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5 Ways to Use Colors in Reports & Dashboards

Reports are a mechanism for gathering and correlating data. However, people are visual learners. Adding a chart to a report or creating a dashboard allows people to easily understand the business insights that the report is providing. To take this visualization to the next level you can utilize color to help further communicate the report results and make them easier to consume. Here are a few examples of how to do so.

Picklist Colors

Using picklists as your data type helps to ensure data quality and easier reporting based on consistent values. Grouping report charts by these picklists is common to give a quick visual summation of totals for these values. To make these visualizations even more impactful we can delegate a consistent color to each value that would appear in all report charts.

Use Case: We would like to set default colors for the stage field. All Won Opportunities should show as green in report charts and all Lost Opportunities to show as red.

Permission needed: Customize Application
Let’s take a look at how we can do this.

Conditional Formatting

Using charts on reports is a great way to visually convey data to users. Sometimes though we want to carry that into our report table itself to highlight key attributes. Conditional formatting allows us to do this. Using this functionality we can highlight cells in our report table based on a numeric value range with a corresponding color to each value range.

Use Case: An opportunity report compares the number of opportunities in stages by rep in a bar chart. We want to highlight the amount field in a report table based on stage totals to show under $150,000 as red, $150,000-$199,999 as yellow and $200,000 or greater as green.

Permission needed: Create and Customize Reports, Report Builder
In this video we will show you how to add this into your reports.

Image Formulas

In the previous section we saw how conditional formatting can highlight important metrics in reports. One drawback of this is that it is only available on numeric fields. What if you want to highlight other fields? Good news, we can do this by using image formulas. In order to do this we will install a free installed package from Salesforce Labs, then create our formula field and reference images that will show based on the criteria that we set in our formula. These images will then be visible in our reports to mimic conditional highlighting.

Use Case: We have a stage field on a custom task object that displays the status to gauge where the task is in the process. We want to enhance this to have a different visual icon depending on the progress with stages that are moving ahead display a green flag and stalled stages display a red flag.

Next we will show you how to install a graphics pack and create your first image formula.

Dashboard Theme and Pallette

We know that dashboards are a great way to visualize data. They allow multiple reports to showcase their findings through charts, which can be customized in many variations. Did you know that we can also customize the theme and color pallette of the dashboard itself? We have options of light or dark mode and over fourteen different color pallettes to choose from to differentiate our data and give a unique look to our users. Charts within the dashbaord can also be individually changed between light and dark mode to accentuate a specific chart from the rest of the dashboard.

Use Case: We are embedding a dashboard on an app page and we want to switch it to dark mode to have more contrast.

Permission needed: change Dashboard Colors
Let’s look at our options for themes and pallettes.

Analytics Dashboards

Analytics takes dashboards to a new level. The amount of customizations that you can add to charts and dashboards is tremendous. Adjusting color is a very useful way to create appealing charts and pages. There are numerous areas that allow color choices including the main dashboard background, containers, text and ADD MORE HERE. This allows you to create the look and feel to match your company or client branding or just look the way you want them to.

Use Case: We want to take a template dashboard and update it to match our branding guidelines.

We will hop into Analytics Studio and start making our changes.

Aaron Crear View All

Aaron is Founder & Principal at Hat-Trick Consulting. He works with companies around the world to help them achieve their Salesforce goals through administration, development and training services. A former sales director, Mr. Crear has extensive functional and technical expertise translating business requirements to technical solutions. Aaron currently holds eight Salesforce certifications including Salesforce Certified Data Architect, Sharing & Visibility Architect, Sales Cloud Consultant, Service Cloud Consultant, Community Cloud Consultant, Platform App Builder, User Experience Designer, Advanced Administrator and Administrator.

He is also the leader of the Lowell, MA Admins Community Group and is a co-organizer of Northeast Dreamin’. Mr. Crear is a frequent speaker, having presented at Dreamforce, Big Sky Dreamin’, Czech Dreamin’, dreamOle’, Florida Dreamin', French Touch Dreamin’, London's Calling, Midwest Dreamin’, North Africa Dreamin', Phillyforce, Snowforce, Southeast Dreamin’, True North Dreamin, YearLeadin’and Salesforce World Tours.

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