Formatted SigmaPlot Graphs for Submission to the FDA


The Task

Your Technical Publications Department requires you to submit SigmaPlot graphs to them in a specific format. They insist on returning them to you if you don’t do so. Their reasons are obvious. They want a consistent presentation to the FDA and they don’t want to do it for every graph you give to them. SigmaPlot has been called “a true wysiwyg application” (what you see is what you get); so what is the procedure for creating the specific format that the publications people want?

Specifically the technical publications department wants:

  • The graph and any of its attributes (title, legend) to fit within pre-specified margins in Microsoft Word
  • The fonts to be 9 point

One approach would be to shrink the dimensions of the graph to fit within the margins. But this will change the font size that conflicts the font size specification. If by iteration you do manage to get the font to be the correct size and the graph to fit in the rectangle then do you have to fiddle with font sizes and graph dimensions for each graph you create? The answer is no and the solution is described below.

Page Margin Specifications

The page margins to be used in all documents submitted to the FDA are:

Portrait Mode Landscape Mode
Top 1.7 in 1.5 in
Bottom 1.0 in 1.0 in
Left 1.5 in 1.1 in
Right 1.0 in 1.0 in

The Solution

The solution is to use two features of SigmaPlot:

  • Create a SigmaPlot page template with margins
  • De-select the Graph Object Resize with Graph option

This will allow you to reduce the size of your graph without changing the font size and specify a graph size that will precisely fit within the page margins.

The following steps outline the procedure for accomplishing this task.

  • modify the portrait page template in SigmaPlot
  • create your graph and place it inside the margins of the portrait mode template
  • change all the fonts to one point size (if necessary)
  • deselect the option which proportionally changes font size as you change the graph size
  • copy and paste the graph into Word
  • increase the Word height and width magnification to 100%
  • in-place activate SigmaPlot to modify the graph size if necessary

Create the Graph

Open a notebook by clicking the Main Button, New, Notebook. You can also right click “All Notebooks” in the Notebook Manager and select: New, Notebook. Then right click on the notebook and select New, Graph Page. You can either create your graph from scratch using this page or, if you have previously created one, you can copy and paste the graph onto the page. If necessary, move and shrink the graph to fit within the page margins.

Change the Fonts to One Size

In some situations you might want all font sizes to be the same. And you want them to remain the same if you have to make small adjustments to the graph size. Choose Graph Page tab, Edit, Select All to select all objects on the graph page. Then select Graph Page tab, Text , Font Size and select the appropriate font size

Click OK and all fonts will be changed to the selected size. This may have some unwanted side effects like changing the tick label and super/subscript sizes. You will have to selectively modify these. The graph page below shows the graph positioned within the margins and all fonts changed to 9 pt.

Deselect the “Graph Object Resize with Graph” Option

Select Main Button, Options and then click on the Page tab. Deselect the “Graph Object Resize with Graph” checkbox. You may want to change the size of the graph after pasting it into Word and this will allow you to do this without affecting any font sizes.

Copy and Paste the Graph into Word

Copy the graph (use Graph Page tab, Edit, Select All and Edit, Copy or, if the graph components are grouped, right click on the graph and select Copy from the pop-up menu). Select or open Word and paste the graph onto the Word page. Depending on the size of the graph, Word may shrink it to fit on the page.

If this happens the font sizes will also be reduced. Check this by right clicking on the graph and selecting Format Object. Click the Size tab and change the Scale Height and Width to 100% and click Ok. The graph and text fonts will now match perfectly.

If you wish to change the graph size in Word double click on the graph to instantiate SigmaPlot. Then move a graph handle to change the graph size. The font size will remain the same. The graph shown below on a Word page has been reduced from the one shown above on the SigmaPlot page.

Modify the portrait page template

Using a page template in SigmaPlot and adjusting your graph to fit within the margins will guarantee that your graph fits within the specified margins in Word. After its creation, this template can be used repeatedly.

Open Template.jnt. It is located in your SigmaPlot folder that has the typical path C:\Program Files\SigmaPlot\SPW13.

Double click on the Normal template. This is the page template that is opened by default. Right click on the page and select Page Setup… Change the Margins to those required.

Select the Show Margins checkbox to display the margins on the page. Click Ok and save the Template.jnt file. Each new graph page will now display the margins that you have specified.

This procedure may also be used for the Landscape template.

Copy and paste the graph.

You may have graphs that you want to place on a page with the template margin lines. You do this by copying and pasting the graph page from one notebook to the graph page of the other.

Open the notebook and graph page with the graph you wish to copy. Select Edit, Select All ahd Edit, Copy

Now open a new notebook with a blank graph page containing the margin lines. Right click on the page and paste the copied graph. Move the graph as necessary to fit within the margin lines.

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