Add and format charts

Add sparkline charts

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Sparklines are mini-charts placed in single cells, to show visual data trends. You can quickly add and format a Sparkline chart in your worksheet.

Add a Sparkline chart

  1. Select the data for your Sparkline chart.

  2. Select Quick Analysis in the lower-right corner of the selected data.
    Quick Analysis

  3. Select SparkLines and then select Line, Column, or Win/Loss.

Format a Sparkline chart

  1. Select the Sparkline chart.

  2. Select Design and then select an option:
    Sparklines Tools

    • Select Line, Column, or Win/Loss to change the chart type.

    • Check Markers to highlight individual values in the Sparkline chart.

    • Select a Style for the Sparkline.

    • Select Sparkline Color and the color.

    • Select Sparkline Color > Weight to select the width of the Sparkline.

    • Select Marker Color to change the color of the markers.

    • If the data has positive and negative values, select Axis to show the axis.

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Analyze trends in data using sparklines

You want a quick picture of the data in question.

I'm going to select this data right here.

When you select data like this, the Quick Analysis button appears.

Let's click it and choose Sparklines. Now, sparklines, not exactly a misnomer but sparklines can be Lines or Columns or Win/Loss.

And as I slide over these, look in the background. You see what's about to happen. Line is probably the most commonly used. I'll select it right now.

That gives us a picture of what's been happening.

It's a line chart of this data.

And here's a line chart for the next row and so on. We see that.

We can make changes to this to make it stand out even more strongly if we wish.

As we select this data, a contextual tab appears in the ribbon.

It's a Design tab with some features associated with sparklines. Lots of choices here for colors.

Maybe that looks better, maybe not.

We can change not only the sparkline color but also the weight of it, meaning the thickness.

Maybe it'll look better if it's a bit thicker.

We also have control over showing all of the markers.

We can do that. Or possibly just the High Point.

In this case it's at the end in each case.

The Low Point not always at the beginning but there it is there.

We see some options here for controlling the display of this.

Off to the left, and we saw this earlier, this could look better as a Column.

It could look better as a Win/Loss.

One of the down sides of Column, by the way, is as you look at the different heights here, don't be comparing different rows.

In other words you might be comparing them for trend purposes but don't assume the height of the column is proportional.

If I'm looking at all of these columns at once here, I'm thinking that maybe the last column in all cases is the tallest and it probably is for each set of data, but the last column here in row four represents 156.

The column above it that looks to me almost the same size is almost 300.

So they're not proportional as you look up and down here.

So it makes sense only to be comparing the data for a given row at a time.

Now the data down below has negatives in it and we can create sparklines in the same way but there's another way to create sparklines.

You can begin by either highlighting the data or simply highlighting the location where you want the sparklines to appear.

For example here. And then on the Insert tab in the ribbon, there's the Sparklines section.

Choose Line. And we've already selected a location range but not the data range.

Click in this white panel, highlight the data. And OK.

Similar chart; looks okay.

But we do have in this case data below zero.

I strongly recommend showing the Axis here.

Now if we show an axis in the previous set of sparklines, nothing would happen, but here it does.

I think it's important to show it here.

If we went up here, and even if we changed it back to Line, we cannot show an axis here because nothing goes below zero.

So we see what's happening. But here it does. And here, too.

You might consider the option of going to Sparkline, Color.

Changing the weight of this to make it a bit thicker and consider how that looks.

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