Introduction to dashboards

Interactive dashboard

What is a dashboard?

Dashboards group a set of questions into tabs on a single page. You can think of dashboards as shareable reports that feature a set of related questions. You can set up subscriptions to dashboards via email or Slack to receive the exported results of the dashboard’s questions.

A dashboard comprises a set of cards arranged on a grid. These cards can be:

You can add filter widgets to dashboards that filter data identically across multiple questions, and customize what happens when people click on a chart or a table.

You can make as many dashboards as you want. Go nuts.

How to create a dashboard

In the top right of the screen, click the + New > Dashboard. Give your new dashboard a name and a description, choose which collections the dashboard should go in, then click Create, and Metabase will take you to your shiny new dashboard.

Adding questions to a dashboard

There are two ways to add questions to a dashboard: from the dashboard, or from the question you want to add.

  • From a question: You can add a newly saved question to a dashboard directly from the modal that pops up after you save the question for the first time. You can also add a question to a dashboard by clicking on the ellipsis () at the top right of a question and selecting Add to dashboard.
  • From a dashboard: Click on the pencil icon to edit the dashboard. Then click the + icon in the top right of the dashboard editing interface (not the + in the main navigation bar) to add any of your saved questions to the dashboard, regardless of which collection the questions are in.

If your question is saved to your personal collection, you’ll only be able to add that question to dashboards in your personal collection. If you want to add the question to a dashboard in a public collection, you’ll need to move your question to that collection (or any other public collection).

Once you add a question to your dashboard, it’ll look something like this:

First Dashboard

Adding headings or descriptions with text cards

Another neat thing you can do is add heading and text cards to your dashboards. Text cards allow you to include descriptions, explanations, notes, or even images and GIFs to your dashboards. You can also use text cards to create separations between sections of charts in your dashboards, or include links to other dashboards, questions, or websites.

To add a new text card, create a new dashboard (or edit an existing one) and click on the text card button, T, in the top-right:

Text card button

You have two options:

  • Heading: a preformatted heading text card that spans the width of the dashboard.
  • Text: a customizable text card that will render Markdown-formatted text.

Each text card has two modes: writing and previewing. When you click to focus on the card, the card will enter editing mode. When you click away from the card, Metabase will render the card to show you what it will look like on the live dashboard.


You can use Markdown to format the text in your text card, create inline tables or code snippets, or even embed linked images (easy on the GIFs, friends). To preview the rendered card, just click away from the card.


To learn more, see Fun with Markdown in your dashboards.

Including variables in text cards

You can include a variable in a text card, then wire that variable up to a dashboard filter. All you need to do to create a variable is to wrap a word in double braces, {{ and }} (the variable can’t contain any spaces). For example, you could add a text card with the following text:

# {{state}} orders

And connect that variable to a dashboard filter widget that filters for states. If someone selected WI in the state filter, the text in the markdown card would read: WI orders.

You can also make text options by wrapping the text in double brackets, [[ and ]]:

# Orders [[from {{state}}]

In this case, the phrase from {{state}} would only display if someone selected a value (or values) in the filter widget.

To see how to wire up a filter to a card, see dashboard filters.

Dashboards with link cards

Link cards are specialized cards that let you search and link to other items in your Metabase. You can also use them for external links. Useful for pointing people to other resources relevant to your dashboard.

To add a link card to a dashboard, click the pencil icon to enter dashboard editing mode, then click on the link icon. Click on the input field in the link card to search your Metabase for an item to link to, or paste an external link.

Dashboard tabs

You can add multiple tabs to a dashboard to keep your cards organized.

Dashboard tabs

Duplicate a tab

When in dashboard edit mode, you can duplicate a tab and all the its cards by clicking on the down arrow next to the tab that you want to copy.

Moving cards between tabs

See Arranging cards.

Duplicating a dashboard

If you don’t want to build a dashboard from scratch, or want to experiment by making changes to an existing dashboard without affecting the original, you can duplicate an existing dashboard.

