Use Sparkline Groups in Your Excel Dashboards and Reports

By Michael Alexander

Sparklines in Excel enable you to see trends and patterns within your data at a glance using minimal real estate on your dashboard. Most of the time, you’ll probably create a group of sparklines — one for each row or column of data. A worksheet can hold any number of sparkline groups. Excel remembers each group, and you can work with the group as a single unit.

For example, you can select one sparkline in a group and then modify the formatting of all sparklines in the group. When you select one sparkline cell, Excel displays an outline of all the other sparklines in the group.

You can, however, perform some operations on an individual sparkline in a group:

  • Change the sparkline’s data source. Click the sparkline cell and go to the Sparkline Tools tab on the Ribbon. There you can click Design→Sparkline→Edit Data→Edit Single Sparkline’s Data. Excel displays a dialog box that lets you change the data source for the selected sparkline.

  • Delete the sparkline. Click the sparkline, click the Sparkline Tools tab on the Ribbon, and then select Design→Group→Clear→Clear Selected Sparklines.

Both of these operations are available from the shortcut menu that appears when you right-click a sparkline cell.

You can also ungroup a set of sparklines. Select any sparkline in the group and select Design→Group→Ungroup from the Sparkline Tools tab. After you ungroup a set of sparklines, you can work with each sparkline individually.

You can add a new sparkline to an existing group by first selecting any sparkline in the existing group, and then selecting Design→Edit Data→Edit Group Location & Data. This activates the Edit Sparklines dialog box. Simply edit the Data Range and Location Range to include the new data you want added.