Sparklining Excel

According to Wikipedia a sparkline is a

“small, high resolution graphics embedded in a context of words, numbers, images … Whereas the typical chart is designed to show as much data as possible, and is set off from the flow of text, sparklines are intended to be succinct, memorable, and located where they are discussed. Their use inline usually means that they are about the same height as the surrounding text.”

A group has released an open source add-in for Microsoft Excel called TinyGraphs “that creates sparklines, mini column graphs, and area graphs from a row of data. It generates beautiful tiny graphics that are as small as a cell and is useful for visualizing large quantities of data, such as stock prices and exchange rates.”

While I have yet to actually use the add-in it is something that I definitely can see using in a number or reports that I generate at the office.

Parsing Names in Excel

I was in need of parsing out the first, middle, and last names from a single field in Excel. The following site had the formulas necessary in order to make this happen: ITS Software Tip – 04/29/02 – Parsing Names in Excel. Note there is one problem, the coded listed for last name parsing on the site is wrong, but if you download the example and use the code there it works great.

In my case I had some additional problems that required some massaging of the data prior to using the functions. My name field not only had First, Middle, and Last names it also had title and suffix too. Once I cleaned those up the formulas worked great.