To duplicate a dashboard, click on the menu in the upper right of the dashboard, and select Duplicate.

By default, Metabase will create a new dashboard, with copies of the questions in the original dashboard (including the dashboard’s tabs), and save everything to the collection you specify.

If you don’t wish to copy the dashboard’s underlying questions, check the box that says Only duplicate the dashboard. Metabase will copy the dashboard and refer to the original questions.

In both cases, duplication only includes the dashboard, its card layout, filters, and (optionally) the questions. What’s not copied: dashboard subscriptions, or any sharing or embedding data settings. For example, if you copy a dashboard that has been made public, that copied dashboard will not be public by default.

Arranging dashboard cards

To edit dashboard cards and move them around, click the pencil icon in the top right of a dashboard to enter the dashboard’s editing interface.

Editing cards

Once you’re in edit mode, you’ll see a grid appear. You can move and resize the cards in the dashboard to your liking and they’ll snap to the grid.

Editing dashboard

  • Duplicate a card: hover over the card and click the Duplicate icon.
  • Move a card to a new tab: hover over the card, click the move icon, and select that tab you want to move the card to.
  • Move a card within a tab: click and drag the card. Other cards will move out of the way.
  • Resize a card: click the handle at the bottom right corner of the card, and drag to resize. Nearby cards will move away to accommodate the new size.
  • Remove a card: hover over the card and click the X icon in the top right corner.
  • Replace a card: hover over the card and click the Replace icon in the top right corner. Search for a question to swap in for the existing question on that card. You can only replace a question with another question, not another type of card (like a text card).

Metabase will automatically update a question’s display to make sure your data looks great at any size you choose.

Dashboard sections

To speed up card arrangement, you can add sections to your dashboards.

Add section

Sections are templates with headings and pre-arranged cards. Once you add a section to a dashboard, you can pick questions for each card, and make any other changes you like. You can only pick questions for cards, not another type of card (like a text card).

If you forget to set a question for a card, the dashboard will simply render a blank card.

Sections include:

KPI Grid

KPI Grid

Large chart with KPIs to the right

Large chart with KPIS to the right**

KPIs with large chart below

KPIs with large chart below

Dashboard width

You can change the width of a dashboard by going into the three dots menu in the upper right:

Change dashboard width

  • Fixed width (default). Metabase will restrict the layout to a fixed width in the center of the screen. This fixed width can keep dashboard layouts consistent between smaller laptop screens and larger desktop screens.
  • Full width. The layout and cards will expand to take up the full width of the screen.

Changing a card’s visualization settings

You can change a card’s visualization settings (to add a goal line, for example). Changing a card’s visualization settings will only affect how the question appears on that dashboard card; these changes won’t affect the original question’s visualization settings.

Click on the pencil icon to enter dashboard edit mode, hover over the question you want to edit, and click on the palette icon to edit a card’s visualization’s settings.

Visualization settings

Hiding a card when it doesn’t return results

One neat thing to call out: if you have a question card that rarely returns results, but you still want to include that card in your dashboard because you want to know when the question does return results, you can tell Metabase to hide the card unless it returns at least one row of data.

When in dashboard edit mode, click on the Visualization settings for the card.

  • If the card displays a table, the option is in the Columns tab.
  • If the card displays a chart, the option is in the Display tab.

Toggle the option Hide this card if there are no results. When you turn on this option, the query will still run in the background, but the dashboard won’t display the card. If the query returns results, the dashboard will display the card, moving the other cards around to make room for it according to how you’ve arranged the cards in dashboard edit mode.

Resetting a card’s visualization settings

If you want to revert a dashboard card to its original visualization settings (i.e., the settings on the question when it was first saved to your dashboard):

  1. Go to your dashboard and click the pencil icon to go into edit mode.
  2. Hover over the card (question) that you want to edit.
  3. Click the palette icon to bring up the visualization settings for that card.
  4. Click Reset to defaults.
  5. Click Done to save the card’s visualization settings.
  6. Click Save to save the dashboard.

