STATISTICA Data Visualization

Overview

Graphics facilities in STATISTICA combine an extremely wide selection of scientific and technical charts (featuring built-in analytic facilities) with customization, drawing, and multigraphics management capabilities that are usually found only in designated presentation graphics and drawing programs. STATISTICA offers hundreds of types of 2- and 3-dimensional graphical displays, including 2- and 3-dimensional ternary graphs, special 4-dimensional graphs, multidimensional graphs, categorized multigraphs, matrices of graphs, icons, tessellations, spectral 2- and 3-dimensional graphs, compound graphs, and many other specialized procedures. Also, flexible and very easy to use facilities are provided to custom design completely new types of graphs and add them permanently to the menu or floating toolbars.

STATISITCA graph display technology automatically detects and takes advantage of high-performance hardware acceleration, which is now available not only in the high-end, but also in many mid-range video display controllers available in both desktop and laptop computer workstations. The resulting output is generated quickly and also supports more advanced smoothing and gradient display options. STATISTICA graphs feature interactive graphic controls which enable you to interactively adjust display features.

There are various methods to request STATISTICA Graphs. You could say that these methods represent different types of "interfaces" between numbers and graphs.

For example, the numbers represented in a pie chart can simply depict values of a spreadsheet column (e.g., variable Sales) in the consecutive cases of the spreadsheet (e.g., cases labeled: Year 2002, Year 2003, Year 2004, ..., etc.). The numbers in a similar pie chart, however, can also represent results of some calculations. For example, the slices of the pie can represent relative frequencies of observations that belong to certain categories calculated by one of the histogram or frequency categorization procedures (e.g., numbers of years when the Sales were below $10 million, between $10 and $20 million, and above $20 million).

Regardless of the method used to create a graph (i.e., regardless of where the numbers represented in the graph were obtained or how they were calculated), all STATISTICA Graph customization and multigraphics management facilities can be used to change the appearance of the graph or integrate it with other graphs or documents.

Graphics, Surface Plot, 3D

Also, all integrated analytic facilities that are accessible from within graphs in STATISTICA (such as function fitting, smoothing, rotation, brushing, analytical zooming, etc.) are available and can be applied to the graph regardless of the source of the numbers in the graph or the method that was used to create it.

The graph editing facilities offered in STATISTICA enable you to create not only highly customized scientific and technical publication-ready displays:

Black, White, Technical, Graph, Histogram, Line Plot

and precise drawings:

Drawing

but also presentation-quality diagrams, posters, business charts, and other displays that are designed to communicate information in an effective and attractive manner.

Presentation, graphic

Graphs that are saved into files or that in any other way have been temporarily detached from the STATISTICA application (e.g., copied to the Clipboard or linked to a document in another application) are complete "objects" (technically speaking, ActiveX objects) that contain not only all customization features and other embedded objects, but also all data that are necessary to continue editing all aspects of the display or the analysis of its contents (fitting, smoothing, etc.).

Because STATISTICA Graphs are ActiveX objects, they can easily be linked to or embedded into other compatible documents (e.g., Excel or Word documents), where they can be in-place edited by double-clicking on them. STATISTICA Graphs are also ActiveX containers and, therefore, can contain a wide variety of embedded or linked documents such as Visio drawings, Adobe illustrations, Excel spreadsheets, or Word documents. Moreover, STATISTICA supports hierarchies of embedded objects up to four levels, which means that it can manage "documents, containing documents, containing documents, which contain documents."

See more sample graphs.

General Types of Graphs vs. Graphs Integrated with Statistical Procedures

This section describes the general types of graphs that are available at any point of your analysis and that can be applied to arbitrary selections of data, including:

  • raw data (or any subsets of raw data, specified on-line using flexible selection conditions);
  • any output from analyses (or any subsets of the output selected in the results spreadsheets);
  • values calculated in STATISTICA Visual Basic;
  • any combinations of the previous three types of data.

Graph, Graphics, Bar Chart, Categorized

Note that one of the unique features of the graphics facilities in STATISTICA is that all numerical values (and their text descriptions) as well as all possible combinations of those values can be visualized using all graphical procedures available in the system.

In addition to those general types of graphs (described in this section), there are hundreds of more specialized graphs that are integrated with specific statistical procedures and available either from the respective output selection dialogs or shortcut menus in the results spreadsheets. Some of those specialized types of graphs are listed in the respective topics of the Statistics section. Finally, all graphics options and procedures can also be used in your STATISTICA Visual Basic programs.

General Graphics Options

Graphs, Graphics, 3D Line Plot, Contour PlotThe selection of types, styles, and options of graphs that can be produced by STATISTICA exceeds by far the limits of what would be reasonable to describe in detail in this overview of features. There are hundreds of predefined and specifically pre-configured graphs that are accessible from all statistics, graphics, and shortcut menus (and from the toolbars). In addition, there are virtually countless graphs that can be custom defined by the user, and those graphs represent any combinations of user-selected parts of the numeric output and raw data.

Moreover, each existing graph (either predefined or custom-defined) can be treated as a starting point for unlimited customizations that can also involve changing of graph types. These customizations can go far beyond the interactive changing of attributes of all graph components and drawings. New series of data can be added or merged into an existing graph, practically all structural aspects of the graph can be redefined and customized, and new STATISTICA graphs (and/or artwork from other applications) can be dynamically linked to (or statically embedded into) the current display. Foreign files can simply be dragged onto STATISTICA graphs directly from Windows Explorer (across application windows). STATISTICA graphs can serve as "containers" for ActiveX/OLE compliant or incompatible objects pasted from other applications.

