Sparkline Tutorial – Creating a Miniature Chart in a Cell

Charts

This is a quick tutorial on how to create Excel Sparklines, miniature charts that fit within a single cell of an Excel worksheet. Sparklines are an excellent way to show in a small space the trends or variations in a large volume of data.

Sparklines can show trends for many rows of data.

Sparklines show in a single Excel cell.

This tutorial is a basic tutorial on creating and formatting Sparklines. In the next blog you will see some pretty cool tricks you can use to get Sparklines to do far more than they were ever designed for. You will see how to animate them, make them dynamic so they adjust to additional data, change end points, and more.

Creating a Basic Sparkline

To create a Sparkline,

1. Select the data cells you want to chart with a Sparkline. You can select a single row of data or you can select multiple rows of data to create multiple Sparklines.

Select the data to be used by the Sparkline.

Select the data to be used by the Sparkline.

2. On the Insert tab, in the Sparklines group, select the type of Sparkline you want, Line, Column, or Win/Loss. The Create Sparkline dialog box displays with the Data Range box showing the data cells you have selected.

Use the dialog box to specify the location of data and the resulting Sparkline.

Use the dialog box to specify the location of data and the resulting Sparkline.

3. In the Location Range box select the range of cells where you want the Sparklines. The number of cells to hold Sparklines must match the rows of data.

4. Click Ok to display the Sparklines in the range you selected.

You can create multiple Sparklines at one time or copy an existing Sparkline down.

Sparklines can show trends for many rows of data.

Sparklines can show trends for many rows of data.

Formatting Sparklines

While Sparklines give a good basic impression of trends and variations you can format them for more readability and to present more information.

To format one or more Sparklines,

1. Select the cells containing the Sparkline(s).

2. In the ribbon the Sparkline Tools Design tab will display.

Use the Sparkline Design tab to format the chart and markers.

Use the Sparkline Design tab to format the chart and markers.

3. Watch your Sparkline(s) as you select or deselect different options. From left to right on the ribbon some of the format changes you can make are,

Sparkline Edit the data range used by the Sparkline(s)
Type Change the type of Sparkline
Show Display markers at the selected points on the Sparkline. Watch the samples in the Style group to see the markers change.
Style Change color on lines and markers. Notice the drop-downs on the right side of the Style group.
Group Options to set axis for a single or group of Sparklines. Notice the minimum and maximum options. Use these so multiple Sparklines appear with the same axis heights and show proportional sizes.Delete selected Sparkline(s).

Don’t miss the next Critical to Success newsletter. Sparklines are a great asset for showing a lot of information in a small space, but they can do much more. The next newsletter will show you not just tips, but some Sparkline magic tricks.

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