Sparklines are small, lightweight charts, typically without axes, which exist inside a single cell in your spreadsheets. They’re a wonderful, quick way to visualize your data, without needing the complexity of a full-blown chart.

- Introduction
- Sparkline Examples
- Sparkline Syntax
- Line Sparklines
- Column Sparklines
- Bar Sparklines
- Winloss Sparklines
- Option/value pairs in cells
- More advanced examples
- Further reading

# Introduction

Sparklines were first created by interface designer Peter Zelchenko around 1998. The term “sparkline” was coined by statistician and data visualization legend Edward Tufte.

# Sparkline examples

I’ve been building a lot of dashboards in Google Sheets recently, making heavy use of sparklines to show data trends.

For example, here’s a column sparkline to show website users in the past 30 days:

Then, a combination of line sparklines and bar sparklines for social media metrics:

And finally, I’ve used a winloss sparkline chart to show web outages over the past 24 hour period:

So let’s explore how to create these charts and customize them to meet your needs. Links to all of the examples below are available for viewing in Google Sheets.

# Sparkline Syntax

The most basic sparkline in Google Sheets looks like this:

Assuming your data is in range A1 to A8, the formula would be:

`=sparkline(A1:A8)`

More generally, the sparkline formula syntax is:

`=sparkline(data,[options])`

`data`

This refers to the dataset (the range of values) you want to plot as a sparkline.

`[options]`

This is an optional argument, used to specify things like chart type (e.g. column), color and other specific settings:

- Conditions are placed inside a set of curly braces
`{ ... }`

- Options are further enclosed in double quotes, e.g.
`"charttype"`

- Option values are usually enclosed in double quotes, e.g.
but numbers or true/false settings do not need the double quotes`"column"`

- Options and values are separated by commas
- Multiple options/value pairs are separated by semi-colons

Example:

`{"charttype","column";"axis",true;"axiscolor","red"}`

We’ll explore all of this below.

There are four types of sparkline charts available in Google Sheets: line charts (the default), column charts, bar charts and winloss charts.

Let’s take a look at each in turn, through a series of examples.

## Line sparklines

This is the default choice for sparklines in Google Sheets, meaning that Google will default to showing a line if you don’t specify anything in your options.

Assume I have the following data in columns A and B of my Google Sheet. The idea here is to create a sparkline that displays the sales data from column B in a single cell, as a simple, lightweight chart without any additional details.

You’ll notice there are some blank values, some negative values and some text values in column B. That’s intentional and we’ll explore how to deal with each of those with the sparkline formula.

**Default:**

Since line charts are the default sparkline option, we don’t need to explicitly specify the chart type. So we can create a sparkline line chart with this simple formula:

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21)`

**Color option:**

Change the color of your sparkline by adding the color option/value pair, as follows:

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"color","red"})`

or using hex notation:

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"color","#FFA500"})`

**Line-width option:**

The higher the number you specify, the thicker the line.

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"linewidth",3})`

**Xmax and Xmin options:**

If our data includes a column of x-values, then we can then specify a minimum or maximum for that axis. So from our data above, **we now include column A** in our spakrline formula argument, then specify a minimum and/or maximum in our sparkline options, for example:

`=SPARKLINE(A2:B21,{"xmin",5;"xmax",15})`

This would only include values from column B, where the values in column A are between 5 and 15.

*Note: I would advise a degree of caution with the xmin and xmax criteria. They are somewhat volatile and caused one of my Google Sheets to repeatedly crash.*

**Ymax and Ymin options:**

Similarly we can specify bounds on the y values we plot in our sparkline, by using the ymax or ymin criteria. For example to only include values zero or above we would use:

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"ymin",0})`

To set a ymax and ymin:

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"ymin",10;"ymax",20})`

**Empty option:**

Use the “empty” option to determine whether blank cells in your dataset are rendered as 0 in your sparkline, or just ignored (the datapoint is not included in your sparkline). The formulas are respectively:

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"empty","zero"})`

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"empty","ignore"})`

**Nan option:**

Similar to the empty option above, use the “nan” option to determine how non-numeric cells (text cells) in your dataset are rendered in your sparkline. The options here are to convert to 0 or to ignore, as above, and the formulas are respectively:

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"nan","convert"})`

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"nan","ignore"})`

**Rtl option:**

Want your chart to show from right-to-left? Use the option “rtl”, which can be set to true or false, to specify the direction of your sparkline.

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"rtl",true})`

Compare this sparkline to the first line chart and you’ll see the reversed direction:

## Column sparklines

As the name suggests, column sparklines are small column charts that exist inside a single cell. For these examples, I’m using data set up as per the line chart example.