Graph ("Self-Contained") Documents

line plot bar chart graph graphicsSTATISTICA Graph documents contain all options, features, styles, and information about the inserted, linked, or embedded objects, as well as all the relevant data, and therefore, they can be shared between users even if they are separated from their original datasets.

Moreover, you can re-open a graph document at a different time and on a different computer, and continue to analyze or customize the graph, e.g., change fitting options, categorization settings, etc.

Dynamic Links Between Graphs and the Input Data

X bar R chart histogram graph graphicsAll graphs created from the spreadsheet data can automatically maintain their links to the data. For applications in exploratory data analysis, a macro system can be defined to have a series of predefined graphs automatically recreated for each of a series of datasets; all graphs can be automatically printed, saved, or directed to a presentation quality report combining graphs with text.

Graphs Automatically Updated in Real-Time

If the spreadsheet is linked to an outside data source, graphs can be set to update automatically whenever the spreadsheet links are updated (e.g., from a remote data warehouse or set different databases as defined using STATISTICA Query). For example, quality control graphs (see the illustration) or other types of graphs can be used for real-time monitoring of specific quality indices or to control the progress of a laboratory process.

STATISTICA is compatible with virtually every data acquisition system, and the data can be transferred to STATISTICA either via a variety of links to the spreadsheet (that can be updated in the background) or macro emulated keyboard input. If the spreadsheet contains formulas to transform or "clean" the input data, the respective parts of the spreadsheet can be set to automatically recalculate whenever new data are received, and then the transformed data will be sent to the chart. Also, those types of systems of practically unlimited complexity can be custom defined in STATISTICA Visual Basic.

Selection of Graphs

3D histogram, graph, graphicsOptimized access to graph type selections.

The list of all types of graphs supported is long; however, access to all types of graphs in STATISTICA is designed to minimize potential confusion among the number of choices, and to guide you in the process of selecting graph types.

All choices can be made from menus, toolbars, or a convenient Graphs Gallery facility (designed to simplify access to the many types of graphs, and integrated with the STATISTICA Help) custom macros can also be used. See also the next topic on shortcuts.

STATISTICA graph graphicsQuick access to common types of graphs, shortcuts.

The most commonly used types of graphs are available via quick "single-click" facilities [e.g., Quick Stats Graphs (see the illustration at left) or basic selections of Block Graphs] accessible from shortcut menus or the top sections of other menus, and are designed to reduce the number of necessary selections to the very minimum.

For example, these quick access facilities will skip all option dialogs, apply dynamically determined system defaults for all settings, and if a block of values is highlighted in the current spreadsheet, will even suggest the selection of variables from the block. Other alternative ways of accessing general types of graphs are also supported; for example, you can assign the most commonly used types of customized (or custom-designed) graphs to buttons on existing or custom defined toolbars or shortcut keys, or append them to a menu.

 

Surface plot
Categorized Line Plot Graph Graphics Histogram

A review of main types of graphs.

The selection of types and sub-types of graphs that can be produced by STATISTICA exceeds the limits of what would be reasonable to describe in detail in this overview. This section includes only a summary of the main types of graphs.

In addition to the large selection of styles of "business type" (Microsoft PowerPoint or Excel-style) 2- and 3-dimensional graphs (such as bar, column, pie, line, area, stacked, stock market style High-Low-Close, range, deviation, block, etc.), STATISTICA offers a wide variety of statistical (analytic and exploratory) graphs.

