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Introducing Sparklines: Mini-Charts Placed in Cells
Introducing Sparklines: Mini-Charts Placed in Cells
One of the most celebrated new features of Excel 2010 is the sparkline , a charting tool
that enables you to capture your data with a different, cell-based approach. The
brainchild of renowned visual information expert Edward Tufte, sparklines have actually
been around for a while, but they made their Excel debut with this version.
Sparklines are unlike standard Excel charts in that they actually occupy cells in the
worksheet. Standard charts are slapped on top of the worksheet like sticky notes—
that’s why you can drag them around when you want to move them. Sparklines, on the
other hand, lock themselves into individual cells, so they actually have addresses. And
because each sparkline occupies one cell, it tends to be rather small, at least for
starters. The only way to enlarge one is to either widen its column or heighten its row.
But what can sparklines do for you that Excel’s standard charts can’t? The answer is
that with sparklines you can select a range consisting of rows of data, such as our
grades, and batch up a sparkline for each row—something like Figure 6–54.
Figure 6–54. Mini-charts, one per student
That’s the sparkline advantage—allowing the user to chart many sets—or rows—of data
individually. Let’s have a go:
First, select the range
in which you want the
sparklines to appear—
in this case M10:M13
(see Figure 6–55). (You
can either delete or
move any existing
charts on your
workbook that may be
obscuring your view of
the range.)
Figure 6–55. We’ll place a sparkline alongside each
student’s set of grades.
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