As a graphic designer and geek with a masters around cognitive psychology I am intrigued at how little use is made of the wonderful visualisations in many modern BI tools be they from Microsoft, Oracle IBM or SAP.

Ignoring this trend, I wanted to show a new visualisation tool in SQL Server 2008 R2 called SparkLines during my session on Report Builder 3 at SQL Bits, but my shuttle was having disk issues and I hadn’t fully got everything back before I was on (but thanks to Darren Green, Chris Testa- O’Neill and Rob Farley for trying).

Anyway my demos are back in business and here’s a SparkLine report I created earlier..

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SparkLines being the mini graphics which you can also do in excel. BTW I have used various sub-types in the report above to show what you can do, but you would obviously stick to one in a report like this. 

I have put created a walkthrough and samples that you can follow so please have a go (it should only need half an hour at the very most).