These include

  • histograms, including
    • smoothed
    • cumulative
    • multiple
    • double-Y
    • fitted
    • hanging histobars
    • one- and two-way categorized multi-histograms
    • matrix histograms
    • 3D bivariate distribution histograms and surface smoothed histograms
    • histograms coordinated with scatterplots
    • histograms coordinated with sequence. moving average, etc.
    • graphs
    • and many others
  • means plots with error bars,
  • box plots
  • range plots
  • box-and-whisker plots, including
    • user-defined plots of central tendencies (such as trimmed means or medians) and
    • measures of dispersion (user-specified percentiles, ranges, SDs, SEs, or non-outlier ranges
  • plots of outliers and extreme values
  • box plots with outliers coordinated with scatterplots, as well as 2D, 3D, and categorized plots of ranges or variation in multiple series or groups of data, and many others
  • scatterplots, including
    • multiple
    • double-Y
    • frequency
    • marked
    • point-labeled
    • weighted
    • Voronoi
    • one- and two-way categorized multi-scatterplots
    • scatterplot matrices
    • XYZ
    • ternary
    • Polar
    • multiple-subset where each subset of data is specified by custom-defined selection conditions
    • compound scatterplots with coordinated histograms or box and whisker plots\
    • scatterplots of quantiles for comparing distributions
    • and many others, including such specialized types as scatterplots where every data point is represented by a custom graphics file (BMP, WMF, JPG, PNG) or icon-scatterplots where data points are marked by multidimensional icons visualizing relations between additional variables, e.g., small pie charts or Chernoff faces
  • line plots, including
    • multiple
    • aggregated
    • marked
    • case/profile plots with range lines
    • double-Y
    • 3D
    • ribbon
    • and many others
  • a wide variety of 2D and 3D function fitting and function plotting graphs, and distribution fitting graphs, including flexible implementations of categorized and regular Quantile-Quantile and Probability-Probability plots for a wide variety of distributions
  • categorized and regular Missing/Out of range graphs mapping distributions of missing data or values from user-defined ranges across datasets or their subsets defined by categorizations
  • icon plots, including flexible implementations of
    • Chernoff faces
    • star
    • sun ray
    • polygon
    • pie
    • column
    • line, and
    • profile icons
  • matrix plots (including square and rectangular scatter, line, and column matrices, and multiple-subset matrices)
  • 2D and 3D triangular-coordinate (ternary) graphs including
    • scatterplots
    • contours (projected and 2D)
    • surfaces (with a selection of ternary fitting options)
    • ternary space and deviation graphs
    • as well as categorized (multiple) 2D and 3D ternary plot-displays of all supported types
  • one and two-way categorized multiplots that enable you to generate flexible "crosstabulations" of
    • multiple scatterplots
    • histograms
    • line graphs
    • function fitting graphs
    • box-and-whisker graphs
    • pie charts
    • various bar
    • column
    • range
    • deviation
    • tessellation and other specialized plots and their combinations, including a wide selection of multiple (i.e., "categorized by...") 3D graphs
  • a wide selection of 3D graphs, including
    • various XYZ scatterplots
    • space plots
    • spectral plots
    • deviation plots
    • ribbon plots
    • block plots
    • box plots
    • 3D range plots and
    • multiple range plots including
      • flying boxes
      • flying blocks and broken blocks
      • flying double-ribbon ranges
      • flying border
      • point, and
      • error bar ranges
  • various user-defined surface plots with projected contours, line plots, trace plots, contour plots, function plots, 3D pie charts, and others
  • special multiple-3D (4D) graphs, and many others
    • 3D displays feature on-screen rotation, control over all proportions of the respective solids, perspective, etc
    • This also includes the 4D graphs (e.g., multiple surface plots can be rotated simultaneously on the screen in user-controlled perspective).

User-Defined Graphs

graph graphics user defined

ternary slice line histogram graph graphics
Visual Basic graph graphics

All graph definition and customization facilities in STATISTICA can be used to define new types of graphs, which can be permanently added to the floating toolbars or appended to the menu. There are several ways in which new graphs can be defined.

The simplest method to custom-define a new graph (to be used repeatedly) is to create it as usual, using any options from the respective graph definition dialogs, and then click the Add as a User-defined Graph to Menu button. STATISTICA will prompt you for the name (and optionally, if the selection of variables is to be preserved), and the new graph name will be added into the menu.

An alternative method to custom-define a new graph (for repeated use) is to create a macro (either by recording it or writing a program using the STATISTICA Visual Basic editor). The new macro can then be assigned to a button on a toolbar, menu option, and/or a shortcut key.

Finally, STATISTICA Visual Basic offers comprehensive access to all graphics procedures of STATISTICA. Creating even complex graphs with STATISTICA Visual Basic is surprisingly easy. For example, you can start by recording a macro by creating a graph interactively and then customize the code. A Function Browser is provided to speed up entry of the graphics functions. Graphs of any degree of complexity can be custom defined in STATISTICA Visual Basic and assigned to buttons, menu options, and/or shortcut keys for repeated use.

The applications are virtually countless and range from simple line graphs (e.g., created for every case in a data file and overlaid in one display) to, complex types of specialized graphs, technical drawings, and diagrams related to datasets. Completely new graphics structures can be created using the drawing tools (graphics primitives). STATISTICAVisual Basic can also be used to automate routine sets of modifications or customizations of existing graphs (e.g., you can design a library of your own menu-driven graph customization procedures). STATISTICA Visual Basic can create complex compound graphics documents with ActiveX/OLE links (including nested documents), diagrams related to data (that can be updated/redrawn by pressing a button), and many other types of displays.

The graphics output can be directed to all output channels-stand alone windows, workbook, and/or reports; they can be automatically printed, saved, or combined with output from other applications (e.g., output into a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet.) Your new, custom-designed graphics procedures can be permanently added to the STATISTICA system by assigning them to any controls. Simple to use, predefined dialogs can be set up (with the intuitive, interactive dialog painter) to produce customized "front ends" for these new procedures (e.g., prompting the user to enter the necessary parameters or text of titles, select specific options, or any other type of input).

Flexibility of Graphical Representations of Data: An Example

Categorized Surface graph graphicsOne of the unique features of STATISTICA is its facilities to flexibly experiment with different graphical representations of the same set and arrangement of data. After the selected graphical representation of a dataset is displayed on the screen (e.g., a 3D scatterplot), the type of graphical representation and the layout style can be flexibly adjusted to achieve the desired analytic or presentation effects.

For example, after a 3D scatterplot is produced, you can interactively convert it into a space plot (showing deviations of individual data points from a fixed plane), "compress" the data points into a user-requested number of spectral planes, fit a surface to the data points (choosing from a variety of surface types and display styles, stiffness of the fit, etc.), compare the fit of data to surfaces produced from custom-defined functions, experiment with re-fitting the surface after interactively removing and restoring outliers (with a 3D slicer or a cube brush), perform on-screen rotation and adjust the perspective of the graph, zoom in on specific concentrations of data (e.g., scroll in logical zoom mode to create an effect of moving a "strong magnifying glass" over the graph to explore specific areas), interactively identify specific points by labeling them with one of the many brushing methods supported, etc.

