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MS Excel 2010: See Your Trends With Spark

With the release of Excel 2010 we have another quick, easy-to-use and powerful tool to take a graphic look at the trend found in a set of data… Sparklines.

Sparklines are a set of graphs that can be inserted into a single cell that shows the trend of a set of selected data in the form of a line plot, column chart or a win/loss column chart.

For example – at the bottom of the column of data the little line graph is a Sparkline line plot.


That’s right… the whole graph is in a single cell… you don’t have to go through the whole production of inserting a chart – it’s just a matter of telling Excel what data to graph and where to place the Sparkline.

Now, if you do any kind of data analysis then you’re interested so let me show you how to make Sparklines work for you.

The first step is to select the data you want the Sparkline to display.

Next it’s off to the Insert tab.

To the right of the Charts group you will find the Sparklines group.


Choose the type of Sparkline you want to use.

The Create Sparklines dialog box will open.


In the top section the data range is entered. (If you started with the data selected then that information is already in the field – if not then place your cursor in the field and select the cells with the dialog box still opened and Excel will fill in the information for you.)

The bottom field is where you enter the location of the cell where the Sparkline should be placed. (Same as with the data – with the cursor in the field, select the destination cell and Excel will put the address into the field for you.)

Click OK.

That’s it.

In you’re selected cell you’ll find the Sparkline you chose and a Sparklines Tools Design tab will open allowing to adjustments to graph type, color, marking of specific points, etc…

What’s the sales trend lately? How has your grade changed over the course of the semester?

Whatever the data Sparklines can lend you a helping hand in the department of a quick analysis.

~ April