BonaVista Microcharts: a very cool Excel charts add-in

Corporate finance

If you want to learn Excel, keep reading or Get 10 days of free unlimited access to for professional help and Excel Tutorials

One of the side perks of running this site is that I occasionally get invited to review products and services. Since I suppose I write so much about using Excel, the creator of contacted me in December about his Excel add-in, and from Germany, no less! In the interest of full disclosure, I am not being paid to write this review; however, he did provide me with a professional license key to test out the product.

You might have noticed that I’ve been using it in a couple of my posts (like here and here) that include MicroCharts built using Excel 2003. What can I say? I love the application, and even if I’d stumbled upon this product on my own, I’d be inclined to get it to use at work, anyway. MicroCharts offer a slew of different types of charts (pie, line, column, bar, bullet). For such a simple application, I find them pretty powerful. Here are some example column charts (click to enlarge):


MicroCharts is based on work by the famous , an expert on the visual display of quantitive information, and more specifically, on something Tufte calls , “intense, simple, word-sized graphs”.

Review – Why MicroCharts are Good for Corporate Work

I found the software intuitive and easy-to-use, and short, clean, offline flash tutorials are even included to get you started. (Actually, one thing I learned from watching them is that I could really make my Excel data vastly more readable just by emulating their fonts….I have a lot to learn!)

I don’t know how prevalent this is, but in the corporations I’ve worked in, communication (especially between finance and other groups) is dominated by Excel sheets copy-and-pasted into Powerpoint. And not just for presentation purposes. So, to me, the more visual you can get the data, the more intuitive it is to understand what’s going on. For example, compare this set of data (click to enlarge):

with the same set of data with some MicroCharts added (click to enlarge):

At a glance, you can tell if revenues and costs have increased or decreased over time, trends in profitability, market share, and how the ending November 2005 financials (the red dot) compare to previous ones. You can even set up grey bands to indicate a “normal” range (mean +/- 3 standard deviations).

So much easier to see how you’re performing, isn’t it? (If the images look a bit fuzzy, that’s because I’m using MS Paint as a quick-and-dirty method to add images to this site…some resolution gets lost.)


So, there you go. A rare, rave review from me about a great product. (And Excel-related, no less!) By the way, I don’t benefit at all if you decide to purchase MicroCharts, but I have to say that for $99 a pop for the color, professional version (and $49 for the basic), there are umpteen million worse performing applications out there that cost 100x more!


Look Good at Work and Become Indispensable Become an Excel Pro and Impress Your Boss


15 Feedbacks on "BonaVista Microcharts: a very cool Excel charts add-in"


What kind of fonts??? If you don’t mind me asking.
Also, can’t you just build a normal chart and shrink it to this size? Is that not possible in Excel?


Not that I’m trying to knock the usefulness of the add-in, but I’m just curious.


Oh man, formatting those hand made mini-charts do take some time. Ok, now I see the use :P
But, that’s nothing a custom macro couldn’t fix!


Hey Franky,

You must be a real Excel guru to be a master at macros! :)

I honestly haven’t thought much about using regular Excel charts and shrinking them, but considering how much time it takes me to create an “acceptable” normal graph, I imagine it’d be a pain. Especially if the resolution diminishes when you shrink them.

The BonaVista website and demos use Gil Sans MT (which is what I’ve been using in my posts, including this one). I think it looks a lot cleaner and more “published” than the regular standby old Arial….


Hey that things looks cool :) Instead of trying to insert separate charts for every trend (worse when trying to do that in Matlab) this is pretty handy summary right alongside the numbers.



The problem with Excel charts is that you can not format them so that they fit into a cell. The Excel chart engine simply cuts the charts when you try it. Another problem with Excel charts is that Excel gets memory problems when you put more then 30-40 on a sheet.

Andreas Flockermann
BonaVista Systems


Thanks for the reply. Like I said, wasn’t trying to know the usefullness of the plug-in but I was a little skeptical (until I tried doing it by hand).
Was unaware of the memory problems with numerous charts. Of all the things I’ve had to do with macros, charts are the biggest pain in the a**, I must admit.


I don’t see any situation where this would be useful. If you have to shrink your charts down to the size of a cell, you obviously have too much information on your sheet.

Suggest you read “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” for more info on how not to confuse readers.


Actually, these small charts (a.k.a. sparklines) were invented by Edward Tufte, author of “The Visual Display of Quantitive Information”. He talks about them in a later book.


Just to let you not that there is a free alternative to Bonavista’s Microcharts.


I use it to follow my portfolio

The project is open-source, give it a try !