**Default option:**

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","column"})`

**Color option:**

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","column";"color","#FF0000"})`

**Lowcolor option:**

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","column";"lowcolor","red"})`

**Highcolor option:**

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","column";"highcolor","red"})`

**Firstcolor and lastcolor options:**

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","column";"firstcolor","red"})`

Similarly, you can se the lastcolor option.

**Negcolor option:**

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","column";"negcolor","red"})`

**Axis and Axiscolor options:**

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","column";"axis",true;"axiscolor","red"})`

**Ymax and Ymin options:**

Works the same as the line chart examples above. For example, setting a max value of 0 creates a sparkline with only the negative columns showing:

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","column";"ymax",0})`

**Empty option:**

Works the same as the line chart examples above.

**Nan option:**

Works the same as the line chart examples above.

**Rtl option:**

Works the same as the line chart examples above.

### Trick to add a reference line at a set point

A reader emailed in to ask whether you could add a reference line at a set point on a column sparkline. Unfortunately you can’t; the only thing you can do is add a y-axis at 0.

However, we can use a trick and split the data in two, and create two sparklines with a border between them to achieve this effect:

In this case, the values lie between 10 and 30, with a reference line at 20. The following formulas are used to create the split data (columns B and C):

`=IF(A2<20,{A2,0},{20,A2-20})`

This formula is copied into cell B2 and copied down to B21 only. It outputs an array which will populate column C. The top sparkline formulas is:

`=SPARKLINE(C2:C11,{"charttype","column"})`

and the lower sparkline formula is:

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B11,{"charttype","column";"ymin",0})`

## Bar sparklines

You guessed it, these are small bar charts that exist inside a single cell. The usage is a little different than the line and column charts we've looked at so far though, because these are stacked bar charts. So you can point to a single cell of data and create charts based off of that, for example.

**Using multiple bar sparklines to create charts:**

This method works by setting a max value that applies to all your bar sparklines, using the "max" option. So step 1 is to determine a suitable maximum that works for your whole data range (consider using the MAX() formula to determine). In this example, 30 worked as my max option.

The formulas to create these sparklines are:

`=SPARKLINE(A3,{"charttype","bar";"max",30})`

`=SPARKLINE(A4,{"charttype","bar";"max",30})`

`=SPARKLINE(A5,{"charttype","bar";"max",30})`

etc...

**Two series:**

`=SPARKLINE(A16:B16,{"charttype","bar";"max",40})`

**Two series with as stacked percentage chart:**

`=SPARKLINE(A27:B27,{"charttype","bar";"max",1})`

**Two series with as stacked bar chart:**

Using the sum of the two values as the "max" option ensures that the bars will always be 100% of your cell width.

`=SPARKLINE(A33:B33,{"charttype","bar";"max",sum(A33,B33)})`

**Changing colors:**

You can specify up to two colors in sparkline bar charts. The colors alternate for each new value.

`=SPARKLINE(B40:C40,{"charttype","bar";"max",SUM(B40,C40);"color1","red";"color2","black"})`

**Other options:**

The formulas to create these bar sparklines, in the order they appear above, are:

`=sparkline(B45:D45,{"charttype","bar";"max",30;"color1","#009900";"color2","#66ff66"})`

`=sparkline(B46:D46,{"charttype","bar";"max",30;"color1","#009900";"color2","#66ff66"; "empty","zero"})`

`=sparkline(B47:D47,{"charttype","bar";"max",30;"color1","#009900";"color2","#66ff66"; "empty","ignore"})`

`=sparkline(B48:D48,{"charttype","bar";"max",30;"color1","#009900";"color2","#66ff66"; "nan","convert"})`

`=sparkline(B49:D49,{"charttype","bar";"max",30;"color1","#009900";"color2","#66ff66"; "nan","ignore"})`

`=sparkline(B50:D50,{"charttype","bar";"max",30;"color1","#009900";"color2","#66ff66"; "rtl",true})`

## Winloss charts

These are a special type of column chart that plots only 2 possible outcomes: positive and negative (e.g. like a coin toss, heads or tails).

Here's the dataset for the following examples. The winloss sparkline is only concerned with whether a datapoint is positive or negative, it doesn't take relative sizes into account. So, in effect, it's really like a column chart of -1's and 1's.

**Default winloss sparkline:**

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","winloss"})`

**Color option:**

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","winloss";"color","red"})`

**Lowcolor/Highcolor option:**

Even though the winloss chart displays all the "columns" the same height, it is able to highlight the highest and lowest values in your original dataset. For example, the following formula colors the lowest values red (in the case of this dataset, that's the three -10 values):

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","winloss";"lowcolor","red"})`

**Firstcolor option:**

Highlights the first value of the dataset:

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","winloss";"firstcolor","red"})`

**Lastcolor option:**

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","winloss";"lastcolor","red"})`

**Negcolor option:**

Highlights all the negative values:

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","winloss";"negcolor","red"})`

**Axis and Axiscolor options:**

`=SPARKLINE(B2:B21,{"charttype","winloss";"axis",true; "axiscolor","red"})`

**Empty option:**

Works the same as the line chart examples above.

