How to create a dashboard in Smartsheet

Learn how to visually represent your work in the Smartsheet project management platform now.

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Smartsheet is a cloud-based platform that simplifies project management. The ability to create dashboards is a major feature. Since a dashboard lets users visually represent their data and work, making it easier to understand, here’s what to do when creating dashboards as a Smartsheet user.

SEE: Hiring kit: Project manager (TechRepublic Premium)

Making a new dashboard

Creating a dashboard is very straightforward. Start by going to the left navigation bar. Think of it as your starting point for accessing and organizing any work done in Smartsheet. Click the Solution Center, which looks like a plus symbol.

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Then select Create > Dashboard/Portal from the left pane. You’ll then be able to enter a name for your dashboard. Do that, then click OK.

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Image: Devin Partida/TechRepublic.

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Image: Devin Partida/TechRepublic.

You can now start adding information to the dashboard. Go to the upper-right corner of the screen and choose Edit Dashboard by clicking on the pencil icon.

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Image: Devin Partida/TechRepublic.

Adding widgets and custom colors

Now, you can add one of Smartsheet’s eight dashboard widgets to give your content more context. Some widgets allow adding a company logo or other image. Options also exist for including a chart or metrics with a dashboard widget.

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Image: Devin Partida/TechRepublic.

Smartsheet allows selecting custom colors for widgets, too. Each widget has a color palette within the right pane.

Go to its Custom Colors section, then choose the Add Color icon. You can then click on the desired color or input the hue’s hexadecimal value. Then click Add to confirm the color choice.

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Image: Devin Partida/TechRepublic.

You can save up to 20 custom colors per dashboard. However, they’re linked to the dashboard you’re working with at the time and don’t carry over to others.

Editing an existing dashboard

Besides giving them access to products like Smartsheet, it’s also important for team members to ensure everyone has time to understand how to use the relevant features. For example, Smartsheet has a Blueprints feature. It lets people quickly make copies of previously used dashboards and other information associated with a project.

However, occasions will inevitably arise that necessitate editing a Smartsheet dashboard. Get started by finding the pencil icon in the dashboard’s upper-right area. You’ll then see a navigation bar appear on the right. Its options allow you to add or edit widgets or change the current dashboard color to gray or white.

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Image: Devin Partida/TechRepublic.

You can also edit a dashboard through the shortcut menu. Access it by right-clicking anywhere on your dashboard and choosing the desired command.

Choosing Paste Here enables you to insert a previously copied widget at the place on the dashboard where you clicked. The Dashboard Settings option changes the background color to white or gray, and the Add Widget command is self-explanatory.

Finally, you’ll see a Consolidate Empty Space option on the shortcut menu. It deletes any unused rows between a dashboard’s lowest and uppermost widgets. The dashboard is then vertically smaller, creating the most compact version of it. However, this option does not change anything related to widget placement.

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Image: Devin Partida/TechRepublic.

Sharing your Smartsheet dashboard and enabling collaboration

Once you’ve made a dashboard in Smartsheet, you’ll probably want to share it with others at your company or even let those people contribute to it. It’s easy to do both those things.

One sharing method is to drag the dashboard into a Smartsheet Workspace from the Browse option. Doing that means everyone who can see the workspace can also view the dashboard.

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Image: Devin Partida/TechRepublic.

However, you’ll have more flexibility in how you share by using the dashboard’s built-in sharing feature. Open your dashboard, then look for the Share button at the top. Clicking it will open a form that lets you specify sharing preferences for the dashboard, including saying which people can collaborate on it.

Use the Invite Collaborators option to select or type out the names of people who can work with the dashboard. Separate their emails with commas or semicolons. Then choose either Admin or Viewer from the permissions box, depending on what you want those collaborators to be able to do.

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Image: Devin Partida/TechRepublic.

If you need to edit a collaborator’s permissions after initially granting them, go to the Collaborators section of the Dashboard Sharing form. Hover your cursor over the person’s name. You can then select a new permission type from the dropdown menu. Alternatively, click the X to the right of the Permission Level section. Doing that activates the Remove From Sharing option, revoking the person’s previous permissions.

The Invite Details section allows tweaking how people know you’ve shared a dashboard with them. For example, you can send them personalized notifications with particular subject lines to ensure they don’t overlook the email. Finally, click the Share Dashboard button.

Start using Smartsheet dashboards today

Dashboards are essential parts of Smartsheet capabilities. The more you know how to work with them, the more likely you’ll be able to get the most out of the platform and teach others what you know. Additionally, once you gain the experience of creating a few dashboards and customizing them, the already-easy steps will start to feel more natural, helping you save time.

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