Graphical Data Analysis

Time Series graph graphicSTATISTICA features a comprehensive selection of tools for graphical data exploration and analysis, and an extensive set of facilities to identify relations, trends, and biases "hidden" in unstructured datasets. The analytic techniques include function fitting and plotting, data smoothing, overlaying and merging of multiple displays, interactive categorizing of data, splitting/merging subsets of data in graphs, aggregating data in graphs, identifying and marking subsets of data that meet specific conditions, shading, plotting confidence intervals and confidence areas (ellipses), generating tessellations, layered compressions, spectral planes, and projected contours, data image reduction techniques, interactive (and continuous) rotation of 3D graphs, selective highlighting of specific series and blocks of data, a uniquely powerful and comprehensive selection of brushing techniques including a flexible "animated brushing" facility (see the Brushing topic, below), 3D slicers and interactive, fully customizable cube brushes), analytic zooming tools that enable you to interactively create sub-graphs by selecting an area (or a cube) on an existing display, and many others.

Point markers on plots can be made transparent with an interactive transparency control with on-screen sliders (requires Windows Vista SP 2 or Windows 7). Transparency control is a powerful graphical exploratory technique that enables you to reveal trends hidden in the dense concentrations of data points (especially scatterplots and scatterplot matrices generated from extremely large data sets).

Hidden Trend in data Transparency reveals hidden trend

The goal is to achieve the optimal density level to uncover patterns obscured by a large number of random points (white noise) that create the “ink blot” effect.

Additionally, making plot areas transparent allows portions of the plot to overlap while still being visible.

Histogram transparency

Fitting, Smoothing, Overlaying

Specialized smoothing and fitting methods related to particular statistical procedures are available as part of output selections in the respective statistics modules. However, a comprehensive selection of general-purpose smoothing and function fitting methods are available at any point of your analysis as part of the general graphics options, and they include a wide variety of distribution fitting options (including Beta, Exponential, Extreme Value, Gamma, Laplace, Lognormal, Lowess, Normal, Poisson, Rayleigh, and Weibull), as well as standard fitting and smoothing procedures including linear, exponential, logarithmic, spline, normal, polynomial (of user-selectable order), bicubic spline, distance-weighted least squares smoothing, negative exponentially-weighted smoothing, ternary linear and quadratic, ternary cubic and special cubic.

User-defined 2- and 3-dimensional functions (as well as sets of parametric curves e.g., to draw a circle or an ellipse) can also be plotted and overlaid on the graphs. The functions can reference a wide variety of distributions including Beta, Binomial, Cauchy, Chi-square, Exponential, Extreme Value, F, Gamma, Geometric, Laplace, Logistic, Lognormal, Normal, Pareto, Poisson, Rectangular, Rayleigh, Student's t, and Weibull, as well as their integrals and inverses.

Fitting Arbitrary Functions

Additional facilities to fit user-defined functions of practically unlimited complexity to the data are described in the section on Nonlinear Estimation. The function minimization can be performed using a selection of powerful fitting algorithms (including Levenberg-Marquardt, quasi-Newton, Simplex, Hooke-Jeeves pattern moves, and Rosenbrock pattern search method of rotating coordinates), and according to the default or user-defined loss functions.

Brushing Techniques

categorized scatterplot graph graphics brushingOverview

The comprehensive implementation of brushing techniques (for exploratory data analysis and hypothesis testing) includes a wide variety of data selection and identification methods as well as various options to manage the selected data. Due to STATISTICA'sproprietary graphics technology (see the topic on technology, below), the brushing facilities are extremely responsive even on large scatterplot matrices showing large datasets. Point, rectangle, lasso, slice, and cube brushes can be used; brushing is supported for all categories of graphs (including 2D, 3D, categorized, scatterplot matrices, and even such specialized displays as graphs with Polar coordinates or categorized 3D scatterplots with triangular coordinate systems). Brushing actions supported include interactive labeling, marking, elimination/suppression, reversing all operations, and changing the status of individual or globally selected sets of data points (e.g., depending on combinations of conditions met by the data points).

3D scatterplot graph graphicsAnimated Brushing

Animated movement of multi-point (area, slice, or cube) brushes (especially useful in exploration of scatterplot matrix displays) enables the user to watch the dynamics of relations between variables in multivariate datasets. For example, a rectangle brush covering 10% of the range of the variable INCOME can be set to "flow" over the entire range of INCOME (at a speed interactively controlled by the user). As the brush "flows" over the ranges of INCOME, all data points that belong to the currently covered ("brushed") ranges of INCOME will automatically "light up" (i.e., become highlighted) in all scatterplots of the matrix, allowing you, for example, to inspect the contribution of observations representing specific levels of INCOME to the relations between all other variables in the dataset.

categorized scatterplot graph graphicsRange-based brushing

In addition to the mouse-based methods, flexible tools are available to interactively brush/select subsets of data by specifying ranges of values and/or combinations of attributes of data points. Also, facilities are provided to manage the selected data points (e.g., selectively copy them to the Clipboard, copy or move them to a new column/plot, etc.).

