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Frequently Asked Questions - SigmaPlot Version 11 & Older

How do I ...


How do I set custom bar chart colors and other graph properties?

One of the most common operations in SigmaPlot is to set the colors of bars, lines or symbols. We provide a number of built-in schemes, but often these aren’t to your personal tastes or requirement.

1. Bring the worksheet into focus, and enter color(s) into a worksheet column. There are two (well, three) ways to do this.

Insert Graphic Cells

The first way is to select the Insert menu Graphic Cells command. This opens the Insert Graphic Cells dialog box:

To place one of these colors into a worksheet cell, click the cell, then double-click the desired color.

Enter Color Codes

You can also manually enter or edit colors by typing the code for that color into a worksheet cell. All colors are stored in the form @RGB(r,g,b) where r, g, and b are the red, green and blue intensity values.

Provided here is an RGB table for common colors—copy these codes into worksheet cells to create these colors. The notebook RGB Colors.jnb also contains these values.
@rgb(255,255,255)
@rgb(0,0,0)
@rgb(224,224,224) @rgb(192,192,192) @rgb(172,172,172) @rgb(160,160,160)
@rgb(255,224,224) @rgb(255,192,192) @rgb(255,128,128) @rgb(255,64,64)
@rgb(255,240,224) @rgb(255,224,192) @rgb(255,160,128) @rgb(255,128,64)
@rgb(255,255,224) @rgb(255,255,196) @rgb(255,255,152) @rgb(255,255,128)
@rgb(224,255,224) @rgb(196,255,196) @rgb(152,255,152) @rgb(128,255,128)
@rgb(224,255,240) @rgb(192,255,224) @rgb(128,255,208) @rgb(64,255,192)
@rgb(240,255,255) @rgb(192,255,255) @rgb(128,255,255) @rgb(64,255,255)
@rgb(224,240,255) @rgb(192,224,255) @rgb(128,160,255) @rgb(64,128,255)
@rgb(240,240,255) @rgb(192,192,255) @rgb(128,128,255) @rgb(64,64,255)
@rgb(240,224,255) @rgb(224,192,255) @rgb(192,128,255) @rgb(144,64,255)
@rgb(255,224,255) @rgb(255,192,255) @rgb(255,128,255) @rgb(255,64,255)
 
@rgb(128,128,128) @rgb(96,96,96) @rgb(64,64,64) @rgb(32,32,32)
@rgb(255,0,0) @rgb(192,0,0) @rgb(128,0,0) @rgb(96,0,0)
@rgb(255,128,0) @rgb(192,96,0) @rgb(128,64,0) @rgb(96,32,0)
@rgb(255,255,0) @rgb(192,192,0) @rgb(128,128,0) @rgb(96,96,0)
@rgb(0,255,0) @rgb(0,192,0) @rgb(0,128,0) @rgb(0,96,0)
@rgb(0,255,192) @rgb(0,192,144) @rgb(0,128,96) @rgb(0,64,48)
@rgb(0,255,255) @rgb(0,192,192) @rgb(0,128,128) @rgb(0,96,96)
@rgb(0,128,255) @rgb(0,96,192) @rgb(0,80,160) @rgb(0,64,128)
@rgb(0,0,255) @rgb(0,0,192) @rgb(0,0,128) @rgb(0,0,96)
@rgb(128,0,255) @rgb(96,0,192) @rgb(64,0,128) @rgb(48,0,96)
@rgb(255,0,255) @rgb(192,0,192) @rgb(128,0,128) @rgb(96,0,96)

Run the RGBCOLOR transform function

Finally, you can run a user-defined transform to place colors into a worksheet. The RGBCOLOR.XFM transform file contain an example of using this function. The Toolbox menu Color Transition Values macro also utilizes this transform.

Once you have your colors in the worksheet, you can select that column to use for your colors from the Graph Properties dialog box. The column option will appear at the bottom of the drop down list:


Bar, symbols and lines are assigned colors in the order they were originally created.

You can also use this function to assign custom symbol types, line types, and fill patterns. Note that many other attributes can also be taken from worksheet columns, including bar widths, symbols sizes, error bar directions, and major tick mark values.


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How do I add error bars, including asymmetric error bars?

Error bars are one of the most powerful features of SigmaPlot. There are also many ways to create error bars.

To create an error bar plot, select one of the error bar graph types. Your error bar computation choices are made from the graph wizard.

Computing error bars from data statistics

SigmaPlot is powerful at summarizing your raw data, so you don't have to compute your means and std. deviations or errors—SigmaPlot will do that for you. Just leave your data in the raw format, and choose any of the options from Columns Means or below from the Symbol Value drop down list.

