XY Chart Improvements For Scientific Data


P

Phil Preen

Excel seems to have been primarily designed for accountants but it is also
useful for handling scientific results. Unfortunately the graphing side is
missing a number of important features. It would be useful to know, whether
any of these features are going to be included in the next release of Office.
Is there a feature list available yet?

1) Point and Click Scaling
It is a real pain having to go and type numbers in to change the scale
limits. Often you just want to zoom in on an area. There are several ways
this could be done, either a simple point and click to zoom in; or allow user
to define a rectangular area by dragging out a rectangle with the mouse; or
by placing two cursors on an axis to redefine the end points.
Also when you change the scale on the x-axis, it would be extremely useful
to have an option to autoscale the y-axes, ignoring the data where the x
value is outside the new limits.

2) 3rd and 4th axes
Often you have more than two quantities that you want to display on one XY
chart against the same x-axis. Why does Excel limit the number of y axes to
2? There is enough room for 4 axes by using both sides of each axis line for
the axes labels. Alternatively there is no reason why further y axes couldn't
be added at any arbitrary point on the x-axis, they don't have to be at the
ends.
It would also be nice if the axis colour could optionally be linked to the
series colour (obviously this would only work if the colour for every series
on the axis was the same).

3) Scaling of Date/Time Axis
When you have an axis displaying data formatted as a date or time, and you
choose to alter the scale limits, the values are displayed as a decimal
number rather than in the correct format. You can actually type in a
date/time value, but it is not obvious that you can do this. (same applies to
scientific format data).
Note also that the auto-scaling for the minimum value in logarithmic mode
doesn't work (it always sets it to 1, this is probably just a bug or lazy
programming).

4) Units conversion
I know you can do this with formulae and calculating new columns, but it
would be very nice to have a built in system for specifying what units values
were stored in. It would then be possible to have an option on a chart to
change the units, e.g. from miles per hour to meters per second or days to
minutes, etc...

----------------
This post is a suggestion for Microsoft, and Microsoft responds to the
suggestions with the most votes. To vote for this suggestion, click the "I
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http://www.microsoft.com/office/com...90f1e82524&dg=microsoft.public.excel.charting
 
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E

Ed Ferrero

Hi Phil,

A number of people have written workarounds for your issues. See below.
Excel seems to have been primarily designed for accountants but it is also
useful for handling scientific results. Unfortunately the graphing side is
missing a number of important features. It would be useful to know,
whether
any of these features are going to be included in the next release of
Office.
Is there a feature list available yet?

1) Point and Click Scaling
It is a real pain having to go and type numbers in to change the scale
limits. Often you just want to zoom in on an area. There are several ways
this could be done, either a simple point and click to zoom in; or allow
user
to define a rectangular area by dragging out a rectangle with the mouse;
or
by placing two cursors on an axis to redefine the end points.
Also when you change the scale on the x-axis, it would be extremely useful
to have an option to autoscale the y-axes, ignoring the data where the x
value is outside the new limits.

Check out Zoom Charts at http://edferrero.m6.net/charting.aspx
2) 3rd and 4th axes
Often you have more than two quantities that you want to display on one XY
chart against the same x-axis. Why does Excel limit the number of y axes
to
2? There is enough room for 4 axes by using both sides of each axis line
for
the axes labels. Alternatively there is no reason why further y axes
couldn't
be added at any arbitrary point on the x-axis, they don't have to be at
the
ends.
It would also be nice if the axis colour could optionally be linked to the
series colour (obviously this would only work if the colour for every
series
on the axis was the same).

See Jon Peltier's Tertiary Y-Axis at
http://peltiertech.com/Excel/Charts/TertiaryAxis.html


Ed Ferrero
http://edferrero.m6.net/
 
P

Phil Preen

A number of people have written workarounds for your issues. See below.

Which just goes to prove that these things are needed. I was dissapointed
when these long overdue features weren't included in Office 2003. Can anyone
from Microsoft comment on whether these issues will be addressed in Office
2005?
Thanks for the links, I shall check them out.

Phil.
 
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J

Jon Peltier

If Microsoft introduced such features, it would put developers like Ed and me out of
work. The nice thing about Excel is that they made it flexible enough that you could
work around it.

- Jon
-------
Jon Peltier, Microsoft Excel MVP
Peltier Technical Services
Tutorials and Custom Solutions
http://PeltierTech.com/
_______
 

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