The Technology Supporting the Graphics Procedures, Speed (A Technical Note)

The unique technology behind all graphics procedures in STATISTICA not only enables advanced exploration and visualization of data and facilitates the analyses listed in the previous topics, but it also contributes to the overall responsiveness of the program. For example:

categorized scatterplot zoom graph graphics Categorized scatterplot overlaid graph graphic
  • All graph redraws are performed at speeds limited only by the hardware of the computer and the drivers (see the sections on Speed and Comparative Benchmarks).
  • STATISTICA uses the multithreading technology for all graph redrawing operations (thus, complex displays are redrawn in the background while you continue with the next operation). Custom resolution enhancement procedures are used to minimize graph distortion, optimize the graph appearance, and increase the readability of fonts and markers and the accuracy of the display.
  • In addition, data-image compression and/or display density filters can be used to increase the readability of graphs based on large datasets.
  • A "logical" zoom (i.e., a zoom revealing new details and not merely stretching the display) can be performed on all relevant graphic displays and options are provided to create subgraphs from interactively selected 2D or 3D subsets (or slices) of data.
  • The implementation of brushing in STATISTICA is based on proprietary graphics and image processing technology (which is largely responsible for the overall speed of screen redraws and responsiveness of the program). Even with moderate to large datasets, all operations are performed with virtually no noticeable delay. The proprietary region selection and virtual image technology enables you to perform interactive brushing even with extremely large datasets, on large screens (e.g., 1600 x 1200) with unlimited numbers of colors, and the brushing can be performed in real zoom. The proprietary region selection procedures supporting regions of unlimited size enables these procedures to break the system region size limitation even on the older versions of Windows.
  • When the zoom-out or reducing the window size operations make the fonts on the graph too small to read, a unique toolbar tool is provided to globally and proportionately adjust the display sizes of all graph fonts and other components set in an independent metric (e.g., point marker size) for increased readability or presentation effects (see the illustration at left). The same options are also supported for compound documents.
  • Cross-sections of 3D graphs can be interactively reviewed "slice by slice" with a unique brushing slicer.
  • By default, all graph windows are resized while automatically maintaining the graph aspect ratio (as in CAD programs). The user has full control over the graph mapping options, including the mapping base, proportions, margins, graph aspect ratio, translation of logical sizes of graph components as set in points (one quarter of a point is 1/288 of an inch) into physical sizes as they appear on displays, printouts, or in graph regions when the graphs are created in the STATISTICAReport editor or pasted into documents in other applications.
  • The ActiveX/OLE support includes simultaneous support for server and client mode; compound embedded objects (up to fourth level) are supported (see the illustration at left); proprietary technology is used to protect against circular cross-references between linked objects; the server mode offers interactive control over graph mapping of inserted objects.

ActiveX/OLE

ActiveX OLE graph graphicsOverview

STATISTICA offers a comprehensive implementation of both client and server ActiveX/OLE functionality. The server facilities offered inSTATISTICA enable STATISTICA graphics objects to be embedded or linked into other applications. For example, a STATISTICA graph pasted or paste-linked into a word processor can be easily edited (using all STATISTICA customization facilities) by double-clicking on the graph in your word processor document. Those OLE server facilities are supplemented by comprehensive support for OLE client services (see the below). All STATISTICA graphics documents can serve as clients (ActiveX containers) for objects from other applications (or STATISTICA's own objects).

Foreign files can be inserted and opened directly into STATISTICA Graphs (and optionally linked to their sources to enable automatic updates when the source files change). ActiveX/OLE-compatible applications can also be called directly from within STATISTICA graphics documents to create new objects to be inserted [e.g., equation editors (as shown on the illustration on the left) and other specialized applications or word processors, spreadsheets, etc.]. The nesting of objects can be up to 4 levels deep (i.e., an object can be embedded in an object, that is embedded in another object, that is embedded in another object).

For example, you can paste into STATISTICA graphs foreign objects that are containers for other containers. All ActiveX/OLE objects in STATISTICA documents can be linked, and they can be updated dynamically; proprietary technology is used to protect against circular cross-references between STATISTICA OLE objects even on older Windows systems. Both ActiveX/OLE-compliant and incompatible file-objects can be dragged (across application windows) directly from the Windows Explorer and dropped onto STATISTICA Graph windows for further editing and adjustment (as shown in the illustration on the left).

categorized icon graph graphicApplications

The ActiveX/OLE functionality saves time and offers obvious advantages when STATISTICA Graphs are used in other applications (e.g., word processor documents).The client options offer powerful tools to build custom-designed artwork or dynamically updatable and/or efficiently "compressed" documents (e.g., such as compound documents mentioned in the previous paragraph). Also, many new types of STATISTICA graphs can be built using this technology. The compound graph document facilities provide the user with great flexibility for building new types of combination graphs and graphical displays. They also offer the most straightforward and intuitive access to all graph customization facilities and methods to update the documents; updating the component graphs is as easy as clicking the mouse. Compound documents with embedded or linked objects can also be created in STATISTICA Visual Basic.

Datasets in Graphs

Graph graphic probability plotSTATISTICA can produce graphs from datasets of unlimited size (e.g., scatterplots with hundreds of thousands of data points can be created to explore patterns of outliers). In order to help create readable graphs from extremely large datasets, an option is provided to use a fast data-image reduction procedure to generate representative "compressions" of large numbers of observations.

STATISTICA, by default, takes advantage of all relevant information in the data file, including all alphanumeric (text) values that can be used for labeling graphs (categories, subsets, individual observations, etc.), including their in-cell formats and special attributes. Also, facilities are provided to use values from any variable (or case names) as labels for data points, categories, or subsets in all graphs. When graphs are linked to their respective datasets, not only numeric data values, but also text values, labels, titles, etc., derived from the original dataset can be automatically updated when the source dataset changes.

