Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sparklines Series #3

This week we are proceeding with our series on the wonderful little Excel beasts, Sparklines.

As was mentioned last week, among the several advantages for using Sparklines, is their versatility. We looked at changing Sparkline types and removing Sparklines, but as they say in cheesy TV ads, “That’s not All!” Let’s look at the following Customization Options:

Adding Text
Adding text to a sparkling cell is a Snap (or is it a Spark?)! Simply select the cell, type in the text that you want, and press Enter. The text will display in the foreground with the Sparkline in the background. Totally Cool!

Highlighting Values
Highlighting data with a Sparkline is slightly more complex, but really no big deal. First select the Sparkline, choose Sparkline Tools/Design, and select the following options from the Show group:
1.   Add your markers to all values by checking Markers (go figure…)
2.   You can show negative values by checking Negative Points (not rocket science, eh?)
3.   Showing the highest or lowest values can be accomplished by checking High Point or Low Point
4.   You can also show first or last values simply by checking First Point or Last Point (this really is a Snap!)

I suspect you are beginning to see, there is a bit more to these little Sparkline gems than first meets the eye. The next time you have five minutes to yourself, play around with the surprisingly versatile little tools, and see how you can add some more Pizzazz to your worksheets. Ciao, baby!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sparklines Series #2

Last week we started an overall inspection of the powerful little Excel tool whimsically name Sparklines.
These Miniature Charts fit into a single cell or range in your worksheet and can provide you with a visual representation of your data without having to resort to a full-blown chart.
Among the several advantages for using Sparklines, (Simplifying your visual representations of your data, creating Mini-Trendlines, etc.), they are also quite versatile. Take, for instance, the following:

Changing Sparkline Types
If, let’s say, you have created a Sparkline group, and changed you mind as to the type of design element you wish to use – No Problem! Simply select your Sparkline group and choose Sparkline Tools/Design. Then select one of the alternative types from the (guess what…) “Type” group.

Removing Sparklines
Very easy, and only slightly more difficult than you would expect. Once again, simply select the Sparkline group you wish to delete, choose Sparkline Tools/Design, and click the “Clear” button.

Sparklines! Simple, Powerful, and Effective. Next week we will look at some ways of highlighting values, and other customizing you can freely do with Sparklines!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sparklines Series #1

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.

Creating Sparklines
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!

Thursday, October 5, 2017


As anyone who works with our favorite spreadsheet program for any length of time knows, it is very apparent that Excel and Math go hand-in-hand. That being the case, this week we will take a look at how Excel controls the order of Precedence.

For Arithmetic, the order of Precedence for symbols is as follows:
o   Negative = -
o   Percent = %
o   Exponential = ^
o   Multiplication = *
o   Division = /
o   Addition = +
o   Subtraction = -

For Comparing data, the order of Precedence is as follows:
o   Less than = <
o   Greater than = >
o   Less than or equal to = <=
o   Greater than or equal to = >=
o   Does not equal = <>

You will note that the foregoing differs at times from traditional math. As in nearly all of mathematics, however, you can control the order of precedence by using parentheses.

Math. Every Excel Guru’s favorite subject in school!