If your data repetitions are arranged along rows rather than down columns, select one of the row-wise options. This is the option you generally select if you are computing error bars for a grouped bar chart from raw data. You can also create grouped bar chart data from "By Category" data, which is the typical data format for statistical datasets.

Once you've selected your symbol value, you can now select the computations for the upper and lower error bars.

Using raw data is particularly important if you plan on curve fitting this data later. SigmaPlot automatically uses all your data (rather than just the mean) to perform the curve fit, which produces more accurate results.

Plotting values as symmetric error bars

To plot values in a worksheet column as your corresponding error bar values, select the Worksheet Columns option. You will then be prompted to pick the worksheet column for the error bar values when picking your data to plot.

Plotting values as asymmetric error bars

Asymmetric error bars can be computed from raw data simply by selecting different computations for the upper and lower error bars. However, if you have your error bar data in multiple columns, you will need to select the “Asymmetric Error Bar Columns” option.

NOTE: Asymmetric error bar values are plotted as the absolute value of the error bar data; that is, if you use a datapoint value of 6, and you want the error bars to be drawn to 1.2 above and 0.4 below the data point, your error bar values need to be 7.2 and 5.6.

Using Offset Values

If your values are currently offsets and not absolute values, you can easily transform your data using Quick Transform.

1. Press shift+F10 to open the Quick Transforms palette. Click the left box and click an empty column, then click the right box.

2. Click the data point column, type '+' (or click the '+' button), then click the upper error bar offset column. Click Run.

3. Now click the left box again, click the column next to the first transformed column, then click the right box.

4. Click the data point column, type '-' (or click the '-' button), then click the lower error bar offset column. Click Run.

Note that when picking your data to plot, you will be prompted to select only one error bar column. Click the transformed column for the upper error bars. The adjacent column is automatically assumed.



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How do I change/customize error bar directions?

You can completely customize the error bar directions for different curves. For example, if you have a graph with overlapping error bars:

You can enter error bar direction values for each curve in adjacent columns, and then select the first column for your error bar directions.

1. For example, for the above graph the first two data points are fine, but for the rest we want the lower error bars for the first curve and upper error bars for the second curve.

2. In a data column, type a "b" for each data point where you want both error bars, an "n" for where you want negative direction error bars, and a "p" for where you want positive direction error bars. You could also type a "t" for toward zero, or an "f" for from zero.

3. Select the highlighted worksheet cell(s), then choose the Format menu Cells command. Select the Type of cell to be Text, then click OK. This converts the number to text characters; you can tell this if the alignment of the cell changes to be left aligned.

4. Now, the data point is no longer plotted, and if you perform additional statistics on the graph, the data point will also be ignored.


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How do I make a global text or line change?
It's really very easy to make global changes to certain attributes. Text, line and fill attributes can be changed all at once for all labels and lines in a graph using the Format menu. And you don't have to shift-click each item!

1. Click the graph(s) you want to change to select them.

2. Choose the Format menu Text Properties… command, or the Line… or Fill… command, depending on what you want to change.

3. Select the attribute to change, e.g., Font. When you click OK, that attribute will be changed for all objects in the graph(s).

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How do I change default graph settings, like font and graph size?

See also - change the default properties of new graph pages

There are two ways to set graph defaults. The first applies to all new graphs, and the second utilized the Graph Gallery feature, available in SigmaPlot 7.0.

Using Graph Defaults

You can set defaults for all new graphs from the Graph Defaults tab in the Options dialog box.

1. Choose the Tools menu Options command

2. Select the Graph Defaults tab

3. Change your Font, Size and position, and other plot settings to the desired defaults.

Using the Graph Gallery

If you want to preserve the entire set of graph properties as a default graph, you need to use the Graph Style Gallery. The Gallery is opened using the Graphs menu Graph Style Gallery command. The gallery can be a floating window or docked like a toolbar.


You can add any existing graph to the gallery by either dragging and dropping a graph onto the gallery, or by right-clicking a graph and choosing Add to Gallery. You can then use the gallery to create a new graph using the selected graph as a custom graph style. In SigmaPlot 7.1, graphs gallery styles are also available from the Graph Wizard.


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How do I use two axes effectively?

You can add additional axes using the Graph menu Add Axis. . . command. You can also select a plot, right-click it, and choose Add New Axis. . .

The one thing to keep in mind is that you must have at least two plots created for your graph in order to add another axis. The selected plot will be scaled by the new axis.

1. If necessary, create a 2nd plot. To add a new plot to a graph, the easiest thing to do is to click the graph (not the plot), then pick the type of plot off the Graph toolbar. If you have a graph selected when using the Graph toolbar, it automatically assumes your adding a new plot to the selected graph.