Graph Customization

3D Surface Plot customization graph graphicsPractically every detail of the appearance of the graph (hundreds of specifications) can be controlled by the user and accessed directly from the screen (see the following topics on Mouse support), including the location, style and length of minor tick marks to the overall proportions of the graph, and its position on the page. The adjustments can be performed with a minimum number of mouse clicks or keystrokes (see the section on Shortcuts), and they also can be converted into permanent defaults for the particular type of graph (default "style sheets"); libraries of such graph styles can be maintained (see the section on Configuration).

Comprehensive facilities to control the sizes and patterns of all graph components are provided. The line width and marker sizes can be adjusted in fractions of a point (1/4 of a point is 1/288 of an inch). These size control facilities can be globally and interactively adjusted by controlling the graph mapping options (that is, the manner in which the metric of user settings for sizes of objects gets transformed into physical sizes of the respective objects in the display or printout).

In addition to large selections of predefined patterns (e.g., 32 predefined fill patterns), unique facilities are provided to custom design two-color styles of line-patterns, point marker patterns, and fill patterns (e.g., a navy blue circle-shaped point marker with a gray inside fill pattern or a dotted line consisting of red and blue dots). Specialized predefined (default) color palettes are provided for particular graph components. Moreover, flexible facilities are provided to custom design new palettes using unlimited numbers of colors as supported by the current device.

Scales

Polar Plot, Scatterplot, Regression graph graphicA large number of options enable the user to control every aspect of the scales. For example, support is provided for multiple (parallel) scales. Scales can feature multiple (true) scale breaks that can be used to "compress" specified segments of the display. Scale values can be placed at arbitrary locations, and their format can be controlled using a selection of options.

Moreover, facilities are provided to automate tedious aspects of scale definitions; for example, date scale values can be created automatically, STATISTICA can be instructed to display only every n'th scale value, and specific aspects of the scale definitions can be automatically transferred to the opposite scale or to all scales. Note that all those graph customization, drawing, object management, etc. facilities are fully supported in STATISTICA Visual Basic.

Interactive Scaling

You can directly interact with the scaling on the graph by hovering the mouse pointer about the axis labels toward the end of the axis and pulling left or right to change the scaling. Interactive scaling in a powerful graphical exploratory technique that enables you to reveal hidden trends by stretching or compressing the desired parts of the display. Similarly, Interactive panning allows you to pan to the right or left by hovering the mouse pointer above the axis labels toward the center of the axis.

Interactive ScalingInteractive scaling

The Comprehensive System for Managing Graph Styles

Scatter Pie Chart Graph GraphicsOne of the general strengths of the graph customization facilities in STATISTICA are the options to automate and speed up repeated custom operations. Practically all types of customizations can be saved in form of custom styles (with arbitrary names), and any of these styles can also serve as global or local defaults; this applies to hundreds of specifications.

For example, even each of the drawing tools can be customized to avoid repeated adjustments (e.g., sizes, colors, patterns, scaling, locking); complete definitions of individual scales (e.g., with custom positioned scale values with special subscript formatting and bold prefixes, patterns, formats, breaks, etc.) or complete sets of all scales (for a graph) can be saved as reusable templates or copied and pasted via the Clipboard as custom objects.

Custom definitions of surface or contour levels (with specific value ranges, patterns, colors, palettes, etc.) can be saved as reusable templates. More global sets of specifications (new, partial, or complete graph styles) can be saved as menu or toolbar options (see the section on Shortcuts). Also, custom selections of specific graph customizations can also be converted into "single-click shortcuts" by storing them as macros (either recorded or edited) and assigning them to buttons on local or global toolbars. Moreover, custom types of graph customizations can also be defined (and assigned to buttons) using STATISTICA Visual Basic.

Mouse Support

categorized 3D graph graphicsComprehensive Left mouse-button support

All graph customization options can be accessed directly from the display by clicking on the respective graph components or objects. Unlike right-clicking (which displays a menu of all relevant customization dialogs for the object, see the next topic), a double-click with the Left mouse button directly brings up the most commonly used customization dialog for the object (see the illustration). A single-click with the Left mouse button will select (i.e., highlight) a graphic object to be modified (e.g., dragged, resized, rotated, see below). A single-click on a data point will select (highlight) all data points that belong to the current series, such as subsets of data in multiple or multiple-subset scatterplots (see the topic on Graphics technology). Other operations that can be performed with the Left mouse button include drawing, embedding, unlocking objects, zooming, various types of brushing, scrolling graph magnifications, rotating text, etc. The mouse can also be used in all graphs to select the respective data series (or display the local Graph Data Editor containing the data values; this option is supported for all graphs, even those that display derived or computed data, e.g., probability plots).

categorized scatterplot overlaid graph graphicsComprehensive Right mouse-button support

As everywhere else in STATISTICA (e.g., spreadsheets), right-clicking on an object will display a shortcut menu of all available categories of operations that can be performed on the selected graph component or object (see the illustration). This facility allows you to avoid going through hierarchies (multiple levels) of dialogs by making the complete list of all last-order dialogs available directly.

If you right-click outside any specific objects or graph components, a global shortcut menu for the graph will be displayed when you can select from among several global options.

categorized scatterplot precision editing graph graphicsSmoothness and precision of dragging, brushing, drawing, etc.

As mentioned before, the mouse is used in STATISTICA to perform a variety of interactive operations on graphic objects (such as dragging, proportional and nonproportional resizing, realigning, rotating, stretching, selecting/highlighting, zooming, drawing, etc.). The technology supporting all of these operations in STATISTICAensures "smooth" and precise graph-customizations and adjustments.

