Charts and can help show trends that are hard to pick out of a large table of numbers. But often you need the detail that is on those numbers. What if you could have both at the same time? That is where Sparklines come in. They are mini charts that fit within a cell in an Excel worksheet so you can have your numbers and your chart too.

To insert a Sparkline, go to the Insert tab of the ribbon, in the Sparkline section choose Line, Column, or Win/Loss. Choose the area for the data you want summarized in the chart, then choose where you want the chart to be displayed.


In this table we have a list of sales by sales rep, with a column for each month. To add Sparklines in column E, select cell E2, go to the Insert tab on the ribbon. In the Sparklines section choose either Line, Column, or Win/Loss depending on which type of chart you want.

  A B C D E
2 Brandee Nunnley 81,085 29,902 50,764  
3 Colista Swinton 37,040 76,882 54,222  
4 Doroth Beck 76,093 11,212 91,036  
5 Derrick Gross 90,942 70,115 27,997  

A window will open. At Choose the data you want enter the range of cells that hold your data, in this case that would be from A2 to D5. You can either highlight those cells with your mouse or type A2:D5 in the data range.

Then at Choose where you want the sparklines to be placed enter E2:E5 or highlight cells E2 to E5 with your mouse. Click OK and the sparklines will be placed in column E. Each sparkline is charting only the data in that row, even though we entered the entire range at once.

To format the sparklines click on a cell with a sparkline in it, go to the Design tab of the ribbon and select the formatting element you want to change. You can switch the type between line, column, and win/loss, highlight data points such as high, low or negative, select a color scheme, or choose line and marker colors yourself. The Axis button lets you choose options such as showing or hiding the axis, and minimum/maximum axis values. The Clear button removes the sparkline.