Today we are going to start a brief series of posts revolving around the powerful little (it truly is “little”) Excel tool referred to as Sparklines.
These amazing miniature appliances were first introduced in Excel 2010, and they have gained a fair amount of popularity. Sparklines simply are Miniature Charts that fit into a single cell or range in your worksheet. As with any chart, they provide you with a visual representation of your data, but in this case, they do so without having to resort to a full-blown chart.
Although these tiny charts are typically used in a separate cell range adjacent to your data, they actually reside in the background of a cell similar to formatting. It can overlay (or underlay) other contents of a cell, adding creative possibilities for displaying your information.
There are several advantages for using Sparklines. They can Simplify your visual representations of your data, and can do so with just a couple of clicks! They are particularly useful in creating Mini-Trendlines for tracking a myriad of business metrics. Insert them in an adjacent column of a data-heavy report, and you get a result that can tell you at a glance the direction of your department.
1. Select a group of cells in which you want to insert your Sparklines.
2. Find the Sparklines group on the Insert ribbon, and click the type of Sparkline that you want to create, (Line, Column, or even Win/Loss).
3. In the Data box, select and insert the range of the cells that contain the data on which you want to create your Sparklines.
Bamm - Sparklines! Simple as that! Next week we will look at some creative ways of customizing these little gems, so you can truly make your Excel reports, well, Sparkle!