2. Right-click the 2nd plot, and choose the Add New Axis… command.


3. Confirm the Plot you want to add the axis to and click Next

4. Select the axis you want to add (X Axis or Y Axis).

5. Select the location of the new axis, then click Finish.

The axis is added and the selected plot is rescaled.


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How do I space two or more separate bar plots on the same graph?

There are times where you need to create bar charts of extremely disparate data that requires two separate plots. Spacing these bars correctly can be tricky. The best means is to plot each bar chart at a specific x-offset value, so that when the bar widths are adjusted, the bars will be correctly spaced.
1. If you need to plot a grouped bar chart with two axes, you will need to create two bar plots on the same graph. However, if you do that, typically the bars will simply plot on top of each other:

2. To avoid this, you need to use different, numeric X values for each bar chart. In this example, you could enter:

 

A Offset B Offset
0.8000 1.2000
1.8000 2.2000

as your different X offset numbers. If you pick these as your x data columns for the two different bar charts, you get:

3. This isn't exactly what you want yet. Now you need to go and reduce the bar widths appropriately. Change the widths of the bars for each plot to 40%, then click Apply.

4. Now change the Fills to the color you want for each plot and click Apply.

5. You're not done yet! You need to label the X axis properly. Double click the axis, and change the Scale so that the Nearest Tick option is unchecked, then click Apply.

6. Go to the Ticks panel, and set the tick increment to Manual, at intervals of Every 1.

7. Finally, go to the Tick Labels panel, and select the original X Category column as the tick labels.

8. Click OK to finish, then double click the legends to edit them as desired.

 


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How do I create floating bars?

"Floating" bars can be created using two different mechanisms. If you just need a simple floating bar chart, you can use a box plot of two values per column. Enter the top and bottom ranges for your bars in each column, and then create a box plot. To get rid of the median line, change the Edge color (under Fills) to (None).

If you need to create grouped, floating bar charts, you will need to use a trick which can be used in SigmaPlot in many instances. This is to create a masking plot.

Note: Neither of these methods works well with fill patterns.

1. Create a grouped bar chart, using the upper values of the bars.

2. Create a second bar chart for the same graph (click the graph, then click the grouped bar chart icon from the Graph toolbar), this time, using the lower values of the bars.

3. Now, change the fill color of the 2nd bar plot to white (or whatever the color of the graph background is). Also, set the edge color of both plots to be (None).

4. If you change the width setting of one plot, you need to make sure you change the setting of the other to match.

For other features displayed by this graph, see create ticks between bars and hide a single legend entry.


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How do I sample data points/display only some symbols?

SigmaPlot supports data point sampling, which is very useful under a number of different circumstances. Data sampling is controlled from the Data panel in the Graph Properties dialog box. You can change or reset the sampling from these options at any time. Sampling is particularly useful for:

  • improving redraw speed by reducing the amount of data plotted
  • overlaying a plot of sampled data
  • plotting selected data sets

You can also create overlaid sampling plots using this feature. e.g., you can choose not to draw symbols at every point in the plot.

1. Create a line plot of all you data.

2. Add another plot of the same, this time a scatter plot.

3. Open Graph Properties, and for the scatter plot, reduce the data point sampling to the desired level. It helps to change the colors of the plot to more effectively distinguish the symbols from the lines. Also, use the Apply button to see the effect of the change without closing the dialog box.


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How do I plot just a selected set of data?

Plotting selected datasets is useful if you want to:

  • plotting only a selected set of data

  • omitting additional column/group titles in the first rows

To plot only a selected set of data before creating the graph simply by highlighting the data you want to plot before creating the graph:

1. Drag your mouse or use shift+keystrokes to select the region of data you want to plot. This is particularly useful if you have a lot of data to plot and want to avoid long redraw waits, if you have a specific subset of data to plot, or to omit extra titles.

2. Create the graph as usual. When you are finished, only the selected data will be plotted.

Using Graph Propeties

You can also use the Data panel of the Plot options in Graph Properties to select a regions and/or sample of data to plot.


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How do I remove/ignore an outlier or other data?

One task SigmaPlot does not do easily is to omit or ignore an outlying point or group of points. There are several means to accomplish this manually. One option is to simply convert the number to a text cell thereby removing the data point from both graphing and computation.

1. Find the outlier on the graph, then click it to select the curve. Now, click it again (this is not a double-click; be sure to pause before the second click.