**Nan option:**

Works the same as the line chart examples above.

**Rtl option:**

Works the same as the line chart examples above.

## Option/value pairs in cells

So far, we've encoded the options as an array of text strings inside of the sparkline formula, between the curly braces, e.g.: `{"charttype","column";"axis",true;"axiscolor","red"}`

However, we can instead list our option/value pairs in a range of cells in our spreadsheet, and then reference them in the sparkline formula.

Consider a dataset and option/value pairs setup as follows:

Then enter this formula into cell F2:

`=sparkline(A2:A21,{C2,D2;C3,D3})`

to create your sparkline. We still need to enclose the options in the curly braces, ** { ... }**, and separate the options and values with commas and semi-colons, but notice how we've used cell references instead of text strings this time.

The output of this formula is the following sparkline, in cell F2:

We can take this even further by putting all our options into two columns and then referencing those ranges:

The formula in this case is then:

`=sparkline(A2:A21,{C2:C9,D2:D9})`

where my range of option/value pairs extend down to row 9 (adjust as needed to accommodate different number of options).

Lastly, we could get fancy by adding a data validation drop down menu to pick from the option/value pairs, e.g. for `charttype`

, as shown in the following GIF:

## More advanced sparkline examples

You can nest other formulas inside of sparklines, for example you can quickly and easily plot stock prices using the sparkline formula.

Let's create sparklines for the big tech stocks for the past 60 days, like so:

We create these charts by first using the GOOGLEFINANCE() function to get the stock prices for the past 60 days up to today (using the TODAY() formula):

`=GOOGLEFINANCE($B3,"price",TODAY()-60,TODAY(),"DAILY")`

Then we nest this inside the sparkline formula to chart this data:

`=sparkline(GOOGLEFINANCE($B3,"price",TODAY()-60,TODAY(),"DAILY"),{"charttype","line";"linewidth",2;"color","#5f88cc"})`

Cool huh!

We can also turn this same data into column charts, but we need to finesse the GOOGLEFINANCE data since we only want the second column of data. We do this with the QUERY() function:

`=query(GOOGLEFINANCE($B13,"price",TODAY()-60,TODAY(),"DAILY"),"select Col2",-1)`

Then we nest this inside the sparkline formula:

`=sparkline(query(GOOGLEFINANCE($B13,"price",TODAY()-60,TODAY(),"DAILY"),"select Col2",-1),{"charttype","column";"highcolor","red"})`

I've also highlighted the highest stock price in our period, using red shading. The output is as follows:

## Further reading

Official Google Documentation.

Sparklines on Wikipedia.

Edward Tufte's detailed take on sparklines.

Sparklines can be implemented in Microsoft Excel too.

Hi Ben,

I wonder if sparklines can be used to show the distribution of data. I find myself in many situations in which I’m looking at really basic statistics, but I may be missing out on the real data by looking at the distribution of data.

If I could easily see where there’s some significant normal or chi distribution, I would save time doing graphs one by one and straigh away see where there are interesting things to dig into!

Any ideas?

Hi Albert,

You can definitely use sparklines to create mini histograms to look at whether data is normally distributed or not. For example, I would use a column chart to show this:

`=sparkline(A3:A23,{"charttype","column"})`

as shown in this image:Here’s some more info on normal distributions and charts in Google Sheets: https://www.benlcollins.com/spreadsheets/histograms-normal-distribution/

Hi Ben

Really useful.

Can a series show “highcolor” and “lowcolor” at the same time? I’m looking to use both with this formula.

Regards – Nigel.

sparkline(query(GOOGLEFINANCE($A$5,”price”,DATE(2016,1,1),TODAY(),”DAILY”),”select Col2″,-1),{“charttype”,”column”;”highcolor”,”red”})

Hi Nigel, you can add the lowcolor option after the highcolor, like so:

`=sparkline(query(GOOGLEFINANCE($A$5,”price”,DATE(2016,1,1),TODAY(),”DAILY”),”select Col2″,-1),{“charttype”,”column”;”highcolor”,”red”`

;"lowcolor","orange"})However, you probably won’t be able to see the lowcolor on your sparkline, because it’s so close to the axis as to be invisible. If you try with a smaller date range, you should be able to see the effect, e.g. last week prices for Google ticker:

`=sparkline(query(GOOGLEFINANCE("GOOG","price",today()-7,today(),"DAILY"),"select Col2 offset 1"),{"charttype","column";"highcolor","red";"lowcolor","orange"})`

Hope that helps!

