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Excel Video 109 covers two topics, how to group Sparklines and the options for the Sparklines’ vertical axis. There are a couple of ways to put Sparklines in a group. If you create one Sparkline and then copy it down, Excel puts all of the Sparklines in a group. If you create a range of Sparklines at once, Excel will group those for you as well. The advantage of having grouped Sparklines is that when you change the formatting for one Sparkline, the entire group of Sparklines changes to match. When you have 10 Sparklines in a group on a page, not having to individually update each Sparkline’s format is a nice feature.
The second topic relates to how the vertical axis on a Sparkline is calculated. Excel has three options for the minimum value in on the vertical axis and the same three options for the maximum value for the vertical axis. If you let Excel automatically determine the minimum and maximum vertical axis values, Excel will examine each Sparkline in the group separately and calculate the best vertical axis values. Sometimes that’s good, especially if the data underlying the Sparklines is widespread. When the data underlying the Sparklines is similar and you want to compare one Sparkline to the next, you can choose to have Excel make the minimum and maximum axis values the same for all Sparklines in the group. In our example, since we have one total Sparkline around 900,000 and 10 Sparklines around 70,000 to 90,000, having all Sparklines use the 900,000 vertical axis values makes it very hard to see any fluctuation in the individual doctors’ Sparklines. You can also enter a custom value for both the minimum and the maximum vertical axis from the same menu.