2. View the worksheet. The data for the selected symbol should be indicated with colored highlighting.

3. Select the highlighted worksheet cell(s), then choose the Format menu Cells command. Select the Type of cell to be Text, then click OK. This converts the number to text characters; you can tell this if the alignment of the cell changes to be left aligned.

4. Now, the data point is no longer plotted, and if you perform additional statistics on the graph, the data point will also be ignored.


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How do I highlight an outlier?

Another way to remove an outlier is to simply cut the data. This is particularly useful if you still want to plot the data but ignore the outlier. After you have cut the outlier data, you can paste it elsewhere in the worksheet, and then plot it as a second plot to continue displaying the outlying data.

To plot outlier data as separate plot:

1. Identify the worksheet cell(s) corresponding to the outlier(s).

2. Highlight the cells, and press ctrl+x to cut them.

3. Move to another location in the worksheet and paste the data.

4. Plot the outlier data by adding it as a second plot to your graph. Change the symbol color or other attributes to distinguish the data.


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How do I copy and paste effectively into PowerPoint?

One of the easiest ways with SigmaPlot 2001 to paste a graph into PowerPoint is to use the Paste to PowerPoint Slide macro from the Toolbox menu. However, you can also now create graphs specifically formatted for PowerPoint and save them as styles in the Graph Gallery, or add them to your Page Templates.

Formatting a graph for PowerPoint

There are basically three things to keep in mind when preparing SigmaPlot graphs for PowerPoint: Turn off page color, change or turn off your graph background, and use global formatting to change you text and lines.

1. Change your page color to None.

2. You will notice right away that your graph still remains white. We actually recommend that you continue to use some sort of background color for your graph (not necessarily white, of course). However, you can also turn off graph background color entirely as well. Open Graph Properties, and click the Grids and Planes tab. Set the Plane color to None, or better yet, select Custom Color and pick a color that is related to your slide scheme (see the RGB color table for some typical colors).

3. Finally, use Global settings to change your line and text colors, and optionally your line and text weights, to display better on your slide background. See - make a global text or line change.

4. When you have finished, copy the graph, and then simply paste it to the PowerPoint slide. Do not paste it as a picture or metafile if you can help it; if you try and edit a metafile, you will cause most of your labels to mess up. Nor will it display correctly on Macintosh computers.

Creating graphs for Mac PowerPoint

If you need to create a slide for Mac users to view, you can export your SigmaPlot graphs as a 300dpi TIFF RGB file, then insert the file into PowerPoint using the PowerPoint Insert | Picture From File command.

1. If you want to use this graph to create other PowerPoint graphs, save your graph to the graph gallery. Open the Graph Gallery (from the Graph menu), and then drag your graph onto the gallery.

2. To save your default page with a non-white background color, you can change the properties of the Normal page in the Template.jnt file.


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How do I share your graphs with Mac or Linux users?

There is no ideal way to share your Windows SigmaPlot graphs with Macintosh or Linux users. Currently, the best option is to provide a JPEG file. You can also use PowerPoint graphs that have inserted TIFF files.

To export a JPEG file:

1. Click the graph, then choose the File menu Export command.

2. Select JPEG from the Save as type list, then enter a file name and path.

3. Make sure the Export selected only option is checked, and that your dpi is correctly set. For a discussion on dpi, see the Publication Assistant in the SigmaPlot Help menu. Click OK when finished.

You can open the file using your internet browser software to verify the export.


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How do I use a font for your symbol?

  • Pick a single text string as your symbol

  • Use text from a column as symbols

To use a text string as your symbol:

1. Open the Graph Properties dialog box to the Symbols panel.

2. Click the Type drop down, and select the "Text" option.

3. Type the text character(s) you want to use for the symbol as prompted.

4. If you want to use one of the many symbol fonts as a symbol, use the Windows character map to select a symbol character, then paste the character in the Text Symbol dialog box, and change the font to the desired Symbol font (see below).

Changing the symbol font or text

Unfortunately, it isn’t obvious how to change the font for a symbol. To set the font or to change the text, right click the Type control in the Symbols panel, and choose to change the Symbol text or font.

This feature is particularly useful if you want to use Greek letters or symbol fonts like Wingdings as your symbols.

Using text from a worksheet column as your symbols

1. Type the text you want to use as your symbol in a worksheet column.

2. Open the Graph Properties dialog to the Symbols panel, and select that column as your symbols source.

3. Your symbols are now set to the text from the column.


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How do I use different line widths on one graph?

Unfortunately, SigmaPlot does not currently support line widths from a worksheet column. The only way to create curves with different line weights is to use multiple plots.

For example, if you wanted to emphasize the selected line in this plot:

You would have to create a second plot of the data for that line, then change the line weight for that plot.


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How do I change a custom color?

