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 Another tip from Microsoft about Excel 2010 BETA
  Microsoft Office
Turn information into insights. Visualize better decisions with Microsoft Excel 2010.
” Sparklines—miniature charts that fit into a single Excel cell—help you see individual trends quickly and make better decisions.”
Set off your data with Sparklines:
1. On the Insert tab on the Ribbon, locate the Sparklines group.
2. Select the type of Sparklines you want to insert, such as Line, Column, or Win/Loss.
3. In the Create Sparklines dialog box, define your Data Range and Location Range, and then click OK.
To discover more great ways to use Sparklines, see Getting Started: Use Sparklines to Show Data Trends.
Screenshot: Sparklines

What are sparklines?

Unlike charts on an Excel worksheet, sparklines are not objects — a sparkline is actually a tiny chart in the background of a cell. The following picture shows a column sparkline in cell F2 and a line sparkline in F3. Both of these sparklines get their data from cells A2 through E2 and display a chart inside a cell that shows the performance of a stock. The charts show the values by quarter, highlight the high value (3/31/08) and the low value (12/31/08), show all the data points, and show the downward trend for the year.

Sparklines and their data

A sparkline in cell F6 shows the 5-year performance for the same stock, but displays a Win/Loss bar chart that shows only whether the year had a gain (as in the years 2004 through 2007) or a loss (2008). This sparkline uses values from cells A6 through E6.

Because a sparkline is a tiny chart embedded in a cell, you can enter text in a cell and use a sparkline as its background, as shown in the following picture.

A cell containing a sparkline and text

In this sparkline, the high value marker is green, and the low value marker is orange. All other markers are shown in black.

You can apply a color scheme to your sparklines by choosing a built-in format from the Style gallery (Design tab, which becomes available when you select a cell that contains a sparkline). You can use the Sparkline Color or Marker Color commands to choose a color for the high, low, first, and last values (such as green for high, and orange for low).



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