Ben

=SPARKLINE(I3:K3,{“linewidth”,3})

I can´t understand why it is not working in my spreadsheet.

When I create the sparkline above it shows me an #ERRO!

But if I use only =SPARKLINE(I3:K3) it´s work.

Hi Renato, Not sure why that’s not working for you. I’ve just tried:

`=sparkline(I3:K3,{"linewidth",3})`

and it works for me in my Google Sheet. Feel free to share the sheet if you want.

Ben

Try using ; rather than ,

Great suggestion Stefan, thanks! The use of comma’s or semi colons as separators in your formulas depends on your locale. Hopefully this fixes the issue for you.

Hi Ben,

I experience the same problem as Renato.

I’ll get a message saying: “Function SPARKLINE parameter 2 has incorrect column size. Expected: 2. Actual: 1.”

I’ve tried to both change the column size and to merge two cells, but it doesn’t work. Hope you have a suggestion.

/Ken

Hey Ken,

Can you share your formula? Where are you based? In some of the European countries you’ll need to use “;” instead of “,” in the formulas.

So try this:

`=sparkline(range ; { conditions })`

I’ve even seen an example where the back slash was used to separate conditions inside the sparkline, like this:

`=sparkline(range ; { "charttype"\"column" ; "color"\"red" })`

Hope that helps!

Ben

Thank you Ben! It’s solved. I used the back slash as you recommended, now it works!

/Ken

Hi Ben,

Is it possible to highlight/color out of range values? Like for a specified max or min value (sort of like highcolor and lowcolor will do, but for as many high or low values outside of a certain range as are in the data)?

I’m thinking of charting lab results, where a “normal” range is expected and I’d like to highlight higher or lower than normal values. Could be in a line or column sparkline.

Ideas?

Thanks,

Saro

Hi Saro,

Unfortunately you can’t get to this level of detail with the line or column sparklines.

The closest I could get was with bar sparklines to highlight values above a threshold: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zKlMFfI6-K9RywMze-emK0VquerUnsHoQ9JpSA-V9IE/edit?usp=sharing

Sparklines are really designed for “at-a-glance” type reading so they’re not best suited to really detailed charts. You might be better plotting with a regular stacked column chart.

Thanks,

Ben

Hi Ben,

Thanks for responding. I actually found a very clunky workaround that involves plotting the normal range values (max and min) as extreme datapoints, and then using xmin and xmax to hide them from the sparkline view. That way, I get two horizontal lines at the normal maximum and normal minimum, which will work for what I’m doing. Example is here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1IsYuFgQJxeUFQK-ynuQBeHbpifhb8qlCqyLwglKF0RI/edit?usp=sharing

But I really like the stacked columns/bars idea, and might play with that too if I decide the colors would be easier to see that way. I just want an at a glance indicator if something was out of the expected range.

Saro

Great work Saro and thanks for sharing your worksheet! I hadn’t thought of using an array as the data for the sparkline, really interesting. I’ll have to update this post to deal with input arrays at some stage…

No problem! I only went the array route because the x-axis for me included unequal interval dates.

Saro

Is it possible to create a sparkline in googlesheets with multiple ranges? I’m trying to create a cell-based column chart that does not use consecutive data (though all in the same row). If so, is there also a way to filter out certain columns based on the column headers?

Thanks!

Hey Amy,

Yes, you can do that. After some experimentation I found using the filter function with an Array Formula will do the trick. The trick is to create an array of TRUE/FALSE corresponding to the columns you want to include/exclude. You can do this with a helper row (which has the advantage of being able to change the column selection easily) or by coding TRUE/FALSE directly in the formula.

For example, if I had data in columns B to J and I want to include only columns B,C,F,G,H,J then I can use either of these formulas:

`=sparkline(ArrayFormula(FILTER(B13:J13,{TRUE,TRUE,FALSE,FALSE,TRUE,TRUE,TRUE,FALSE,TRUE})))`

`=sparkline(ArrayFormula(FILTER(B5:J5,$B$3:$J$3)))`

Here’s an image of the sheet and formula:

Here’s a spreadsheet showing these formulas. Feel free to make a copy.

Hope that helps.

Cheers,

Ben

Ben, thanks so much for your quick and thorough reply! (And for being a genius!)

The column headers in my spreadsheet are selected from drop-down lists, so I’m using your first suggestion (the helper row) and it’s working perfectly. All I needed was an =IF formula based on the column headers to generate the helper row.

Greatly appreciated!

Amy

Great!