Once you have selected a custom color from the Color control in Graph Properties, the only way to change that color is to right-click the color control itself.

You can then choose Custom color… and change the currently used color from the Color dialog box.

See the RGB color table for a list of the RGB values for some typical colors.


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How do I paste Excel data at full precision?

In SigmaPlot 7.1 and higher, you can simply copy and paste Excel data cells into SigmaPlot and they will correctly pasted at full precision.

However, in earlier versions of SigmaPlot, you must first change your Excel cell display to the precision you wish to use inside SigmaPlot.


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How do I paste date/time data from Excel?

In SigmaPlot 7.1 and higher, you can simply copy and paste Excel date/time cells into SigmaPlot and they will correctly convert to SigmaPlot calendar dates and times.

However, in earlier versions of SigmaPlot, you must first change your Excel cell display to the standard date and time delimiters recognized by SigmaPlot during date and time data entry (typically month/date/year).

The delimiter used for date separations can be determined by your Windows regional settings.


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How do I change the default properties of new graph pages?

Once common need to change the size or type of paper being used, whether it is formatting a page for slide output, or switching from letter to A4 size. SigmaPlot uses a template to produce all new pages, which can be found by default in the template.jnt file. To change this default page template:

1. Open the template.jnt file. Note that if template.jnt is not being used as the default template file, open whatever file is being used instead.

2. Open the Normal page file, then use Page Setup to change whatever properties you want to make to all new pages.

3. Save and close the file, then create a new page and verify that the changes you made to the Normal page have taken effect.


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How do I change page color?

The control for page color can be found under the Page Setup dialog box, under the Page Layout tab. Page Setup can be opened from either the graph page right-click menu, or under the File menu.

1. Right click the page (not the graph) and choose Page Setup.

2. Select the Page Layout tab, and select your page color.


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How do I return an X value from a known Y?

SigmaPlot 7.0 adds a Solver tab to the Plot Equations dialog box. Once you have a function that has been curve fitted or plotted, you can use the Solver to solve for either y or x values.


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How do I retrieve statistics and paste them to Excel?

You can always view a set of standard descriptive statistics for any SigmaPlot worksheet by either pressing F6, or by choosing the View menu Statistics command. You can also press the View Statistics button in the standard toolbar.

Once the statistic worksheet is open, you can simply copy and paste your data to Excel or whatever other application you want. You can also export this data to a large number of file formats using the File menu Export command.


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How do I hide a single legend entry?

SigmaPlot 8.0 allows you to simply uncheck or check a legend entry from Graph Properties to hide or show it. However, in earlier versions of SigmaPlot, the process is much more obscure.

To hide a single legend entry in SigmaPlot 7.0 and earlier:

1. View the page, and with your mouse over the legend you want to delete, double click the legend.

2. Click the Symbols… button, then uncheck the Show legend button.

3. Click OK, then Close. The legend entry will be removed.

To restore hidden legends, you must hide, then show the entire legend from the Graph Properties dialog box. Uncheck the Show legend option, click Apply, then check the option and click OK.


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How do I display more than 25 legend entries?

By default, SigmaPlot limits the number of legend entries that are automatically generated to 25. If you require more legend entreies to appear than that, you need to modify the SPW.INI file. This is a text file found in your SigmaPlot application folder.

1. Open the SPW.INI file (typically you can double-click the file) in Notepad (the Windows text editor).

2. Press Ctrl + f, and search for the string "MaxNumberAutolegends"

3. Change the number from 25 to whatever the new limit should be, then save the file and close it.


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How do I keep a legend label from changing?

In SigmaPlot 8.0, legends automatically retain changes to the labeling, size, etc. However, in SigmaPlot 7.1 and earlier, the text used for automatically generated legends is linked to the titles of the data worksheet columns plotted. If the data worksheet used by the graph changes, or if the column title changes, the legend text updates, which can wipe out any edits you have made to the legend text.

To avoid this behavior, you can convert your "autolegend" to static text. Simply select the legend, then Ungroup the legend using either the Format menu Ungroup command, or the Ungroup button.


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How do I create ticks between bars?

Occasionally, you may want the tick marks on a bar chart top draw between the bars, "Excel style", rather than at the data points, which is generally a better way. In this case, you can use Minor Tick marks to draw these ticks.

