e., they are treated as missing data). Tip: you can select multiple categories at once using ctrl or shift keys.
- If there are any categories that you would like to hide from the output, but still include in the NET calculations, right-click on the row and select Hide.
- Right-click on the % sign at the top of the table select Sort > Categories Shown in Rows > By This Column's Values > Descending > %. This sort will also be remembered in the data (i.e., it is applied whenever this data is used again in any other tables).
- To move any rows after sorting, hover over the row until you see the three horizontal lines, and slowly drag it to the desired location, releasing your mouse when you see the word Move appear.
Step 4: Creating a crosstab
To turn the above table into a crosstab (e.g., cut it by geographic region):
- Click on the page in the Pages tree (top left corner of the screen).
- Press Toolbar > Copy and then Toolbar > Paste. This should have copied the entire page that you just created. If it didn't, have another go at the previous point.
- Slowly drag Region from the Data Sets tree, across on top of the table created in the previous step, dropping it in the Columns slot. You should now have a crosstab.
- Update the title at the top of the page to reflect the new table, such as "Market research analysis software by region".
For example, my crosstab now looks like this:
Step 5: Create a visualization from an existing table
The most straightforward approach to creating a visualization is to:
- Click on a table (i.e., like the one we have just created via drag-and-drop).
- in the object Inspector on the right, click Inputs > OUTPUT > Visualization. Then select the type of visualization you want to turn the table into. In the example shown below, I have used a bump plot.
Then, format the chart as you wish using the object Inspector. In the example below, I have used:
- Chart > FORMATTING > Show Value: Yes - Below.
Step 6: Creating a visualization via the visualization menu
In this next step, we introduce a different way of creating a visualization.
- Click back on the first page in Pages.
- Toolbar > Visualization > Bar > Bar.
- Click on the page to place the visualization.
- In the object Inspector, click on the drop-down menu for Data Source > Output in 'Pages' and select the first summary table that you created (i.e., not the crosstab). Tip: You can find the name of the table by clicking on the table, then go to the object inspector > Properties > GENERAL > Name.
- Right-click on the summary table and select Hide. While it will stay on the screen, it gets grey stripes and will not appear when the document is exported. You may like to move this hidden table elsewhere (including off the page).
Step 7: Creating a custom visualization using R
When you use Toolbar > Visualization, even though we are using the menus, the actual chart is created using R, which is a statistical programming language. We can also create visualizations by writing the R code directly, which is described in this step. In this example, I'm deviating from the other tables and visualizations and using a very simple example. Here, I'm basing it on an income summary table named "table.Income", which you'll see referenced in the R code below:
- Under Pages, move the cursor to the last page, click the Insert a New Page symbol Title Only.
- Give it a title. In this example, I'm using "Income".
- Drag a variable from the Data Sets tree onto the page.
- Right-click the "NET" row and select Hide.
- Right-click the table and select Hide.
- Drag the table to be below the page. This is so that the viewer will not see the table when they are viewing the finished product. But we need to keep the table here so that it will update when any filters are applied by the viewer (and hence update the visualization accordingly).
- Click Calculation > Custom Code.
- Click anywhere on the page to place what will be the visualization.
- Paste the code below in the R CODE box in the object inspector and then click Calculate. Resize the R Output until the scrollbars go away. This bubble chart is an open source package, so it is a bit inflexible (these more novel visualizations are always a bit hard to work with, as they have not been tested and refined like those available in the Displayr menus).
#Identify your table
labels <- names(table.Income)
#Format the output
bubbles(value = table.Income,
label = labels,
color = "#cee1f2",
textColor = "#6e3814",
tooltip = labels)
Step 8: Creating filters
To create simple filters to use on your outputs, you can follow these steps. There are other ways to create filters, which are linked to in the See Also section below.
- From the Data Sets tree, select a single variable or hold down the ctrl or shift key on your keyboard and click on multiple variables.
- Click Anything > Filter > Filters from Selected Data and press OK. New variables will appear in the Data Sets tree in orange. You can now use these variables as filters on your outputs via Inputs > FILTERS & WEIGHT > Filter(s) in the object inspector.
Step 9: Exporting the document as a dashboard
And, finally, you can export your document as a viewable online dashboard to internal and external stakeholders.
- Go to Publish > Publish as Web Pages
- Depending on the level of access you would like, select the appropriate access level on the pop-up window. We recommend Anyone with the link or Login and password required.
- Click Publish and then Open in new tab.
Users can then export and filter this dashboard using the options at the top of the screen.