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.
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.
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).