1. For the X axis tick marks, change Apply to to Minor ticks.

2. Set the Bottom direction to Outward.

3. Set the Length to the desired length.

4. Set the Tick intervals to 2.

5. To delete the major tick marks, just click then and press Del

Histograms and variable x spacing

If you are using histograms and want the bars to represent values within an x range, you can change the width settings of bars to match the ranges they represent

1. Create an XY bar chart using numeric values for the x-range.

2. From the Widths panel of the Graph Properties dialog box, set the Bar thickness to 100%.

3. Set the Width style to Variable.

4. Set the Bar alignment to Left.

5. The bar chart will now accurately represent both bin range and counts.


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How do I add non-keyboard characters to tick labels?

Unfortunately, SigmaPlot doesn’t currently support mixed fonts within a single tick label. However, a fair number of non-keyboard characters are available for text. To view these, open the Character Map Windows Accessory program, usually available under Windows|Accessories|System Tools.

1. Click the Advanced view checkbox, and set the Character set to Windows: Western. This is the set that SigmaPlot currently supports.

2. Highlight the character you want to insert, then click Select and Copy

3. Enter the text you want to use for tick labels into a worksheet column, inserting the copied non-keyboard character as desired

4. Now either plot the tick values as categories, or use them as the tick label source


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How do I combine graphs from different pages onto one page?

You can either copy or move graphs from one page to another page simply by copying or cutting the graph, and pasting it to the new page. You can also left or right-click drag a graph from one page to another.

Note that when you move or copy a graph from one page to another, you automatically bring all the data with the graph along with the graph.

Copying a graph without copying the data

To copy a graph without bringing the data, copy the Page rather than the graph, using the Notebook interface. You can then paste the page to the desired section. The graph(s) on the page will automatically plot the existing data, if any.



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How do I use my own labels for tick labels?

You can use your own tick labels by entering text into a worksheet column and selecting that column for the tick label values. Note that most of the time you want to use your own labels, you can simply treat them as your categories when plotting data.

1. Enter the text you want to use for tick labels into a worksheet column. Note that if you want to use numbers as text, formatted to a specific decimal place or appearance, use the Format menu Cells command to first set the numeric appearance, then use Format Cells again to convert the number(s) to Text.

2. Open graph properties and go to the Tick Labels panel for that axis. Set the Type of label to be the tick label column.

3. The text or numbers in that column are used for the tick labels.


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How do I use my own tick mark intervals?

You can use your own tick intervals by entering the interval values into a worksheet column and selecting that column for the tick mark values.

1. If necessary, enter the values you want to use for tick intervals into a worksheet column

2. Open graph properties and go to the Ticks panel for that axis. Set the Major ticks intervals to be your tick intervals column.

3. The numbers in that column are used for the tick intervals.


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How do I add axis breaks to a category axis?

In order to add an axis break to a category axis, you must first change the axis to linear. This requires changing the category data to integers, and then using the original category data as labels.

  • Copy your category data to another column, then substitute linear, integer values for your categories.
  • Change your axis scale in the Graph Properties dialog box Axis Tab, Scale panel, to Linear.
  • Use the Tick Labels panel to change your labels from "Numeric" to the categories column data worksheet (see How do I use my own labels for tick labels).
  • Now you can use the Axis Breaks panel and add and axis break to your graph.

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How do I make hollow symbols?

There are two kinds of "hollow" symbols:

  • Symbols that are truly hollow, and have no fill color ("none" is selected as the symbol fill color) whatsoever, and just the outline.

  • Symbols that are actually filled with the color of the graph background (typically white).

There is a big difference between the way these symbols are drawn when symbols overlap or when a line is drawn through the symbols:

  • Symbols without fills at all cannot have the line drawn "behind" the symbol even when this option is selected, as there is no fill color to obscure the line. The symbol outlines (edges) will still be drawn in front or behind the line.

  • Symbols without fills will also display the edges of overlapping symbols

The following figures display the differences in appearance between true hollow symbols and symbols filled with white:



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How do I change or turn off all axis lines?

You can change all axis line simply by using shift+click to select all the lines you want to change, then right-clicking and using the Format menu Lines ... command.

To hide axis lines, you can simply press the Del key to hide selected lines. Note that Del only hides and does not actually remove the line. You can show the line again from the Graph Properties dialog box.

Note that to select the tick marks along with the axis lines, click the tick marks first, before clicking the axis line. Any setting you make in the Object Properties dialog box will affect all selected objects.

Bar charts : Bar charts have an additional line that is automatically drawn at the Y or X zero. This is a reference line that must be changed independently of the axis line.

3D graphs : Note that for 3D graphs in particular, there are an entire set of additional frame lines that are drawn in addition to the axis lines. To hide these lines, you need to open the Graph Properties dialog box, select the 3D View tab, and uncheck all the Frame lines.


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How do I make my notebook file size smaller?

By default, SigmaPlot uses a fast saving technique that appends rather than rewrites the entire file. The drawback to this is that if large amounts of data are removed from a file, this does not reduce the size of a file.