Hi Ben,

I just started customizing Eric Bates’ highly recommended project management template (http://eric-bates.com/project-planning-template/) and wanted to find out more about sparklines. I was happy to find your very clear guide on how to use and adapt them — btw, your page is the second search result for “sparklines Google sheets” — First is Google support 🙂

Happy too to see a compatriot making it in DC. ╭( ･ㅂ･)و ̑̑

Thanks David! That project template looks great as well, I hadn’t seen that before so thanks for sharing.

Thank you so much #1

Hi

Do you know how to create a sparkline in Google sheets that automatically updates based on last value in a column? For example if I have a column of data from A10 to AXX, where XX constantly changes, how do I create sparkline for this?

Sure thing! There’s a couple of ways to do this, one easy and one that involves some more advanced formulas but is rather crafty 😉 (there are probably/possibly other ways too).

1. Simply use the range

`A10:A`

in your sparkline formula, so it looks like this:2. Use a formula to find the last cell in the column that is non-blank, create a string from that, create a named range for the cell with the string, use the indirect formula to refer to this string range inside your sparkline formula! Oooof, definitely harder!

Here’s the sheet with both examples.

Feel free to make your own copy and then you can try it out.

Cheers,

Ben

Thanks! Great explanation.

Thanks! Worked great and excellent explanation.

this is really cool, thx

Hi Ben!

Tx a lot for this article, it’s really helping me, i just wanna ask you one quesiton, because i was unable to do it in G spreadsheets.

I have an excel spreadsheet that i want to convert to GSpreadsheet, in the excel i have the following bar chart: (check the screenshot, pls)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/4339rm2v7a6wm4v/Screenshot%202016-09-23%2021.31.38.png?dl=0

The thing is that i can’t figure it out how to display the negatives value, as in excel. There is any way to do it, or i need to go with a column chart type?

tx, Bruno!

Hey Bruno,

Yes, you can get pretty close (minus the data labels) by using the Right-to-Left feature of bar sparklines. I use an IF formula to see if I have a positive or negative value, then choose the sparkline accordingly. Here’s the formula:

`=if(A1>0,sparkline({100,A1},{"charttype","bar";"color1","white";"color2","green";"max",300}),sparkline({200,abs(A1)},{"charttype","bar";"color1","white";"color2","red";"max",300;"rtl",true}))`

which will create sparklines like this:

Here’s a google sheet example: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1lZJBFvjy6zmKQ7FTGioeft28VpPjekzAYg-fJXXq0II/edit?usp=sharing

Hope that helps.

Cheers,

Ben

Awesome. Simplified the formula a little:

`=sparkline({100,abs(A1)},{"charttype","bar";"color1","white";"color2",if(A1>0,"green","red");"max",200; "rtl",A1<0})`

Awesome article! Thanks so much!

Do you know if it’s possible to put labels on the bars in a sparkline? I looked everywhere, and it doesn’t seem like a feature that exists, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you know how! Thanks.

Hey Dave – You can’t add labels to bars on sparklines, as they’re really just for showing trends quickly.

What you can do is add context in the surrounding cells, e.g. putting data labels into adjacent cells like so:

If you need to add a lot of data labels then a regular chart is the way to go.

Thanks a lot! Very usefull information – I deeply recommand! Only info, I couldn’ found was, how to make sparkline bar with gradient colors, but when I looked into Google Sheet documentation, it seems it is not an option, unfortunatelly.

Unfortunately not!

Is it possible to show a sparkline from a Vlook up?

The date is on one sheet and would like to show the spark line on another sheet in the same workbook?

Yes, you can have data and sparklines on different sheets. As long as you give the sparkline formula a valid data range or data array, then you’re good to go!

Hi Ben,

Is it possible to change periods (e.g 6 months trend) in sparkline mini chart by drop down menu. I would like to see the actual period but changing the periods the sparklines are automatically changed.

Hi Krisztina,

You could create a drop-down menu for user input periods and then just modify the data range based of the user choice. The sparkline, based off this range, would then automatically update. Is that what you meant?

Cheers,

Ben

Hi Ben,

Let me specify my question. I have at least 2 countries and the figures with sparklines in one sheet, I have database on the other sheet, but the first sheet would like to change the periods and the figures and spirklines should be adjusted to the selected period showing the actual (selected period) figures and 6 months trends in sparklines for e.g 2 countries on the first sheet. with drop down menu and unique ID I have solved the figures to be updated based on the selected periods, but I am not able to link this to the sparkline. Hope it helps you.

Hi Krisztina,

Assuming your sparkline is something like this:

`=SPARKLINE(`

range,{"charttype","column"})then provided your range is the same range as the dynamic row of figures that updates on your dropdown, it should also update the sparkline.

