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Sparklines and data bars are small, simple charts that convey a lot of information in a little space, often inline with text. The most common usage of them is in tables. Their impact comes from viewing many of them together and being able to quickly compare them one above the other, rather than viewing them separately. They make it easy to see the outliers, the rows that are not performing like the others. Although they are small, each sparkline often represents multiple data points, often over time. Data bars can represent multiple data points, but typically illustrate only one. Each sparkline typically presents a single series. Because sparklines display aggregated data, they must go in a cell associated with a group. Sparklines and data bars have the same basic chart elements of categories, series, and values, but they have no legend, grid lines, labels, or tick marks.
The image below shows a typical usage of the sparkline chart type in a table:
Almost any chart type can be used for a sparkline chart:
Bar Charts: The clustered, stacked, and 100% stacked bar charts.
Column Charts: The clustered, stacked, and 100% stacked column charts.
Line Charts: The clustered, stacked, and 100% stacked line charts.
Area Charts: The clustered, stacked, and 100% stacked area charts.
Pie Charts: Both pie and doughnut charts.
Range Charts: Area and Bar range charts.
Data bars typically represent a single data point, though they can represent multiple data points, just like regular bar charts. They often contain several series with no category, or have series grouping.
You can make data bar versions of these full charts:
Bar Charts: Clustered, stacked and 100% stacked bar charts.
Column Charts: Clustered, stacked and 100% stacked column charts. Column charts can be either sparklines or data bars.