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Sparklines in Excel 2010 are graphs that fit in one cell and give you visual representation about the selected data.
For example, we would add Sparklines to the data below to see how each state trended over the nine year period. This will allow us to give each state a separate, miniature chart that fits into a single cell.
In this example, we will be putting a Sparkline on each row so it will be right next to its source data.
To get started, select the data for a single Sparkline. We are going to select B3 through J3. In the Insert tab, there is a Sparklines section that includes three buttons: Line, Column and Win/Loss. We are going to select Line.
The Create Sparklines dialog box will appear with the Data Range box prefilled with the selected data.
We are going to input K3 into the Location Range, which is where the Sparkline will appear. Select OK when finished.
The Sparkline is now shown in cell K3, as seen in the image below.
We can copy the Sparkline the same way we would copy a formula. Click on and drag the fill handle down to K7. Now all of the rows have Sparklines and it is easy to see whether sales are increasing or decreasing for each state.
We can make changes to the Sparklines to make them stand out a little better. Select any Sparkline and the Sparkline Tools Design tab will appear in your ribbon with a number of different Sparkline tools you can use to modify them.
In the Show section of the Sparkline Tools Design tab, there are some options that let you highlight certain points. The most useful ones for our example are High Point and Low Point.
In the image to the right, you can see the high and low points added.
First and Last point can be useful in some charts, but not necessarily in our chart. We know there are no Negative Points in our chart, so we won’t select it. Markers highlight each point in each line, which may make our Sparklines look a little too cluttered.
It may be helpful to choose a style that has a little more contrast. In the Style section, select the drop-down box to show all of the visual style options. We are selecting the Sparkline Style Colorful #2 because it shows a different color for the low point and high point.
In the Type section of the Sparkline Tools Design tab, you can convert your Sparklines to Column or Win/Loss. Column is a good choice and will work with most types of data. Win/Loss will basically just show whether the values are positive or negative, but it won’t actually show how high or low the values are. We don’t have any negative values, so this won’t be useful.
To delete a Sparkline, simply select the Sparkline and select Clear from the Editing section of the Sparkline Tools Design tab. From the drop-down box, select Clear All.
Compared to traditional charts, Sparklines offer a very different approach to visualizing data. Depending on what type of project you are working on, you may prefer one or the other or you may even choose to use both.
This concludes the Sparklines tutorial.
Click next to continue to the Excel 2010 Filter tutorial.