Tips for New SigmaPlot Users

 

Thank you for trying SigmaPlot, the world’s premier graphing and analysis program for Windows. We have prepared some tips for new users so that they may get more aquainted with the many features and benefits of using SigmaPlot:

 

User Tip #1 - Adding and Removing Commands From The Quick Access Toolbar

Tip #1 – Quick Access Toolbar

Frequently used user-specific controls may be added to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). Most controls in SigmaPlot 11 are located in Graph Properties which requires multiple mouse clicks to access. Placing controls in the SigmaPlot 12 QAT gives immediate access with one mouse click.

Three controls have been added to the QAT in the image below.?From right to left is the Save button which saves your work with one click. The Modify Plot button is next.

You click on a plot in the graph to modify and then click this button to change plot columns, change the plot type, etc. Next is the Close All button which with one click will close all windows enabling quick workspace cleanup.

You can add an object by right clicking on the object and selecting Add to Quick Access Toolbar. This is shown below for Modify Plot.

Remove an object from QAT by right clicking on that object and selecting “Remove from Quick Access Toolbar”.


User Tip #2 - Dragging the Page

Tip #2 – Dragging the Page

SigmaPlot 11 and prior versions required you to use the vertical and horizontal sliders to move the page in its window. It was like using an Etch-A-Sketch to draw which can be difficult. The “hand” cursor has been added to SigmaPlot 12 which is used to easily drag the page within the application. The hand cursor icon is located on the Status Bar.

It toggles on and off when you click it allowing you to drag the page in any direction.

Pressing and holding the spacebar will also turn on the hand cursor. This provides a quick and easy way to display the hand to drag the page.


User Tip #3 - Multiple Zoom Methods in SigmaPlot

Tip #3 – Multiple Zoom Methods

There are five methods for zooming windows and some or all will work on the graph page, the worksheet or a report. They are shown on the status bar

from left to right:

Custom zoom magnifying glass
Zoom level dialog
10% zoom level buttons
Zoom slider

The custom zoom allows you to encompass with the mouse the specific region to view.

The zoom level dialog provides both specific and custom zoom levels.

The 10% zoom level buttons increase or decrease the zoom in 10% steps.

Much larger zoom changes may be made with the zoom slider. You can drag the zoom slider indicator or click to either side of it to effect different zoom levels.

There are keyboard zoom levels also:

Ctrl-F Fit the page in the window
Ctrl-5 50% zoom
Ctrl-1 100% zoom
Ctrl-2 200% zoom
Ctrl-4 400% zoom


User Tip #4 - Gain Window Real Estate by Using AutoHide in SigmaPlot

Tip #4 – Gain Window Real Estate by using AutoHide

The addition of the Property Browser gives access to all the graph properties but it occupies an additional region of space in the SigmaPlot window.?This can make it difficult to see multiple columns in the worksheet and items in your graph.? AutoHide is a feature that allows the dynamic display of windows such as the Property Browser and the Notebook Manager.

When AutoHide is on for the Property Browser you can open the Property Browser window and make changes but when you click outside it, it will close thus regaining the space it occupied.

Here is an example. Click the pushpin in the upper right corner of the Property Browser so that it is unpinned (horizontal).?The Property Browser is now in AutoHide mode and the browser window will close.

If you are making changes to many properties it is recommended that you turn AutoHide off.?But for only a few changes here is the procedure to use when AutoHide is on. Let?s say you want to reduce the plot symbol size.? Click a symbol to select the object.

Then click the Property Browser button (orange vertical) to open it to change the symbol size.?Since you clicked on the symbol, the Symbols object is highlighted and its properties are displayed. Click to the left of the symbol size slider to reduce its size.

Click outside the Property Browser to close it thus regaining the window space.


User Tip #5 - Gain Window Real Estate by Minimizing the Ribbon in SigmaPlot

Tip #5 – Gain Window Real Estate by Minimizing the Ribbon

Sometimes you want to increase the space available in the SigmaPlot window. You might, for example, want to obtain a screen capture at the highest possible zoom to capture the details of a graph. You can minimize the ribbon to do this. Here is the increase in vertical space (in this case) when the ribbon is minimized.

Full Ribbon

Minimized Ribbon

To minimize the ribbon right click in the ribbon area and select Minimize the Ribbon.

Repeat the process to restore the ribbon.

This procedure keeps the ribbon minimized. You can temporarily open the ribbon by clicking on the appropriate tab, performing whatever procedure you want and then closing the ribbon by clicking outside it.

If you want to minimize the ribbon temporarily you can double click on a tab.? This will minimize the ribbon. When minimized, double click again on any tab name to restore the ribbon.


User Tip #6 - Using Guide Diamonds to Dock Windows in SigmaPlot

Tip #6 – Using Guide Diamonds to Dock Windows

The windows (Property Browser, Notebook Manager, etc.) in SigmaPlot 12 may be docked or floating. By default the Notebook Manager is docked to the left side and the Property Browser is docked to the right. You can move the window by left clicking and selecting the title bar with the mouse.

