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Create Square Cells for Dashboards or Beautiful Information

About this Tutorial

I offer an alternative design for your dashboards. Any time you want to present information, stats, numbers, it's a good idea to see what else is possible. Design something that makes your sheets stand out from the drudgery we've been dealing with for decades of spreadsheets and dashboards.

Video Transcript

 Hey, sheet heads. Oh God, that's awful. But that's an awful introduction. But hi fellow sheet nerds. Today's video is really surprisingly simple but I do want to show you something that I have not seen in very many.  Sheets, if any, is square squares  because we, we live in rectangles all the time, and the default is a spreadsheet of rectangles to elongated rectangles.

So I wanna share with you this sort of delightful way you can make squares in. Technically it's very simple, but, and there's a lot of really cool ways you can. So this is what especially normally looks like, right? These elongated cells. They have a, you can actually look at the column size.

It is 100 pixels, and then if we write, click over here, where is it? Row size row, it is 21 pixels by 100. Now if we just change that hundred, now we have a square. It's pretty simple way to do it. What I like to do is add these gaps into dashboards because white space gives that the information just a little more hubris.

I don't know what to say. How to explain it. It like white space makes it seem more impactful, right? Like if we had, let's, let's do this, let's do. You know, it wouldn't feel like segregated different little information if there wasn't these gaps, right? This is usually what a dashboard might look like, but giving it space makes it feel more entrenched or more interesting.

And so how we get that is we can create let's create a few squares over here. Let's do this. Resize these rows to a hundred. Okay? And then all of these columns are 100, but literally we, what I'm doing is I'm holding down the command key and, and selecting multiple columns here. Let's do four.

And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna just pick a number. That's one quarter for the gap. So 25 pixels, you can we can play around with those later. And then what I'm gonna do is let's do a little bit different than I did before. Let's do really dark colors here. Let's choose. Do this is gonna look weird.

Which is fine. And then some text here that's a little gray. Let's say, let's actually make it just a touch of the color. Let's go 15. And, you know, we can do a header here, but we want to also make it vertically aligned and then horizontally along. And then same here. So actually what I'll do is. . Now I can't paste, now I can't copy and paste the formats.

You have to do it individually for each one. But we can do that pretty simply come back when it's done. So what I did here as well is I chose the text color to be just a little shade of color. If it is not that, if, let, let me select all of these and show you what it looks like. If it's just white, looks like that, which is totally fine.

Just to make it a tiny bit better, I think. Decreases the contrast. It makes the headers a little less intense as well if you're gonna use a dark background and a bright color. And then what we can do is we'll create a gap here. So let's just move this up

and then we will do the same here. So let's just do this. This could be like item. It's gonna pace the values. All right? And we can make, we can make this a little bit shade down as well, if we want to wanna make that item pop.

So now what's happening is that our eye immediately understands that there is a header here, but really our eye is brought to this item immediately. And they share colors so we know that they're connected in some way. So if you have like different dashboard items, like subscribers, and here's the number or revenue and here's the number, or sales, and here's the number.

One more thing you can do to this is obviously un obviously remove. And now when you remove the grid lines, it becomes these beautiful gaps. One, one issue and one prep pitfall you might run into this, is that if you make these actually. Very dark like this. Your eyes might fill in those gray dots in, in the corners.

That could be an issue. And that might be a reason why you take, knock these down. Even more like down to here. But that would be up to you and you might wanna make a darker.  Text here. So that would be up to you and, and your visual standards, if you don't want to create those like weird gray dots in between it almost becomes a an illusion.

And one more thing I will show you before going, there'll be another video that I go into, a couple of other things you can do with these sort of squares that you can create squares in with, with creating a dashboard where, Separate these two, you have to merge cells, and I'm gonna go into that in another video.

But right now what you can do as well is you can hold down command. What we're gonna do is we're gonna create rectangles out of this, but they're gonna be very specific sizes. They're not just gonna be id, so we know that it's a hundred pixels up, a hundred pixels wide. So we're just gonna double the width to 200.

Okay? And now, , this looks very I don't, I don't know, geometric, and it feels correct. It feels better than trying to eye up what a good rectangle might be. And so what's really good about using these very specific sizes is that you can make things very specific, right? This is 200 pixels wide, 25 pixels in between.

So we know that it's 200, 200 200, 400, 600, 800, 800, and 75 pixels. That way we know, you know, this might be used on on mobile or something. We want to keep it, you know, within 600 pixels to make it like a good viewing experience. This is just another way using these resized columns and entering real.

Specific numbers gives us a fun or not fun, but an interesting way to design our view port and design how our spreadsheets, especially dashboards or information we wanna make. We couldn't go here and create very, very interesting fields of data with different  with different shades.

So what you might want to do is you can create like scatter plots visually with this you can create sort of heat maps but doing so with very specific squares shapes that were sort of normal beyond.  It gets you one step further away from this elongated cell territory that we consider.

This is a Google sheet. We know Google Sheets, but we can do our Google sheets better with these squares. That's all for today. And I'm gonna go into another video just about how you can break this up and use merge cells to make really interesting dashboards that that have the header and the item within the same cell or seemingly.