In Microsoft Excel 2010 a new feature called sparklines has been introduced.
What are sparklines?
A sparkline is a tiny chart in the Excel spreadsheet cell next to the data. The chart provides a quick visual representation of the data showing trends at a glance such as the effect of your advertising, economic conditions or festivals like Diwali or Christmas. You can quickly observe whether your sales are growing, stagnant or falling. Sparklines can be represented as a line, columns or win/loss diagrams. Just like other calculations you can also perform an autofill for the sparkline. In fact, the sparklines get printed like any other data.
How to create a sparkline:
- Select the cell where you want to insert a sparkline – preferably next to the data for more impact.
- Click on the insert tab. From the sparklines group select line, column or win/loss.
- In the data text box type the range of the cells, eg. B3:E3, which contains the relevant data.
- The tiny chart is displayed.
Once the sparkline is created you can customize it to highlight negative, high and low values using different colours, for example.
You can apply a different design to the sparklines or show the empty cells as gaps or zeros or show data in hidden rows or columns. You can also reflect the different time periods between two data points by proportionally increasing the space between them. For example, most of of your data may be monthly but one or two data points may be quarterly.
Let’s see the details in the following Excel 2010 training video.