Feel free to share your sheet if you want me to take a quick look.

Cheers,

Ben

Hi Ben,

How can I upload a screenshot here?

Cheers,

Krisztina

Unfortunately you can’t upload screenshots, but feel free to share a copy of your Google Sheet.

Cheers,

Ben

please find the link to my file will be available for one day.

please find the link to my file will be available for one day.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gNSHZJQV8d1we5s52ZG-g9pXvMrZs817Q7NVez0F3Lo/edit

Hey Krisztina,

I think this is the formula you’re after (this one goes in row 8 of your ‘MPD one page’ tab):

`=ArrayFormula(sparkline(vlookup(B8;Sparklines!B:I;{2\3\4\5\6\7\8};false);{"charttype"\"column";"color"\"#00b050";"empty"\"ignore";"nan"\"convert";"negcolor"\"#ff0000"}))`

This will dynamically extract the data range from the Sparklines tab. Hope that helps!

Thanks,

Ben

Hi Ben,

thank you so much for your help.

It seems to be working well.

Cheers,

Krisztina

Ben,

Is there a way to use a line chart, but it has an axis at 0? So you can quickly see above and below 0? This will help with a point of reference, as to whether the ups and downs are above or below 0.

Make sense?

Thanks!

Great question Jeffrey!

Unfortunately there’s no way to do this with the line sparkline (although you can do it with the column sparkline). However, you could create two sparklines, one for the positive values and one for the negative values, and have them in two cells, like this:

The formulas to do this make use of the ymin and ymax attributes of the line sparkline:

`=sparkline($E$22:$E$28,{"charttype","line";"ymin",0;"color","green";"linewidth",2})`

and for the negative numbers:

`=sparkline($E$22:$E$28,{"charttype","line";"ymax",0;"color","red";"linewidth",2})`

Cheers,

Ben

Dear,

i have data in A2,C2,E2,G2

the below function didnt work with me

=sparkline(ArrayFormula(FILTER(B13:J13,{TRUE,TRUE,FALSE,FALSE,TRUE,TRUE,TRUE,FALSE,TRUE})))

=sparkline(ArrayFormula(FILTER(B5:J5,$B$3:$J$3)))

can you help

Hey Ramlawi,

Have a look at this comment and the Sheet that it links to so you can see how those formulas work. Hope that helps!

Cheers,

Ben

Ben,

Thanks for the helpful guide–I find myself referring back to it often. And your responsiveness in the comments! Two-part comment/question for you:

1. Seemed to me win/loss data could also (better?) be represented with bars take up all of the vertical space, and differ only in color: same info with more salience / less wasted space. If it’s helpful to you/others, this is possible by coding wins as a positive high value, and losses as a positive low value–here, 2 & 1 respectively:

`=SPARKLINE({2,2,1,2,2},{"charttype","column";"lowcolor","red";"ymax",1})`

2. In the process of figuring that out, I came across what seems to be a bug: ymax/highcolor and ymin/lowcolor don’t seem to play well together. A simple way to see this is with this sparkline, which highlights the 2-bar rather than the 3-bar.

`=SPARKLINE({1,2,3},{"charttype","column";"highcolor","red";"ymax",2})`

Is that something you’ve experienced as well? Know any workarounds, or have a direct line to Google?

Thanks again!

Pepe

Hey Pepe,

Thanks for your comments. To illustrate the different options on point 1 for anyone else, this is what they look like:

where the formulas are, respectively:

`=SPARKLINE({2,2,1,2,2},{"charttype","column";"lowcolor","red";"ymax",1})`

`=SPARKLINE({2,2,-1,2,2},{"charttype","winloss";"lowcolor","red"})`

`=SPARKLINE({2,2,-1,2,2},{"charttype","winloss";"lowcolor","red";"axis",true;"axiscolor","black"})`

I like it, it stands out more although you lose the impact of losses being negative. I think the winloss with the axis is a good representation, especially if you can widen the row.

For point 2, I wish I had a direct line into Google! 😜 It does indeed look like the sparkeline formula selects the highcolor after applying the y-axis value of 2, but then recognizes the last value as different, but not larger. Interesting. You could try reporting the issue through the sheet help menu:

Help > Report a problem…Thanks!

Ben

Nice–great to see all the options visualized so clearly and concisely.

I’m kicking myself for commenting slightly too soon, though–I’ve realized since my post that because of the problem in (2), the method in (1) is unreliable–it breaks down if if there are any zeros/blanks:

–This works:

`=SPARKLINE({2, 2, 1, 2, 2},{"charttype","column"; "lowcolor","red"; "ymax",1})`

–This doesn’t!

