53 responses

  1. Subhash
    May 18, 2010

    Good preview of Sparklines. Will be waiting for your Sparklines for Pivot tables update 🙂

    Btw, is it SparkLines, Sparklines or sparklines?

    Subhash

    Reply

  2. John Kyle
    May 18, 2010

    This is a great new feature in Excel 2010. We are all working with more and more data. As our understanding of the data expands, we need more sophisticated ways to represent trends and patterns in the data. Sometimes basic charts and graphs just don’t show enough information. Because Sparklines offer a way to show a lot of data in a sophisticated, and yet not complicated, visual representation of the data, I think people are really going to use this new feature a lot. And, as you show in this helpful post, it’s pretty easy to create Sparklines with the new Excel. Thanks!

    Reply

  3. Gregor Erbach
    May 18, 2010

    Too bad I will have to wait for a loooooong time until we get Excel 2010 in my workplace. Maybe I can win a personal licence by writing this comment.

    Reply

  4. Drew
    May 18, 2010

    This is the first I’ve seen sparklines–thanks for the overview. Can’t wait–this will be powerful! I’m excited to see the capabilities grow for visual analysis!

    I’ve built a lot of tools to enable some pretty robust mapping in Google Earth from Excel data. Makes me wonder how future versions of Excel may be able visually represent data not only in charts, but also in maps… Anyone have any thoughts?

    Reply

  5. JeanMarc
    May 18, 2010

    Hello. I used the SfE add-in to create some dashboards. My colleagues were impressed but the downside is that most people where I work don’t know how to install Excel add-ins, so I’m about the only one to use them. Excel 2010 sparklines really look easy to use. I just hope that we will soon swith to Excel 2010 but knowing of fast our IT moves, I think I’ll have to wait 4-5 years… Thanks.

    Reply

  6. M
    May 18, 2010

    Cool. Unfortunately, I don’t have Office at home. I wish open office has this feature

    Reply

  7. Hui…
    May 18, 2010

    Here’s another Quick Tip for Sparklines
    ===
    You can have a sparkline and a number in the same cell
    Setup your sparkline as normal, except make the data range 3 or 4 cells longer than you want
    If you want a number on the left side insert 3 or 4 =na() in the spare cells to the left of the data
    In the sparkline cell type your reference to your data as normal
    Good for highlighting the starting or finishing value of the sparkline

    Reply

  8. Hui…
    May 18, 2010

    Here’s another Quick Tip for Sparklines
    ===
    You can also use conditional formatting with sparklines and my previous tip
    So a single cell can display 3 pieces of information:
    + a Sparkline,
    + a Value and
    + a Format

    Reply

  9. dan l
    May 18, 2010

    I get some decent mileage out of sparklines as it is. The biggest difficulty is that with SFE is distribution. I hope that excel 2010 solves some of that.

    I do wish they’d put some more options in there—–for example the only pie chart that I really ever make use of is the SFE pie which is small enough to get a point across effectively yet small enough to not take up a whole page.

    Incidentally: if you don’t mind getting a little cute you can do a pretty good impression of the ‘Consumer Reports’ rating system (http://accurateautoadvice.com/images/cr_ratings.jpg) with those little things. It has disadvantages obviously.

    Chandoo, the stock chart arrows – in 2010 do you do those with the char map and conditional formatting? Or is that now a built in feature?

    Reply

  10. Hui…
    May 18, 2010

    Dan I
    You can do those Pie Charts using a Pie Chart Font
    http://www.fontspace.com/curtis-clark/pie-charts-for-maps

    I think Chandoo uses Paint.net for his markups
    http://chandoo.org/forums/topic/how-do-you-do-those-squiggly-arrows

    Reply

  11. Chandoo
    May 18, 2010

    @Hui.. Excellent tip about using blank cells in the beginning & end to add labels… I didnt know about that.

    However, I would not encourage anyone to add all 3 – value, CF and sparkline to same cell, as this could create some really complex visualization and take a ton of time to understand. But it may some interesting applications.

