How sparklines deal with non-numeric values in Excel

Sparklines are small charts that fit into a single Microsoft Excel cell. But if you’re tracking non-numeric data, they can exhibit weird behavior. Learn how to avoid problems when using sparklines.

Image: Paul Barnwell/Shutterstock

Sparklines in Microsoft Excel are charts—tiny little charts that display inline with the data because they fit into a cell, usually adjacent to the data they’re evaluating. With a quick glance, not only can you learn about a single entity, but you can compare that entity to others. They’re great in dashboards, but their real strength is in their simplicity. They are super easy to implement; you get a lot for little effort. Sparklines chart numeric data as you might expect. They can handle non-numeric data when it creeps in, but viewers might not understand how the sparklines represent…

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