`=SPARKLINE({2, 0, 1, 2, 2},{"charttype","column"; "lowcolor","red"; "ymax",1})`

The auto-scaling also messing things up if there are all wins or all losses.

A seemingly-reliable workaround uses different values: “win” = some value (1.00), “loss” = a visually indistinguishable amount more (1.01). The exact “loss” amount gets a highcolor. Adding in ymin solves the autoscaling issue. So for the same win-blank-loss-win-win sequence, it’s:

–This (always?!) works:

`=SPARKLINE({1, 0, 1.01, 1, 1},{"charttype","column"; "highcolor","red"; "ymin",0; "ymax",1.01})`

Way more complicated than it should be, and of equivocal value, but perhaps that will help someone somewhere!

Pepe

Thanks for the clarification Pepe!

Is there a formula for a bar graph to show the differences between dates? I’m trying to develop a chart showing dates of different projects but I can’t figure out the sparkline formula to show date calculations.

Hey Christian,

You can subtract dates to get the days between them, and then use this value in your bar sparkline. Subtracting dates is the same as subtracting ordinary numbers (because dates are in fact stored as numbers in the background).

If you want to actually use dates in your chart in some way, then you’ll want to use a regular chart since sparklines are very lightweight and deliberately limited.

Cheers,

Ben

Hi Ben,

Very useful article.

One thing: I would like to integrate my COLUMN-sparklines into a Google-presentation-file (where I can update the chart with one click – like in other cases) – but I can not find a way to do this. It seems, that it works only by integrating the “classic” line-sparkline-chart/diagram. Do you have any ideas how I could get this done?

Thanks.

Dan

Hey Dan,

This is only possible with the regular Sheets charts, not the sparklines unfortunately. You can create a regular chart without axes to look like a sparkline and then embed that maybe?

Cheers,

Ben

Is there a way to create a column header array formula for sparklines? I have data being submitted from google forms and would like to use a single formula to create sparklines automatically down a column instead of having to have a formula in each cell

Hey Cory,

Great question! Unfortunately I’ve not found a way to get the sparkline formula to work this way. I got as far as this, but it simply prints out the formula as text sadly:

`=ArrayFormula(IF(ISBLANK($C:C),"","=sparkline(A"&row(C:C)&":C"&row(C:C)&")"))`

This assumes I have data in columns A, B and C coming from my form.

I’ve written this article about Forms and Array formulas, if you want to try to take this further. If you get something to work, I’d love to hear how you did it!

Cheers,

Ben

Hi there,

When I use column sparklines and want to ensure my entire worksheet has a comparison of value across all the data (so for e.g. an $18k in the row above should show taller in the column chart than a $9k in the row below it), how do I adjust the axis setting within a Google Sheets doc? Please see video example of what I’m trying to achieve in normal excel (not within Google Sheets) – https://www.screencast.com/t/HShztzJCNY

Hi Shanthini,

Use the ymax attribute to standardize your axes, like this:

`{..... ;"ymax", 18000; ....}`

Hope that helps!

Cheers,

Ben

Is there a way to reverse the y-axis (vertical) so that a higher number is bad?

For example, for Google search rankings, a #1 position is the best, while a #20 position would not be good. But a sparkline shows 20 as higher = better.

Workaround would be a bar chart, showing negatives a green, but would be great to see a solution as a Sparkline!

Hey Joe,

You could try just multiplying your range by -1 with an array formula? Something like this:

`=ArrayFormula(sparkline(A1:A10*-1,{"charttype","column"}))`

Feel free to share your Sheet if you still have a specific question.

Cheers,

Ben

Hi, Ben,

Please refer the google spreadsheet data. Link shared below.

I want the sparkline bar chart with an in cell of below condition

1. comparison between LTP, vs S1, S2 and R1, R2; where LTP is a middle point and .S2, S1 as lower band and R1, R2 as the higher band. and the chart colour moves according to LTP price. All the condition in one cell. (Example- if LTP Price increase to words R1, R2 then Green should grow and vice versa.)

2. comparison between PIVOT and LTP where LTP price is on another sheet and PIVOT also.(Example- sheet1 having LTP Price and sheet2 have pivot price)

Google Spreadsheet LInk

=========================

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1uGjZeoyxWcW_qzsBOMw1iQ_EvJUn7Z0tg1sytmrFzfA/edit?usp=sharing

ScreenShot

==================

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-K563yPxNnrQ/WceFZCm4yGI/AAAAAAAAH3g/ynsn4K6WqCUewydnnJgKGCIksm8AB9BlACLcBGAs/s1600/vs.JPG

Thank you,

Hi!

