How to use Sparklines in Excel

In this tutorial, you’ll discover how to effectively utilize Sparklines, which are compact charts designed for trend identification within cells. Sparklines offer a quick overview of data trends, perfect for dashboards, reports, and spreadsheets.

Creating Sparklines

To create a sparkline, click anywhere in the data area. Then go to the Insert > Sparklines and select the desired type.

Ribbon Sparklines

A Create Sparklines window appears.

Create Sparklines Window

Specify the data range by clicking inside the Data Range textbox and selecting cells.

In the Location Range textbox, identify where you want to insert the sparkline.

Utilize AutoComplete for additional cells or create multiple sparklines for multiple rows.

Types of Sparklines

There are three primary types of Sparklines in Excel:

Line Spaklines

This type of sparkline represent trends in data over time and are ideal for continuous data sets. Line Sparklines display a series of data points as a simple line, with the height of the line indicating the data value.

Line Sparklines

Column Spaklines

Similar to bar charts, Column Sparklines are used to represent categorical data. They display a series of columns, with the height of each column representing the data value.

Column Sparklines

Win / Loss Spaklines

Designed for data sets with only two values (e.g., win/loss results or binary data), Win/Loss Sparklines display a series of small dots. Positive values are shown as dots above the line, while negative values appear below the line.

Win Loss Sparklines

Highlighting Specific Points

You can enhance the clarity of your Sparklines by highlighting specific data points, such as positive or negative values. Use the “Show” group on the “Design” tab to access options for displaying markers, high points, low points, and the first and last points.

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For instance, to highlight negative values in a Sparkline, select the “Negative Points” checkbox.

Sparkline Show

Customizing Sparklines

Tailor your Sparklines to match your preferences by adjusting their color, style, and size. The “Sparkline Options” group on the “Design” tab provides options for changing marker color, line color, fill color, and border style.

You can also modify the Sparkline’s size by dragging the sizing handles.

Spaklines Marker Color

Removing Sparklines

You cannot delete sparklines by selecting them and pressing the Delete key. You must select the cells, right-click, and then select Sparklines > Clear Selected Sparklines.

Clear Selected Sparklines

You can also do it with Ribbon. Go to Ribbon > [click sparklines] > Design > Group > Clear.

Ribbon Clear Selected Sparklines

The location range for Sparklines specifies where the Sparklines will be inserted. You can define the location range when creating Sparklines or modify it afterward.

Free example spreadsheet here