Using Excel Sparklines to Depict Data Graphically

Sparklines are a great way to help clarify your data.

Sparklines are used to graphically represent data by creating line or column graphs as backgrounds within cells on the Excel sheet. Creating Sparklines adjacent to data rows allows you to show patterns and relationships between data on those rows in a clear, compact graphical representation, making analysing relationships simpler and more straightforward. Sparklines depict negative values equally well and can have high and low point markers to aid the visualisation.


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Sparklines can be formatted as either Line, Column, or Win/Loss to show different outputs.

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To Create Sparklines

Begin by selecting the cell, or range of cells, where you want the Sparkline(s) to appear. On the Insert tab of the ribbon, in the Sparklines group, click the Line, Column, or Win/Loss Sparkline type.

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In the Create Sparklines dialog box, in the Data field, enter the cell range containing the data to be analysed and click OK.

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This creates the basic Sparklines. In the next section you will customize and format the Sparklines.

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Formatting Sparklines

Once your Sparklines are created, a Sparkline Tools ribbon tab will be visible. In the Sparkline group you can choose to modify the data range being analysed for one or all Sparklines.

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In the Type group you can change between the three types of Sparklines. In the Show group you can show or hide additional information such as high or low points.

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In the Style group you can select from many different pre-set styles. You can also modify the colour of both Sparklines and markers. In the Group group of tools you can group or ungroup Sparklines, allowing you to modify individual Sparklines. You can erase Sparklines from the sheet by selecting the Clear option.

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Categories: Excel, Microsoft Office
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