All of them can also be performed in zoom mode (see below) to further increase the precision. Custom resolution-enhancement redrawing procedures are used to deliver clean and precise outcomes regardless of the size and proportions of the window, the degree of magnification (zoom), or the graph mapping mode.

Also, keyboard keys can be used to emulate the interactive mouse operations on highlighted objects, and when the Ctrl key is pressed, the movement can be performed in the smallest increments supported on the current device (one pixel).

User-Interface Shortcuts

3D scatterplot graph graphicsGraph creation

The number of mouse clicks normally required to produce even elaborate and customized graphs is reduced to the very minimum. However, the necessary user input can be reduced and simplified even further by:

  • defining new, complete graph types and adding them permanently to the menu or assigning them to buttons on toolbars or to shortcut keys (both options are illustrated in the screen at left);
  • using the internal batch processing facility (which enables you to create and automatically print, save, or insert into a report, long sequences of graphs, e.g., the same type of graph for each variable in a long list of variables);
  • using recorded and/or edited macros to create specific graphs (which can then be assigned to buttons on the global or local toolbars or to shortcut keys);
  • specifying graphs via the STATISTICA Visual Basic language; this can include even long sequences of highly customized graphs, compound graphs, custom drawings, diagrams, or other displays connected to data or interactively controlled by user-defined input; these custom graphics procedures can also be assigned to buttons on the global or local floating toolbars (see the illustration at left) or to shortcut keys;

3D histogram graph graphicsGraph customization

The appearance of even the default graphs in STATISTICA is very refined and, thus, the graphs are defined by hundreds of settings. The layout and appearance of each of these graph components can be independently customized. The number of mouse clicks normally required to produce even elaborate customizations of graphs is reduced to the very minimum. However, the necessary user input can be simplified even further by:

  • using predefined toolbar buttons offering direct ("single-click") access to a variety of global operations, such as zoom, plot region, margins, proportions, mapping mode, or simultaneous proportional resizing of all fonts, markers, etc., in the current graph and/or all fonts, markers, etc., in embedded graphs;
  • using the predefined system shortcut keys and other keyboard shortcuts;
  • using the user-defined system of styles (mentioned above) to adjust the permanent global or local defaults; libraries of such custom styles and default styles can be maintained;
  • merging graphs, which offers another way to transfer all customizations from one graph to another;
  • creating reusable objects/templates/styles from specific parts of a respective graph (e.g., all scale definitions including custom-formatted scale values, etc.; all definitions of levels and shading in a surface plot or contour plot);
  • defining new, customized graph types and adding them permanently to the menu or assigning them to buttons on the global or local floating toolbars (see illustration at left) or shortcut keys;
  • using recorded and/or edited macros to define specific types of graph customizations (which can then be assigned to buttons on the global or local floating toolbars or to shortcut keys);
  • specifying new graph customizations in the STATISTICA Visual Basic language; this can include customizations of compound graphs, custom drawings, or diagrams; the customizations can be interactively controlled by user-defined input entered into dialog boxes defined with theSTATISTICA Visual Basic interactive dialog editor; these custom-defined graph customizations (e.g., placing a text label "xyz" rotated by 25° at a specified position in the graph) can be assigned to buttons on the global or local toolbars (or to shortcut keys) to create sets of custom-defined customizations.

Pareto chart multiple graphs graphicsCreating multigraphics displays (AutoLayout Wizard)

An often tedious task when creating complex multigraphics displays is to precisely arrange multiple graphs or objects on one page or slide, and to adjust their scaling. One of STATISTICA's Wizard facilities (the AutoLayout Wizard, see the illustration) was designed to simplify this task and to accomplish it for you with a minimum number of mouse actions. You can select saved or unsaved graphs from all currently open STATISTICA modules, or files saved to the disk.

Then pick up a layout from a gallery of preselected layouts (suggested by STATISTICA depending on the number of objects you have selected, see the illustration at left); at this point, you can take advantage of facilities to adjust scaling, margins, auto titles, footnotes, etc. Now, when you click OK, STATISTICA will create perfectly aligned and proportioned artwork. Custom "menus" of layouts created with the help of this Wizard can be placed on toolbars for repeated use (via "single-click" access).

Graphic Text Editor

graph text scatterplot graphicsPractically unlimited amounts of text (including long reports with embedded graphs) can be inserted into STATISTICA graphs as active ActiveX/OLE objects, metafiles, or as text. An integrated, WYSIWYG graphic text editor can be used to create even highly customized text and labels. The editor includes its own specialized toolbars and offers not only the standard text formatting features (complete font control, text justification, borders, background, etc.) but also options to insert symbols from any character set (e.g., Greek letters).

Options are provided to insert auto-updatable fields including text of specific equations fitted to the data, legend symbols for specific plots within the graph, levels for contour lines and areas (shading), etc.; this facility enables you to set up custom auto-updatable legends and lists of functions (e.g., for categorized graphs or graphs with multiple plots). The anchor point can be adjusted independently of the text justification (e.g., text centered within its box can be anchored by its lower-right corner) and tools are provided to rotate the text in 1o increments, either by specifying the angle or by rotating the text interactively on the screen (when you are rotating the text interactively by dragging its corner on the screen, the current rotation angle is displayed in the toolbar show field).

