Show Trends Inside a Cell via Sparklines

SUMMARY: Display miniature graphs, sparklines, showing trends in a series of data in an Excel 2010 worksheet.

While it is relatively easy to place multiple graphs inside a Microsoft Excel 2010 worksheet, adding too many may make your document seem unwieldy. However, multiple graphs may prove useful, especially when determining trends. For example, a worksheet containing rows of prices of different stocks across several quarters might benefit from graphs showing the trends of each stock’s price. The same could be said for a group of students’ grades (see the below screenshot), sales figures from your sales team, etc.

With the use of “Sparklines” you can add smaller miniature graphs for each row of data illustrating trends for each row:

An Excel 2010 worksheet of student grades that may benefit from Sparklines
1. Highlight the cells containing the data for which you wish to generate trend graphs (Sparklines):

2. Select the “Insert” tab in the Ribbon.

3. In the “Sparklines” group, click either the “Line” or “Columns” button (the Win/Loss Sparkline shows trends in a slightly different way and is outside the scope of this tip).

4. The “Create Sparkline” dialog box appears. From here, enter the range of data that will be used to create the Sparkline as well as the cells where you want the Sparklines placed. You can click the buttons next to the input boxes to visually select the ranges, if desired.

Note that while the below screenshot shows Sparklines placed in their own blank cells, this does not have to be the case. If desired, you can place Sparklines directly behind live data inside cells!

Choosing the Sparkline data range and where to place the graphs in Excel 2010

5. Click “OK” to generate your Sparklines – see the below screenshot for an example.