What are Sparklines in Excel 2010

In very simple words they are small graphs or charts embedded withing a cell of an excel column but still gives you an overall idea of the data you are looking at. Yes exactly your Manager might just start hating to look at those big excel charts on your slides!!.

Sample of Excel Sparklines

What you see under column “Total Post Completed” is how sparklines look and there are three types :

  • Lines
  • Charts
  • Win / Loss

The major advantage of Sparkline is creating Dashboard similar to one which we had in Sharepoint. A manager can track bug reports, can analyze how much is the progress  in the project etc right from here.

How to create simple Sparklines ?

Sparklines How to create

They are as easy to use as you use a formula. Follow the steps below :

  • Have your data ready which will be used with sparkline.
  • Select a cell where you want to display the sparkline.
  • Now select Insert from the ribbon Menu and then look for SparkLines.
  • Click on what type of sparkline you want to use and click on it.
  • You will be asked the data range which can be on the same sheet or different sheet.

Done this you would see your SparkLine shining right in the cell.

The SparkLines Tool in Excel

Once you select an already created sparkline, Excel 2010 will bring up a Sparkline Tools which will help you manage them completely.

Sparklines Tool

Some of the eye catching parts are :

  • You can show High / Low, First/ Last, Negetive Points and Markers.
  • You can cutomize the Axix of the sparklines e.g Plotting data right to left, customize value for it, create date axis type.
  • Simple delete will not clear the sparkline. To completely remove the sparline you will have to Right Click > Sparline > Clear Selected or Group.

What happens when you have in-correct or zero values ?

When data used for Sparklines are not correct or zero values or when they are into hidden columns, Sparklines behave accordingly. Check out the image below :

Sparklines Value issues


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