You can easily force a file rewrite, which can compress a file significantly, simply by choosing Save As ... instead of Save. This creates an entirely new file, which does not contain any of the unused space of a file that has not be completely rewritten.

Alternately, you can enable backup files, which will also cause the file to be rewritten each time.


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How do I automatically create backup files?

Automatic saving of the previous file as a backup is off by default for performance reasons. To turn on backup files, choose the Tools menu Options command, select the System tab and check the Backup files option.


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How do I preserve attributes of hidden objects?

For performance reasons, the attributes of some unused (hidden) objects are not saved when those objects are turned off. For example, if you have customized some reference line settings, and you later hide those lines, those settings will not be retained.

You can force the retention of these settings by unchecking the Fast Page Open option in the System tab of the Options dialog box.


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How do I put a macro onto a menu?

You can put any macro as a command into any or new existing menu, along with a keyboard shortcut. This is particularly useful if you have created a macro that is often used, or for which you want a keyboard shortcut.

To place a macro into a menu :

1. Open the Macros dialog (press alt+f8) and select the macro you want to place onto a menu.

2.Click Options ... The Macro Options dialog box opens.

3. Enter a name for the command under Command name, and the menu where you want the command to appear under Menu name. Use an "&" to indicate the shortcut key. You can use a new or existing menu name. If you enter an existing menu name, the command will be appended to the existing menu.

4. Make sure the Command name option is checked, then click OK, then Close to close the Macros dialog box. Your command will now appear on the SigmaPlot menu.


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How do I save a notebook to an earlier version of SigmaPlot?

If you need to send SigmaPlot graphs or data to someone with and earlier version of SigmaPlot, you can save your notebooks to earlier versions of SigmaPlot using the Export command. Note that features that are supported by the earlier version will be automatically stripped out. To export to an older notebook format, bring the notebook window into focus, then choose the File menu Export command. You can save to versions as early as SigmaPlot 3.0.


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How do I move a plot in front of another plot, or re-order curves in a plot?

If you want to change the order of plots or curves, in order to change their order in the legend or to move one plot or curve in front of another, you must use the Move to Front and Move to Back functions.

If you have multiple curves and/or plots, you will have to click Move to Front on several different curves until you get them into the desired order.


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How do I resize a graph without resizing symbols and text?

Normally, when you resize a graph, the symbols and text resize along with the graph. If you do not want these to be rescaled when you rescale a graph, you must turn off the Graph objects resize with graph option in the Options dialog box.


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How do I plot the numeric percentiles for box plots and error bars?

SigmaPlot 2001 (7.0 and above) allows the plotting of percentiles using either the original "graphical" method developed by Cleveland, or the method employed by most statistical packages (which sometimes rounds to a different value).

You can switch between these two methods from the Options dialog box, using the Percentile method option under the System tab.


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How do I add an equation or graphic to my graph/page?

If you have MS Office installed, you can use some of the tools provided with MS Office with SigmaPlot. Two of the most useful of these tools are the Equation Editor and the Clip Gallery.

Using Microsoft Equation Editor

You can use MS Equation Editor to place a graphical equation on your SigmaPlot page.

1. Click where you want the equation to appear, then choose the Insert menu New Object command.

2. Select Microsoft Equation from the list of Object types, and click OK.

3. Create your equation with Equation Editor, then choose File menu Exit and Return to SigmaPlot Graph Editor command.

4. The equation appears on your page. You can size and position it as desired.

Using Microsoft Clip Gallery

You can use MS Clip Gallery to place a graphics and other media on your SigmaPlot page.

1. Click where you want the graphic to appear, then choose the Insert menu New Object command.

2. Select the Microsoft Clip Gallery option and click OK.

3. Select the clip you want to insert, or browse for one at the Microsoft web site. Click OK when finished.

4. Generally, you will need to resize and move the inserted clip art.



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How do I add a table to my graph page?

If you have MS Office installed, you can use Excel to create attractively formatted tables. This is especially useful for pasting the results of a linear regression or other statistical test.

To add an Excel table, simply copy the formatted table from Excel, and paste it onto the SigmaPlot page. If you want to paste Linear Regression results:

1. Copy the results from the Results tab, paste them into Excel.

2. Format the borders as desired, then copy and paste the Excel data back into SigmaPlot.

3. Paste the Excel table to your SigmaPlot page, then resize and move the table as desired.


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How do I make my own SigmaPlot equation?

The easiest way to create your own equation for regressions or plotting is not to make one from scratch (this is covered in the online help for the Regression Wizard), but to copy an existing equation, and edit that one. Copying a regression equation also allows you to edit the non-editable regions of the built-in equations.

