Use Sparklines for Quick Data Visualizations in Google Sheets

I’ve been working to learn more about analyzing data in Google Sheets and wanted to mention Sparklines. Edward Tufte is generally credited with having first invented Sparkilnes. He described them as,  “data-intense, design-simple, word-sized graphics.” Google has implemented them in Google Sheets so they can be embedded in any cell of a sheet. Learn more here.

Here is an example of a stacked bar chart, kind of like a pie chart that fits in a linear space:

Each of the four charts was made a little snippet of code that looks like =sparkline(D$5:G$5,{C$26:D$28})

Pretty easy, right?

Easy Report of Chromebooks with Old ChromeOS

At my school, we are preparing for a new state assessment this year. Although the RICAS is a new test, since it uses Pearson’s Testnav platform, it will be very familiar to our teachers and students who have three years of PARCC under their belts. Testnav works great on Chromebooks, so we don’t have too much to worry about.

We have learned, though, to be careful that our Chromebooks are up to date on their OS version. This is useful, not just with Testnav, of course; most Chrome apps and extensions require recent versions of ChromeOS. And Chrome generally updates itself fine on its own, but there are a few situations where devices might get “stuck” on an old version.

Here is the way we check which of our 750 Chromebooks need to be updated.

  1. You will need to install New Visions Cloud LabsChromebook Inventory add-on.  This tool is indispensable to us. It builds a Google Sheet to track every Chrome device in our domain and allows us to see and update many data points for each one. It is also great for building query-based reports. Although it doesn’t seem to be actively maintained, it still works well for us.
  2. Create a new tab in your inventory sheet and call it something like “Old OS”
  3. Paste this formula in the Cell A1:=query(Inventory!A:U, "select A,C,D,S where A = '/Students' and S < ''")
  4. Change ‘/Students’ to whatever Organization in G Suite contains the test devices.
  5. You can change the version number from ‘’ to whatever you want. Right now, Testnav claims to run on anything after 57, but you should check the Testnav System Requirements yourself.
  6. You should now see a report of any devices in the target Organization that have an older OS than specified.  As you update devices, be sure to Export Devices in your Chromebook Inventory to keep this sheet up to date.
  • This is a great opportunity to learn how query() works in Google Sheets. Queries are very powerful and worth using. Here is a good introduction.