Bottom Line: In this third episode of the Ultimate Excel Dashboard Tutorial Series you will learn how to create a modern and minimalistic custom design for the pivot slicers in your Interactive Excel Dashboard.
Skill Level: Advanced
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
The Ultimate Excel Dashboard Tutorial Series
In our Ultimate Excel Dashboard tutorial series you will learn how to create a state-of-the-art interactive Excel Dashboard with many outstanding and custom-built features. This tutorial series will cover how to
- create a basic interactive Excel dashboard with pivot charts and slicers
- design a beautiful dashboard background and gradient tile design
- create a modern dashboard slicer design [you are here]
- auto-refresh dashboard pivot charts when source data changes
- create interactive dashboard info buttons
- create interactive dashboard tabs
- create a custom interactive settings menu with modern radio and toggle buttons
By completing this tutorial series you will learn how to visualise your data and bring it to life in a completely stunning way. The great variety of different topics covered during the process will develop and strongly improve your overall Excel skillset.
Info: In this dashboard we use features that are only available in the latest version of Excel (included in Microsoft 365). If you want to are still using an older version of Excel, we recommend to upgrade to Microsoft 365 to have full access to all features.
Excel Dashboard Slicer Design: Default vs. Custom
An interactive Excel Dashboard based on Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts cannot live without slicers. If you have followed along the previous two tutorials, you are already familiar with the creation of beautiful dashboard designs including background, dashboard tiles, and the dashboard content design. To complement that, the knowledge about how to adapt the design of these slicers to the visual look and feel of the rest of the dashboard is crucial. Otherwise, you have to make use of the default slicer designs that are predefined in Excel, but they would be a total misfit and would destroy all the design work put into that dashboard before that.
Let’s have a quick look at the difference that a default vs. a custom pivot slicer design makes for our Dashboard.
If you feel like that difference makes it worth to spend a few minutes of your time follow me along.
Custom Slicer Design Requirements
Currently, the functionality needed to adjust the design of slicers is only fully available on Windows. For Mac users this functionality is slightly restricted at the moment.
But no worries, if you have an Excel file with custom slicer designs saved in it (that have been created on a Windows machine), you can use these designs without any restriction on your Mac. So if you want to use the custom slicer design we created for the Ultimate Excel Dashboard (that you see in the image above), just download the basic version of that dashboard for free from our Download Area.
Creating a Custom Slicer Design
There are two ways to create a custom slicer design. You will find both options if you go to the Slicer tab that appears in the ribbon bar when you have a slicer selected. In there, you will find a variety of predefined slicer designs. If you open that area with these designs, you can now choose to either click on New Slicer Style. With that option you have to create a custom slicer design completely from scratch. Alternatively, you can also right-click on one of the existing designs and click on Duplicate. That will create a customisable copy of that existing design and has the advantage that you don’t have to start from scratch.
No matter which of both options you choose, a popup window will appear and you are asked to give a name to that new custom design. Below that name field, you can now edit the design for ten different slicer elements in various element states.
Design Tips for specific Slicer Elements
If you want to learn how exactly we adjusted those ten slicer elements for our Ultimate Excel Dashboard, I recommend to watch the video tutorial linked above. But for general purposes, here are some helpful design tips for your custom slicer design.
- For making the slicer either feel seamlessly integrated into its environment or explicitly stand out from it, you have to format the Whole Slicer element. Since we wanted to make the slicer be seamlessly integrated into the black slicer area box, we removed the border and set the fill too black. If you want to make it stand out from the background, you should have a border instead.
- For a minimalistic design don’t use more than three different colors in total. If you can, make them match with the colors that are already predominant in your dashboard.
- A nice and modern way to design the unselected items is to make their fill match the background and only have a border differentiating them from the rest of the slicer content.
That’s already it for this third episode of the Ultimate Excel Dashboard tutorial series. We recommend to continue with the next episode of this Ultimate Excel Dashboard tutorial series in order to make this dashboard even more awesome than it already is.
You can download the Basic Dashboard Excel File in our Download Area.