Can I have values from separate bulks of columns? Whenever I do the following code I get an error:

`=SPARKLINE(C4:F4;H4:N4)`

or

`=SPARKLINE(C4:F4,H4:N4)`

I want to skip the info in column G, but have the info in C through F and H through N in the same sparkline.

Right now I’m quickfixing it with the code for counting a cell as zero, as shown by you:

`=SPARKLINE(C4:N4;{"empty"\"zero"})`

And before you comment on it, commas don’t work for me, they must be semi-commas and \ for some reason. Could be an American/European version difference? Not sure.

Thanks in advance!

Hey Andreas,

Yes, as you correctly guessed, the comma issue is a European location setting. So commas become backslashes or semi-colons. Bit of pain to translate the formulas on this page I know. Maybe one day I’ll try posting both variations, but that would require a lot of time.

If want to specifically skip column G, then you can create a new dataset for the sparkline formula using the { } notation, like this:

`=sparkline({C4:F4\H4:N4})`

Alternatively, and probably a better way, would be to set the empty option to ignore in your sparkline, like this:

`=sparkline(C6:N6;{"empty"\"ignore"})`

Hope that helps!

Cheers,

Ben

Hi again.

Thank you for such a quick reply!

=SPARKLINE({C3:F3\H3:N3};{“empty”\”ignore”}) worked perfectly. I am very grateful.

The reason I used “zero” instead of “ignore” before is something I’d like to ask a further question about though.

Reason #1: I have changed to “ignore” like you suggested, but one thing I miss out on compared to using “zero” is that if there are empty cells that I *don’t* want to skip they pass me by without alterting me. I use this for grades, so if student 001 is absent on a test the dip to 0 shows me they need to catch up. But if I manually set it to 0 then maybe I think further on that the student got 0 points, rather than seeing that the student missed doing the test entirely.

Reason #2: If I use “ignore” the min and max values in the sparkline are always the lowest and highest value I base the graph on. However, since I’d like to see the values (I use % for everything) in relation to 0 or 100, “ignore” doesn’t tick all my boxes. If a student gets mostly 100 and the worst result is 95% throughout the entire semester it would look weird if that is a dip equal to a dip from 80% to 40% and back to 80.

I’ve tried this solution:

=SPARKLINE({C3:F3\H3:N3};{“empty”\”ignore”};{“max”\100})

but then I get an error saying “#missing! expected 1 or 2 arguments, got 3” or something in that fashion.

Let me try to summarize what I am aiming for:

– I have the values 40%, 80%, 60% and 100% in the cells C3, D3, E3, and F3 respectively,

– an entirely empty G column (by choice),

– 40% in H3,

– an empty cell in I3 (not by choice: student absent = no result),

– and lastly 100% in J3.

Using

=SPARKLINE({C3:F3\H3:N3};{“empty”\”ignore”})

gives me the graph where it skips the intentional empty G-column, but shows 20% as the minimal value of the entire graph. If I manually insert 0% and 100% then the graph shows the entire width of the 0-100 spectrum, but I tried to explain why that is no good in reason #1 above.

Is there any chance you can help me out with this?

Oh, I figured it out by taking a look at some of the previous comments.

Here is my solution (for Europeans):

=SPARKLINE(D4:L4;{“empty”\”ignore”;”ymax”\1;”ymin”\0})

Now that I enter a % value it related to a 0-100 scale, so a student going down from 100% to 93% doesn’t plummet to the bottom; instead it looks like a very small decline, like it should. Fantastic!

Hi, Im doing a chart were the third out of six data points was a relevant date and I would like to mark it as a different color. Being that it is not either first, last, highest, lowest or negative, is there a way that I can color this point at will??

Unfortunately this is not possible with sparklines.

Hi,

I’m working in a gantt template and have next question:

Why use 0,1 instead of a cell range?

`=SPARKLINE({0,1}, {"charttype","bar";"max",1;"color1","white";"color2",I$7})`

Hi! I don’t follow what you’re trying to do with the formula the way it’s written. But in general {0,1} is just an array containing 0 and 1, and you can use fixed arrays instead of a range of cells when you want static numbers, for example you only ever want the value 0 or 1 to show.

Is there anyway to display a sparkline via a Pivot Table?

I already have the sparkline in a column of the dataset that the Pivot Table is pulling it’s data from. But when I add that column to the PivotTable it wants to display it as a number, not at the sparkline graph.

thanks!

Hi Michael,

Unfortunately there’s no way to bring a sparkline into a pivot table that way. You’d have to build your pivot table and then re-create the sparklines in another column alongside.

Cheers,

Ben

Is there a way to introduce a 3rd colour into a stacked bar graph. For example, if I have 3 columns of data in my sheet, each representing a percentage contribution. An example would be 10%, 70%, 20% shown as different colours in a stacked bar chart.