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It does look like each sub-list in your dashboard screenshot is a portal.
I think you may not be using the term "grid" to mean the same thing most folks on this forum understand by it. Portals are not what I would call a "grid" tool. In layout mode, the layout grid (set at the bottom of the "Position" pane in the Inspector palette) is one grid tool, and guides are another useful tool for organizing layout objects in "grid" arragements.
If you're asking about different ways to arrange records in rows and columns, list view and table view layouts are both other tools to consider, in addition to portals.
It is technically possible to show unrelated data from a global field in a portal, but that would not be particularly useful. It's also possible to create the appearance of displaying data from unrelated table occurrences in a portal using "virtual list" techniques. Search the forum or Google it for details.
I agree with Jeremy.
Also: your time will be MUCH better spent learning to master the extraordinary power and versatily of portals.
That was less than helpful.