    @Dan l … The arrows are part of CF in Excel 2010 (and if I am not wrong, they are in 2007 too).

    Reg. your link to consumer report, we have done something similar in excel a while ago – checkout http://chandoo.org/wp/2008/10/07/excel-radar-charts-replacement-spot-matrix-download-template/

    @Subash.. I am not sure what it is..

    Reply

  12. Tom
    May 18, 2010

    Good review – thanks Chandoo!

    I like to miniaturize regular charts to allow for the most flexibility. I’ve written a fairly simple macro with automates the process (it places the chart to the right of the data series that I select, and it also links the chart to the cell so that it resizes when the cell is resized). I agree that this new feature will bring the idea to the masses and 1) provide more widespread acceptance and 2) promote more innovation in their implementation.

    Reply

  13. Rob
    May 18, 2010

    Good overview Chandoo. I look forward to finding a use for these…whenever I can get my hands on Excel 2010.
    Rob

    Reply

  14. Michael Pennington
    May 18, 2010

    Great article, as always. I have tried using BonaVista and the free sparklines add in prior to Excel 2010 and find that most of the times when I run into issues–it is related to the scale. Having to load the custom fonts is also problematic (obviously, not in Excel 2010). I believe that the win-loss charts are the sparklines that convey information to the user in the most effective manner. The line and area charts are just too small to convey anything that isn’t an incredibly dramatic shift or very linear info. For example, the monthly net sales by region you show above, looks very good, but it is difficult to glance at and really understand what happened, without going back to the numbers. I am glad they are going more mainstream, I hope to start utilizing them in dashboards more frequently, but as it stands, in-cell charting is still my preferred method. Keep up the great work, Chandoo!

    Reply

  15. John Donnelly
    May 18, 2010

    Great job as always. You are very thorough and answer all of my questions. I appreciate your posts.

    Reply

  16. dhoff
    May 18, 2010

    Tom,

    Can you share your VBA code to your macro that resizes the chart when the cell is resized?

    Thanks!

    Reply

  17. dan l
    May 18, 2010

    Don’t forget: http://www.spreadsheetml.com/products.html

    Tiny Graphs. It makes small standard charts

    Reply

  18. Bruce Spong
    May 18, 2010

    This is the first I’ve seen sparklines – thanks for the overview. Can’t wait – this is powerful! I’m excited to see the capabilities grow for visual analysis! Makes me look good, too, by adding new features to our dashboards. I look forward to finding a use for these…whenever I can get my hands on Excel 2010~
    Cheers~

    Reply

  19. Alexandra
    May 18, 2010

    I’ve never heard of this before. I’m interested in better ways of presenting data visually, and look forward to trying this out as soon as I get the chance.

    Reply

  20. Chandoo
    May 19, 2010

    @Dan l… I am wrong. the up down arrows are new in Excel 2010. In Excel 2007, we can however use font symbols to get similar effect.

    @all.. thanks for the comments. I am pretty excited about this new feature too…

    Reply

  21. Squiggler
    May 19, 2010

    Interesting you can also use Conditional formatting/Sparklines to create progress meters, by simply setting up Min/Value/Max and graphing them using the formatting or sparklines depending on vertical or horizontal orientation. (sparkline has to be one cell, formatting 3 cells) then simply use copy and paste as linked picture, with the sparklines you have to crop out the min and max, I then group the pasted picture with shapes, lines etc to make the chart! which is then re-sizable!

    Reply

  22. Scaffdog845
    May 19, 2010

    Sparklines rock! Looks like Microsoft may actually be listening to what the user community needs instead of giving us what they think we need.

    Reply

  23. CMT
    May 21, 2010

    Thanks, Chandoo!

