Sparklines and Data Bars
Sparklines and data bars are small, simple charts that convey a lot of information in a little space, often inline with text. Sparklines and data bars are often used in tables and matrices. Their impact comes from viewing many of them together and being able to quickly compare them one above the other, rather than viewing them singly. 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. You cannot add a sparkline to a detail group in a table. 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, axis lines, labels, or tick marks.
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.
In this example using stacked data bars, each data bar, although only one bar, illustrates more than one data point. For example, the three different colors of the bar could represent tasks of three levels of priority with the length of the bar representing the total number of tasks assigned to each person. If you made these 100% stacked data bars instead, each bar would fill the cell, and the different colors would represent the percentage of the whole for each priority level.