The words 'dashboard' and 'report' are used extensively in data visualization applications such as Google Analytics.

But what exactly are the defining characteristics of each? And how, precisely, do reports differ from dashboards?

3 Answers 3


A dashboard is a one-screen group of summary visualizations that facilitate rapid assessment of a system.

In his book Information Dashboard Design, Stephen Few analyses a wide variety of different dashboards and expands on this definition:

"A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives, consolidated and arranged on a single screen so that the information can be monitored at a glance."

A report, by contrast, is an ordered presentation of a detailed data set.

Some of the main differences between dashboards and reports are:

  • Dashboards tend to be concise and summary-like. Reports are usually longer and more detailed, although they may have summary components.

  • Dashboards are more visual and use a variety of chart types. Reports tend to be mainly tabular, but they may contain additional charts or chart components.

  • Dashboards tend to focus on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Reports tend to focus on underlying data.

  • Dashboards are meant to be monitored at a glance. Reports require more in-depth attention (i.e. require reading through)

  • Dashboards communicate specific points. Reports tell, or potentially tell, a story.

    Dashboards are simple. Reports tend to be more complex in nature.

More info: http://www.marketing-jive.com/2009/07/difference-between-dashboard-and-report.html


In very simple and short term I would like to explain you that what is the dashboard and what is the report.

The purpose of Dashboard is to show the most important thing which needs admin's attention and a report is the section where admin wants to show the detailed progress of the system.

The things which require action from the admin then it would place in a dashboard. When admin wants to predict and sum up the system that how system is doing progress, what are the up and downs system face.


A dashboard, its a group of visualizations or reports that can offer to the user a big picture of a system or a product. Also, the user can interact in real time.

In contrast, a report its more stretch, because the scoop its limited to a past point and its a one way communication.

  • I agree with the basics of your definition. However, you can interact with reports in real time, and you can have reports with projections for the future
    – Devin
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 22:30

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