    Reply

  24. Paresh shah
    May 26, 2010

    An observation regarding bars/column in the spark line version – in normally sized charts, bars/columns emphasizes individual values because of their visual weight. However, in the spark line version they do not seem to have the same type of weight – look at the table in the post showing the different type of spark lines. While one would normally not use bars to show patterns in the data , in the spark line version I have used them for that purpose. Would be interested to know the experience of other users.

    Reply

  25. jocelyn
    June 7, 2010

    hello I cant see how to get the graph with the ups/down triangles and percentage changes in sparklines as shown in the first example. How is that done as it looks as if these are in the same cell as the line chart

    Reply

  26. Chandoo
    June 8, 2010

    @Jocelyn: I have used conditional formatting icons for that purpose. They are in separate cell. Only that I have removed cell borders and hidden grid lines so that everything looks smooth and merged.

    Reply

  27. jocelyn
    August 26, 2010

    Thanks for that Chandoo is there any chance to use your as a template as badly need something like yours to work with. If the template had all the formats you had dev it would be great please please

    Reply

  28. Suresh
    November 20, 2010

    Hi Chandoo,

    can u help me in preparation of MIS report of a manufacturing company in MS Excel.
    awaiting for ur reply

    Reply

  29. Shawn
    January 27, 2011

    I have Excel 2010 and see the Sparklines module in the ribbon, but it is grayed out, as if it is not enable. Do I require a different version or need to turn the feature on somehow?

    Reply

  30. Hui…
    January 28, 2011

    @Shawn, Make sure you have selected a number of adjacent cells that are suitable for charting, ie: Numbers only, Don’t include text

    Reply

  31. Brady
    February 15, 2011

    Did you ever write the post that talked about how to add sparklines in a pivot table?

    Reply

  32. Dann
    July 28, 2011

    Hi Chandoo, I’m learning a lot, but I can´t practice and bring to life some exaples, specially the ones like this, because I’m using excel 2007, so I would love to win the excel 2010 H&S edition. By the way, your page has helped me a lot at work, reducing for exaple a two days of work in reports to a pair of hours. So my next step, is to create a dashboard integrating all data from every piece of work I have. Thanks!

    Reply

  33. Dave Snyder
    October 20, 2011

    Great feature – Maybe it’s time to upgrade from MS Office 2003 – long over due.

    Reply

  34. James
    November 2, 2011

    @Chandoo… Re: June 8, 2010 comment. I am trying to mimic your “smooth and merged” look since users cannot move the icon set to the right of the Sparkline. Since I cannot hide the gridline of just one cell, I colored the left border of the icon set column to white. But I still see the faint, thin white mark at the intersection of each column and row separator. How did you get yours so clean?

    Reply

  35. Bob C.
    September 13, 2012

    My son came to me for help with sparkline. I had never used it before but found it very interesting to use. Wish I had seen your explanation of it before experiencing the MS software. We did manage to get through it. By the way it does have 3-D.

    Reply

  36. misha
    December 24, 2012

    Hi, I am not sure how to do it most effectively win pivot when the row vlues change according to slicers
    Thanks 

    Reply

  37. sharif
    March 28, 2014

    when I open excel I do not find the sparklines in the ribbon..! could you inform me how should I add it to the ribbon? on excel 2007

    Reply

  38. Ravi Agrawal
    June 12, 2014

    Superb Article and explanantions……i will certainly use these sparklines in my dashboards and presentations

    Reply

  39. Wendy Farkas
    February 7, 2015

    When you view 2 or 3 lines, you can compare trends (up/down). Don’t you think that when you have a bunch of them, you can’t see the forest for the trees?

    In your illustration I see a bunch of lines. I’d be looking for markers or line colors or arrow characters to clue me. Is there such a thing as diminishing returns / too much of a good thing?

    Reply

  40. Nicole
    February 13, 2016

    Pls I need this for college help

    Reply

    • Hui…
      February 13, 2016

      @Nicole
      What is the question?

      Reply

  41. Maria
    May 24, 2017

    Great but they cannot be vertical, or am I wrong?

    Reply

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