Fullscreen dashboards

After you’ve made your ideal dashboard, you may want to put the dashboard on a TV to help keep your team up to date throughout the day.

To enter fullscreen mode, click the fullscreen icon in the top right of the dashboard (the icon with the arrows pointing in opposite directions). Once you’ve entered fullscreen mode, you can also switch the dashboard into “Night mode” for higher contrast.

Night mode

Auto refresh

If your data updates frequently, you can set up your dashboard to refresh automatically by clicking on the clock icon.


You can set your dashboard to update in 1, 5, 10, 15, 30, and 60 minute intervals, depending on how fresh you need the data to be.

Enabling auto refresh will re-run all the queries on the dashboard at the interval you choose, so keep the size of the dashboard and the complexity of the questions in mind when setting up auto refresh.

Combining fullscreen mode and auto refresh is a great way to keep your team in sync with your data throughout the day.

Caching dashboard results

Caching dashboard results is only available on Pro and Enterprise plans (both self-hosted and on Metabase Cloud).

See Caching per dashboard.

If your Metabase administrator has enabled public sharing on a saved question or dashboard, you can go to that question or dashboard and click on the sharing icon to find its public links.

Share icon

Public links can be viewed by anyone, even if they don’t have access to Metabase. You can also use the public embedding code to embed your question or dashboard in a simple web page or blog post. Check out examples of simple apps with embedded dashboards in our embedding-reference-apps repository. To learn more about embedding, check out our article on How to use Metabase to deliver analytics to your customers, as well as an article on how to combine branding, Single Sign-On, full app embedding, and data sandboxing to deliver multi-tenant, self-service analytics.

Exporting results from a dashboard

See Exporting results.

Configuring a dashboard through its URL

You can amend the URL of a dashboard to automatically enter fullscreen, enable night mode, or auto-refresh the dashboard. Customizing the dashboard’s URL allows you to configure the dashboard - even when you do not have any input access to the device where the dashboard will be displayed, like scripted screens, for example.

To configure a dashboard using its URL, you can add the following optional keywords:

  • fullscreen
  • night
  • refresh

Here’s an example URL:

The part that says refresh=60 sets the dashboard to automatically refresh every 60 seconds, fullscreen sets it to fullscreen mode, and night sets it to night mode (night mode only works when using fullscreen). Use an ampersand, &, in between keywords, and make sure there’s a hash, #, after the dashboard’s ID number.

There is one important limitation with the fullscreen option: for security reasons, many browsers require user interaction to initiate fullscreen. In those browsers, using the fullscreen option will enable the fullscreen UI in Metabase, but it won’t expand the browser content to fill the screen. To ensure the dashboard occupies the entire screen, either activate fullscreen by clicking the button in the UI, or use the fullscreen URL option and launch the browser in fullscreen or kiosk mode.

Dashboard version history

For questions, dashboards, and models, Metabase keeps a version history for the previous fifteen versions of that item.

See History.

Tips on creating helpful dashboards

To make a great dashboard, you first need to decide what you want the dashboard to tell about your data. What questions will give you insight into what you want to know? It helps to think of a topic or theme for your dashboard — something like “customer satisfaction,” or “second quarter sales goals”.

Some tips:

  • Emphasize the most important questions. To draw people’s attention to what matters most, place the most important saved question cards near the top of the dashboard, and/or make them bigger than the other cards,
  • Keep dashboards focused. If you have more than 10 cards on a dashboard, think about breaking the dashboard into two separate ones. You don’t want to overwhelm people with too much information, and each dashboard should revolve around one theme or topic. Remember — you can make as many dashboards as you want, so you don’t have to cram everything into just one.
  • Add filters to your dashboard. Adding filters to dashboards makes them more useful. For example, instead of your dashboard being full of questions that are restricted to a specific time span, you can make more general questions and use dashboard filters to change the time span you’re looking at.
  • Make your dashboards interactive. Customize what happens when users click on a chart or table in your dashboard.

Further reading

Read docs for other versions of Metabase.

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