Configuration, User Preferences

Graph Graphics customization customizeAs mentioned before, by using the flexible system of styles, practically all graph customization settings can become permanent program defaults (global or local, for a specific project) that will affect new graphs. This applies not only to sizes, colors, patterns, styles, backgrounds, scales, fonts, titles, etc. of almost countless specific graph components, but also to such global features as the way in which graphs are scaled and mapped into the plot region, the margins within graph windows, window proportions, etc. As mentioned before, in order to facilitate the set-up of desired configurations of graph defaults, options are provided to automatically "copy" all the settings from the current active graph into a style, and then they can be modified further or saved as selectable templates into your library of alternative graph styles.

Drawing, On-Screen Customization

histogram graph graphic drawingUnlimited numbers of objects can be added to every graph via an extensive selection of linking and embedding facilities and a comprehensive set of on-screen drawing tools is available at any point while viewing graphs. The tools include elementary objects such as lines, rectangles, polygons, ovals, rounded rectangles, arcs, etc., as well as specialized facilities such as free-hand drawing tools producing editable objects, user-defined styles of arrows (of practically unlimited shapes and styles), a user-defined "error bar" tool, and a flexible WYSIWYG text editor supporting multi-line text and special formatting options (see the Graphic text editor topic above).

All drawn or imported graphic objects remain "active" and modifiable and you can always customize them in a variety of ways. All objects can be interactively resized, repositioned, or dynamically related to particular graph locations. Also, you can change colors of objects, their line patterns, fill patterns, line widths, and backgrounds, place frames around them, attach labels, etc. All custom editing, pattern, and size selection facilities offered by STATISTICA (see the Graph customization topic, above) can be applied to STATISTICA'scustom graphic objects.

Many special, CAD-style drawing and object manipulation facilities are provided for precise analytic or presentation effects. For example, STATISTICA graphic objects can be proportionately resized or, stretched in one direction, or their shapes can be custom-edited by adjusting individual micro-segments (curve-components) of the already finished free-hand drawings (e.g., if a free-hand drawing has the shape of an apple, you can "pull-in" its sides to make it look more like a pear). The micro-adjustments can be performed in zoom mode (see below).

The Clipboard can be used to facilitate drawing and to build compound objects; special internal Clipboard representations are supported to copy complex object structures in a way that is transparent for the user. One click of the mouse on a toolbar button will allow you to adjust the default "redraw order" for every custom graphic object (e.g., to pull a hidden object to the front); this also allows you to achieve special presentation effects (e.g., you can experiment with adding different full or partial backgrounds to an existing graph) or to meet special analytic goals (e.g., you can insert a component of one graph "underneath" another for graph comparisons).

The selection of these and other facilities of the STATISTICA drawing system (see below) was designed to make sure that you will never need a "designated presentation graphics" or "diagram-drawing" program.

Drawing in Zoom Mode, Special Mouse Actions, Alignment of Objects, Customized "Snap-to-Grid"

graph graphic drawing zoom allignmentDrawing and manipulating objects on the screen and changing their styles and attributes is as easy as moving the mouse. The shortcut menus associated with objects (and invoked by right-clicking on the object) speed up the access to specific customization facilities. At any point of drawing or creating technical diagrams, you can switch to the zoom mode and draw "under a magnifying glass" to achieve superior precision and gain access to small details.

You can also switch to the scroll graph area in zoom mode and effectively examine the graph under a magnifying glass (or perhaps we should say, a microscope). You can interactively stretch not only the entire graph (while optionally maintaining its proportions), but also selectively add space in any of the margins (e.g., for embedded objects, comments, etc.) by using another area adjustment tool (accessible by clicking a button on the toolbar). Facilities are provided to precisely align objects (in fixed window coordinates or dynamic graph scaling units); all graphic objects can be attached to specific graph or window coordinates.

Also, a user-defined, customizable "snap-to-grid" facility is provided and can be enabled/disabled via shortcut keys (the display of the actual alignment grid can also be toggled by pressing a shortcut key).

Quality of Graphical Displays, Resolution, Fonts

3D Histogram graph graphic metafileSTATISTICA offers the highest quality and precision of graphical output supported by the currently available hardware. In fact, the program internally generates all graphical displays at a higher resolution than what is available in existing output devices.

All scaleable fonts and symbol sets are supported in 3-dimensional displays, the fonts are transformed in the respective planes of the 3-dimensional space and according to the user-controlled 3D perspective (non-transformed fonts can also be selected); proprietary technology is used to achieve the highest quality of 3D transformations of fonts (see the illustration).

Also Postscript fonts can be used in graphs and transformed in 3D perspective. Every predefined category of graph features a separately designed set of size-coordinated and dynamically adjusted labels, titles, and legends, all of which can be easily resized and edited by the user.

Saving, Exporting Graphs

All graphs can be saved into active STATISTICA graphics documents (ActiveX objects) that can be placed on the web, embedded in other applications as active in-place editable objects, etc. They contain not only all the graphics components of the objects (including all their customizations, drawings, embedded objects, references to linked external files, links to raw datasets, etc.), but also all the respective datasets, thus allowing the user to continue interactive graphical data analysis (brushing, fitting, smoothing, rotating, editing of data, changing categorizations, selected subsets, etc., and all on-screen objects).

All graphs can also be saved into a variety of graphics file formats allowing you to exchange artwork with other graphics applications without using the Clipboard. Supported formats include JPG, PNG (a new version of GIF), Windows metafiles (WMF), device-independent bitmaps (BMP), Postscript files (EPS [print to]), and others.

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