How to add bar charts & sparklines to tables

Two really cool features of the table is its ability to add bar charts and sparklines. Adding charts to your table can be an additional way to visualize data over time or ranked data. In the following tutorial, we'll explain how to add each to your table. The end result will look like the table below. Read these articles for creating and customizing tables if you haven't already.


Sparklines were developed by Edward Tufte in the early 1980s. Sparklines are very small line charts drawn without axes or coordinates. They are intended to be succinct, memorable, and located where they are discussed. They are especially good for showing change over time, and how a set of data got from point A to point B. In our example, the sparkline shows how the life expectancy changed each year starting with 1960 and ending with 2016. Sparklines do not have hover tooltip capability, and only visualize the start and end point (which is even optional). 

The first step in creating a sparkline column for your table is to upload data that can be represented using sparklines. In our example, each year from 1960 to 2016 has its own column of data. The next step is on the Refine tab of the Visualize step. In order to create your sparkline, select a group of columns by clicking on the beginning column, holding shift, and then clicking on the last column. This will highlight everything in between. Once you have more than one selected, the button to "Turn selected columns into sparklines" will become available. Once you click the button, a column showing the sparklines will be added to your table.

Now you have several sparkline settings choices. 

Fill area under line: Checking this box will add shading under your spark line. It will also set the y axis to have a 0, so the appearance of the line may change dramatically if you change this setting.

Label first value: Labels the beginning of the sparkline with the first column of data used to create it.

Label last value: Labels the end of the sparkline with the last column of data used to create it.

Label difference: This option appears when you have label last value checked, but not label first value. As you can see when you select it, a value appears at the end of the spark line showing the net total positive or negative gain or loss. It can be handy when you want the reader to know the change over time.

Color, stroke, height, and range: While color and stroke are relatively straightforward, height has a big impact on the way the cell is displayed. A larger height gives your sparkline higher highs and lower lows. A small height will make the spark line smoother. You can adjust this setting depending on how much space you have and how variable you'd like your spark line to be. Setting a range makes all of the cells use the same values for the y-axis. If these settings are left blank, the sparkline will take up all the space in the cell. You may see more variability with no min or max range. 

Bar Charts

Changing a column from regular numbers to bar charts is great for comparison. The visual reference makes it easier for our brains to understand how that numbers compares to the ones around it. In order to turn a column into bar charts, simply toggle the button 'show as bar chart' in the customize columns section. From there, you have a few styling options.

Bar style: Choose between either regular or slim. If slim, text will appear on top of the bar. 

No background: When this box is not checked, a gray bar will fill the remainder of the cell.

Range: Range allows you to change the lower and upper limits for your bar chart. If you have negative numbers, but you want your chart to start at 0, set the min value to 0. Setting a max range will give your bar chart a maximum value. For example, if you set the max value to 100, and the value in the cell is 50, the bar will take up 50% of the space.

Bar color: The left box allows you to change the color of the bar for positive values and the box on the right labeled "neg." allows you to change the bar for negative values.

Include text: You might notice in our example that the bar chart includes the word "years" in it. How is that possible if that is a number column you might ask? To do this, you actually have to go back to the Check and Describe step. First, click on the letter (or combination of letters) above the column you want to append words to. That will bring up a menu on the left. From there, you can round number, divide and multiply the column, and also see a histogram of the column's distribution. There are also two fields, one to prepend and one to append. Adding text to prepend will show the words before the numbers, and putting text in the append box will show the text after the numbers. It's a really useful feature if you want to label your numbers. In our case, we added years so the readers knows what those numbers mean.

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