Mansi Khurana

Dear Concern,

Insert Micro Chart button not working – I tried uninstalling & reinstalling the same but stil link doesnt work. I m using Win XP Prof 2003.

Can you help me.


Thanks for all the informative tips & easy steps to use Excel . Could you guide me as in how to prepare line graph .

弊社は海外安心と信頼のプラダ 時計 コピーです。2015 新作が満載!皆様を歓迎して当店をご光臨賜ります。ロレックス時計コピー,パネライ時計コピー,ウブロ時計コピー ,ブライトリング

人気スーパーコピーブランド時計激安通販専門店私達は長年の実体商店の販売経験を持って、先進とプロの技術を持って、高品質のスーパーコピー時計づくりに 取り組んでいます。最高品質のロレックス時計コピー、カルティエ時計コピー、IWC時計コピー、ブライトリング時計コピー、パネライ時計コピー激安販売中商品の数量は多い、品質はよい。海外直営店直接買い付け!★ 2015年注文割引開催中,全部の商品割引10% ★ 在庫情報随時更新! ★ 実物写真、付属品を完備する。 ★ 100%を厳守する。 ★ 送料は無料です(日本全国)!★ お客さんたちも大好評です★ 経営方針: 品質を重視、納期も厳守、信用第一!税関の没収する商品は再度無料にして発送します
弊社は海外安心と信頼のプラダ 時計 コピーです。2015 新作が満載!皆様を歓迎して当店をご光臨賜ります。ロレックス時計コピー,パネライ時計コピー,ウブロ時計コピー ,ブライトリング時計コピー,IWC時計コピー,フランクミュラー時 計コピー,ショパール時計コピー,フェラーリ時計コピー,グラハム 時計コピー,ハリー ウィンストン時計コピー等。サイトは世界一流ブランド コピー 専門店です。ぜひ一度当店の商品をお試しください。驚きと満足を保証致します。ご利用をお待ちしております。

業界最高峰のブランドコピー 激安、コピーブランド、スーパーコピーブランド(N級品)通販専門店!ブランドコピー,コピーブランド,スーパーコピーブランド,ブランドコピー 激安,偽物ブラン

スーパーコピー、スーパーコピーブランド(N級品)激安通販専門店世界一流ブランドコピー 財布、スーパーコピー 商品、激安ブランドコピー 。 ヴィトンコピー 、 ミョウミョウコピー 、シャネルコピー 、エル メスコピー 品格安通販。商品は全て最高な材料 と優れた技術で造られて、正規と比べて、品質が無差別です!人気ブランド..
業界最高峰のブランドコピー 激安、コピーブランド、スーパーコピーブランド(N級品)通販専門店!ブランドコピー,コピーブランド,スーパーコピーブランド,ブランドコピー 激安,偽物ブランド、偽物のバッグ、腕時計、財布など激安で買える!全部のスーパーコピー販売品物のなかで私達のブランド激安が一番有名です

人気スーパーコピーブランド時計激安通販専門店私達は長年の実体商店の販売経験を持って、先進とプロの技術を持って、高品質のスーパーコピー時計づくりに 取り組んでいます。最高品

スーパーコピーブランド格安販売店はこちらへ!品々の激安価格に持ったスーパーコピーブランド 代引きの新作はお客様に提供されます。安心、迅速、確実、お客様の手元にお届け致します。★弊社は9年の豊富な経験と実績を持っております。★一流の素材を選択し、精巧な作り方でまるで本物のようなな製品を造ります。★品質を重視、納期も厳守、お客様第一主義を貫きは当社の方針です。★驚きの低価格で商品をお客様に提供致します!★早速に購入へようこそ!
人気スーパーコピーブランド時計激安通販専門店私達は長年の実体商店の販売経験を持って、先進とプロの技術を持って、高品質のスーパーコピー時計づくりに 取り組んでいます。最高品質のロレックス時計コピー、カルティエ時計コピー、IWC時計コピー、ブライトリング時計コピー、パネライ時計コピー激安販売中商品の数量は多い、品質はよい。海外直営店直接買い付け!★ 2015年注文割引開催中,全部の商品割引10% ★ 在庫情報随時更新! ★ 実物写真、付属品を完備する。 ★ 100%を厳守する。 ★ 送料は無料です(日本全国)!★ お客さんたちも大好評です★ 経営方針: 品質を重視、納期も厳守、信用第一!税関の没収する商品は再度無料にして発送します


Please Leave a Comment!

Please note: Comments may be moderated. It may take a while for them to show on the page.