New Excel with Tufte’s Sparklines

It is quite rare that data visualization topic makes it into the headlines, but a recent dispute between data visualization guru Edward Tufte and Microsoft made it into Slashdot. According to Wikipedia, “a Sparkline is a type of information graphic characterized by its small size and data density. Sparklines present trends and variations associated with some measurement, such as average temperature or stock market activity, in a simple and condensed way. Several sparklines are often used together as elements of a small multiple.” Read more about Sparklines in Edward Tufte’s book Beautiful Evidence (page 62). An entry in Tufte’s blog titled “Microsoft patent claim for ‘sparklines in the grid’” outlines the conflict about intellectual property rights resulting from a patent application which had been filed on May 7, 2008 by Microsoft employees, claiming various aspects of Sparklines’ implementation in Excel 2010.