First Spreadsheet Dashboard

In the past, we’ve noted that the first computer-based business dashboard was generated by a computer named LEO. It printed out a dashboard report showing payroll statistics for the Lyons Tea Shops in the 1940s. The computer was room-sized and contained over 3000 vacuum tubes. For the full story, see the book A Computer Called Leo.

Today, we look at the question, “What was the first business dashboard for the personal computer?”. Well thanks go to veteran dashboarder, Charley Kyd, for writing me with his story of his Lotus 1-2-3 dashboard reports from 1984. Believed to be the earliest PC-based spreadsheet dashboards, they are still impactful today.

According to Charley:

I’m sure that my Lotus mini-graph reports were the first dashboard reports ever created for spreadsheets. And because there was very little management software available back then, they probably were the first dashboard reports created for personal computers.

To put this thought in its proper perspective, that distinction plus $1.95 might buy me a cup of coffee today.

Let’s take a look at a couple of screenshots. These come from Charley Kyd’s first book Financial Modeling Using Lotus 1-2-3 (1986, Sybex).

First PC Spreadsheet Dashboard

Click the “see more” link to view more screenshots of this dashboard:
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