Bissantz & Company GmbH

Mini-Graphs Tell the Story on a Single Piece of Paper with Bissantz Sparkmaker

The new version of Bissantz SparkMaker automatically creates sparklines (miniaturized, word-sized graphs) for information-rich reports and dashboards. Sparklined documents or electronic displays generated with Bissantz SparkMaker for Microsoft Office offer decision-relevant insight into business data, superseding large spreadsheets, multi-page reports and long presentations.


Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/28/2006 --Bissantz & Company announces SparkMaker 3.0. SparkMaker leverages sparkline technology to visualize numerical data in information-rich dashboards and spreadsheets, reports and presentations. Sparklines compress large amounts of data into intense, word-sized diagrams (e.g. miniaturized bar or line graphs). They are created within a single spreadsheet cell or even directly inside a text paragraph. The new Bissantz SparkMaker 3.0 empowers Microsoft® Office users to create their sparklines automatically and to present condensed graphical information which is traditionally lost among multiple report pages or slides.

The sparkline concept has been invented by Edward Tufte, the renowned expert for innovative information design. He states that at the heart of the concept are “intense, simple, word-sized graphics”: A sparkline depicts data in miniaturized graphs, such as bars, lines, whiskers and pie charts. A typical application is to depict the history of a value by means of a sparkline which is placed right in front of the current value within a report (e.g. the last months or years of product sales). Readers then have context information (e.g. about a trend or cyclical ups-and-downs in sales) to interpret the current data.

Sparklines are perfectly suited for management reporting and analysis purposes as opposed to popular metaphors such as gauges and speedometers which are often misused in management cockpits. The later mostly display a single value per gauge while a sparkline easily depicts hundreds and thousands of values without confusing readers of reports or users of dashboards.

Dr. Nicolas Bissantz, CEO and founder of Bissantz & Company illustrates the benefits of sparklines: “Early adopters of SparkMaker confirm significant improvements of their information management. By using sparklines for their management reporting endless presentations of slides have been reduced to discussions about a single piece of paper. Such a report contains all management information in a condensed and intuitive format for decision makers and analysts.”

In order to enable a wide public to benefit from sparklines, Bissantz & Company has been offering sparkline tools for Microsoft Office since early 2005. With Bissantz SparkMaker 3.0, a major upgrade of the renowned Microsoft Office add-in for creating sparklines in Excel, Word and PowerPoint, is now available.

Probably the most remarkable innovation are functions for Excel that generate cell-adherent sparklines automatically and update them dynamically. In Excel XP and 2003 functions like "=Sparkline(cellrange)" generate a sparkline directly in a cell of a worksheet. The word-sized graphs automatically update whenever the underlying data has changed. Hence, information-rich, dynamic controlling instruments are easily designed in Microsoft Excel.

A main feature of Bissantz SparkMaker which ensures its high flexibility for the design of sparklines is its use of specific TrueType Fonts, the Bissantz SparkFonts. Just like a word consists of letters the Bissantz’ sparklines consist of SparkFont characters (e.g. bars or line segments). The concatenation of formatted characters results in a "textual image" of the sparkline. This way sparklines can be handled just like normal text. As for all TrueType Fonts an excellent printing quality and continuous scaling are ensured.

Among other features, additional statistics like trend arrows and the display of a "normal" value range as defined by the standard deviation enhance the explanatory power of sparklines. Sparklines are also available in vector-oriented Enhanced Metafile format, which allows for scaling, ungrouping, and modification. Integration of sparklines on web sites is realized with bitmap files (BMP, GIF, JPG, or PNG) that are exported by Bissantz SparkMaker.

Bissantz SparkMaker 3.0 is free with unlimited functionality for private and academic users while all other users may test it during a 30-day trial period before a valid license has to be obtained. For more details and a downloadable version of SparkMaker 3.0 please visit:

Nuremberg, 2006-07-26

About Bissantz & Company GmbH

Bissantz & Company is a German Business Intelligence (BI) software vendor who specializes in software solutions for Analysis, Planning and Reporting. Patented visualization technology ensures that data patterns are recognized quickly and communicated clearly in reports and dashboards. Innovative sparkline technology is integrated in Bissantz’ full-fledged BI-suite DeltaMaster and in addition provided to Microsoft Office users as separate products.

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