Build Awesome Dashboards with Master Source Reports & Dashboard Filters


Did you know you can use features like Dashboard Filters to create Dashboards more quickly, track the right data, and make your Dashboards reusable? Salesforce Dashboards are a key tool to drive End User adoption, Executive engagement, and productivity within your company.

Dashboards are also a helpful place to summarize and understand sets of data. But, sometimes Users experience issues and confusion when different reports in Salesforce return different results. For example: A bar chart component of Open Opportunities that is grouped by Opportunity Owner might return a Total $ Amount that conflicts with a Funnel Chart that is also totaling the $ Amount. What causes this issue? Often the issue are the underlying source reports. Every component on a Dashboard is based on an underlying source report, and when we create multiple source reports to drive a dashboard they might have different hierarchy settings, filters, or be using different report types — any or all of these could cause problems. This can cause confusion and can also be time-consuming to maintain.

So how do we avoid some of the common Dashboard creation and maintenance issues facing both End Users and Admins? Here are a few tips to help you plan your Dashboards and delight your Users.

One report to rule them all

Whenever possible, create a master source report to power the data on a dashboard. If you are building a Dashboard to view a specific set of data in different ways, try to consolidate as many Dashboard Components into one source report as possible. If your dashboard will be focused entirely on Opportunities, create an Opportunity report. Since this report will be powering all of the components on our dashboard, we want to include a large data set, so don’t add any filters for date range, deal type, or ownership. The purpose of this report is to create a large set of data that can be filtered and grouped with our dashboard. For a sales dashboard, you may only want to add a filter to include only “Open” deals.

The power of report grouping & Summaries

The customization options for Dashboard Components are based on the report settings of Groupings and Summaries. When you create your master source report, add all of the groupings categories that you may want to use to build a component. For example, if you plan to create a funnel chart on deals by stage you should add a grouping level to your Opportunity Report for “Stage.” Additionally, add summaries for any number values that you may want to add to your Dashboard components. You can always go back to your source report and add additional summary levels and groupings as you build your Dashboard.

Reduce maintenance & increase data quality with dashboard filters

Time to build your Dashboard! Try building your Dashboard with different types of components, all based on the same source report. As you add your components, you can reflect the same set of data in many different ways by using different chart types, groupings, and summaries. All of these Dashboard components reflect the same set of data in different ways, but it isn’t filtered yet. This Dashboard is returning a single, very large data set because that is how we built our source report. With Dashboard Filters you can apply filters to your Dashboard that an End User can modify right on the Dashboard. This is an excellent way to make a Sales Dashboard useful for different time periods, and to ensure different regions or business segments are looking at the same type of data for their business.

Be sure to check out the video I created to accompany the tips above:

Once you try these tips for yourself in your own org, share a screenshot with us on Twitter using hashtag #AwesomeAdmin! If you need a little extra guidance check out the Trailhead module below, as well as the podcast, blog, and webinar resources.


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