To make a copy :

1. Open the Regression Wizard (F5), and open the Equation you want to use as the starting point for you own equation.

2. Click Edit Code. When the Function dialog box opens, click the Add As... button.

3. Rename the equation as desired, then click OK. The equation is added to your current Regression Library. If you are using the standard library, it is added under the User-Defined heading.

4. You can now edit the Equation and Parameters as desired. Make sure all parameters defined in the equation also appear in the Parameters box, or are defined as constants under in the Equation box.


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How do I fix a constant value in curve fitting?

You can fix a parameter value to a constant by editing the code for a SigmaPlot equation:

1. Open the Regression Wizard (F5), and open the Equation you want to edit. If the equation is a built-in Equation, you will have to use Add As ... to make an editable copy.

2. Comment out or remove the parameter you want to fix to a constant under the Parameters box, then add a new line to the Equation box, defining the constant value of the parameter. Click OK when finished.

3. To verify the constant setting, click Next from the Regression wizard, then click Options ... The constant you defined should now appear under the Constants heading. In the future, you can use this dialog box to change the constant value.


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How do I interpolate values for regression curves?

Once you have performed a curve fit using the Regression wizard, you can use the Solve tab of the Plot Equation dialog box to solve for any y given an x, or vice versa


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How do I enter time-only data and analyze time series data?

Whenever you enter only times into a data column, SigmaPlot by default uses the system zero date of 4713 BC. This is intentional, because any modern date creates such large internal numbers that any sort of statistical analysis is extremely difficult if not impossible.

The problem begins to occur if you reach a point where you move to the next day. This is not an issue if you are using a cyclical axis, i.e., a polar plot. However, if you are using a linear, Cartesian axis, you will need to enter an actual date as well as a time for the time data to continue rather than restart on the same day.

The key to understanding SigmaPlot’s date and time data is that it all occurs on a continuous, historical axis. Therefore, if you enter only times, they will always fall on Jan 1, 4713 BC. If you want to enter a time for the next day, you need to set the date to 1/2/4713.

For example, the following data are entered :

The expectation is that this data will be a continuous line, but instead it plots as:

What is going on here? The problem is that the second set of data is occurring on the same day as the first set, as we can see if we display the full day and month for the data using the Format Cells dialog box:

With the month and day also showing,

If we simply change the times to include the next day:

Then we get:


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How do I convert *.gra files created in DOS versions of SigmaPlot to the Windows version?

Use this executable file to convert *.GRA files to *.SPG format. The file must be executed from a DOS command prompt. Graph editing or re-creation may be necessary after translation.

Download the executable and README file.

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How do I remove/uninstall the Microsoft Excel integration feature of SigmaPlot 8.0?

Remove the feature by unchecking it from the Modify option. If the SigmaPlot icon remains in the toolbar and/or 'Insert' Menu in Microsoft Excel, open Excel, then close it and re-open. The SigmaPlot icon should then disappear in the Menu and toolbar.

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How do I save a document while attempting to save a new file?

Grant the user Administrative Rights to the SigmaPlot folder.

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How do I assign a "hot-key" for a macro?

1) Record a macro and save;
2) Enter Macro Name;
check Command Name and assign Name with Ampersand (&) prior to the character hot-key (ex: Ma&nuel); Enter Menu Name where to put the macro (M&acros). Grant the user Administrative Rights to the SigmaPlot folder.

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How do I display a regressed line on top of an existing graph with date and time data?

The Date & Time format is converted to Numeric during Regression interpolation. Reconverting the Result (see Worksheet) to Date&Time after the Regression, should display the Regressed Line.

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How do I copy a block of data, associated with a formula or macro, in Excel and Paste it into SigmaPlot?

Sometimes the block of data is not translated properly. The problem caused by the erratic copy-paste is due to the association of the data generation with formulas or macro in Excel. To verify the point, try selecting a block of data from the same Excel file associated with a macro. Copy this block of cell and Paste it anywhere within this same Excel file - data pasted is erroneous. Now, copy the same data associated with this same macro or formula in Excel file. CLOSE (a must) the file (not the program). Paste this data anywhere in SigmaPlot - data should paste correctly. Importing the cell-block from SigmaPlot also works.

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How do I install SigmaPlot 8.0 on Windows Home XP operating system?

Some users while using older drivers have reported a Blue Screen error associated with tbcspud.sys. This error occurs when CHKDSK /f is scheduled to run in Win 2000 or Win XP. This has since been corrected with newer drivers. Please use drivers that are version 4142 or higher.

 
 



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