The Property Browser has been moved slightly to the left below (the SigmaPlot window has been reduced in size horizontally for better presentation). The Property Browser window is now floating. Five guide diamonds are shown one each for the edges of the window and a center one with four arrows pointing to the four edges. If you release the mouse button now then the Property Browser will float.

If you move the Property Browser window so that the mouse pointer coincides with any of the arrows in the guide diamonds then the Property Browser window will be docked according to the direction of the arrow.

In this case the mouse pointer is positioned over the left side arrow so that when released the Property Browser will be docked on the left side along with the Notebook Manager.

The Property Browser docked on the left side adjacent to the Notebook Manager is shown below.

You can also superimpose windows by docking them on top of each other. In the following figure the Property Browser has been moved further to the left and the guide diamond now has a tabbed icon in its center indicating that the two windows will now be superimposed and tabbed.


Placing the mouse cursor over the tabbed icon and releasing the mouse button shows the two tabbed windows. The Property Browser tab is selected in the left image and the Notebook Manager in the right.

Property Browser Tab Selected Notebook Manager Tab Selected

You can undock the two tabbed windows by selecting one of the tabs with the mouse and moving the window away.


User Tip #7 - Using Curve Fitting and Regression in SigmaPlot

Tip #7 — Tips on Using Curve Fitting and Regression

Curve fitting is finding a curve which matches a series of data points and possibly other constraints. It is most often used by scientists and engineers to visualize and plot the curve that best describes the shape and behavior of their data.

Regression procedures find an association between independent and dependent variables that, when graphed, produces a straight line, plane or curve.

The independent variables are the known, or predictor, variables. These are most often your X-axis values. The dependent variables are also called as response variables and are most often your Y-axis values.

Regression finds the equation that most closely describes, or fits, the actual data, using the values of one or more independent variables to predict the value of a dependent variable. The resulting equation can then be plotted over the original data to produce a curve that fits the data.

Dynamic Curve Fitting

Nonlinear curve fitting is an iterative process that may converge to find a best possible solution. It begins with a guess at the parameters, checks to see how well the equation fits, the continues to make better guesses until the differences between the residual sum of squares no longer decreases significantly. For complicated curve fitting problems, use SigmaPlot´s Dynamic Fit Wizard to find the best solution.

The Dynamic Fit Wizard automates the search for initial parameter values that lead to convergence to the best possible solution. It offers you to select either an automatic or an user-defined initial parameter range. Like the Regression Wizard, the Dynamic Fit Wizard is a step-by-step guide through the curve fitting procedures, but with an additional panel in which you set the search options (in the figure below).

Please note that the Dynamic Fit Wizard is especially useful for more difficult curve fitting problems with three or more parameters and possibly a large amount of variability in the data points. For linear regressions or less difficult problems, such as simple exponential two parameter fits, using the Dynamic Fit Wizard might be overkill and you should probably be using the Regression Wizard instead.


User Tip #8 - Minimizing the User Interface Ribbon in SigmaPlot

Tip #8 – Minimizing the User Interface Ribbon

Sometimes you want to increase the space available in the SigmaPlot window. You might, for example, want to obtain a screen capture at the highest possible zoom to capture the details of a graph. You can minimize the ribbon to do this. Here is the increase in vertical space (in this case) when the ribbon is minimized.

Full Ribbon

Minimized Ribbon

To minimize the ribbon right click in the ribbon area and select Minimize the Ribbon.

Repeat the process to restore the ribbon.

This procedure keeps the ribbon minimized. You can temporarily open the ribbon by clicking on the appropriate tab, performing whatever procedure you want and then closing the ribbon by clicking outside it.

If you want to minimize the ribbon temporarily you can double click on a tab. This will minimize the ribbon. When minimized, double click again on any tab name to restore the ribbon to full size.


User Tip #9 - Bubble Plots, Adjusting Bubble Sizes in SigmaPlot

Tip # 9 — Bubble Plots, Adjusting Bubble Sizes

Bubble plots are XY scatter plots that use symbols to represent not only XY locations, but also a third dimension represented by the size of the symbol

To create the above bubble plot and to adjust the bubble sizes, please follow the steps below.

1. Enter the data as shown below.

2. Click on the “Create Graph” tab / Bubble Plot / XY Pair / then click “Next”

3. Select X = column 1, Select Y = column 2, and select Bubble Size = column 3 then click on “Finish”

4. Repeat step 2 and 3 above to add new graph

5. Click on “Graph Page” tab / Arrange Graphs /

6. Select 2 up, 3″ x 3″ and then click on “Apply/Close”

7. Navigate to the Graph Properties via clicking on the “Home” tab / Graph Properties (or double click on the graph itself)

8. To adjust the bubble sizes, first select the desired plot from the drop down, then click on Symbols and then drag the slider or click on the drop down and select column 5



User Tip #10 - Splitting Groups of Data from One Column in SigmaPlot

Tip # 10 — Splitting Groups of Data from One Column

To split a data column with data from different groups please follow the steps below.

1. Enter the data as shown below for columns 1 and 2.

Results of column 1 and column 2 will be split into columns 4, 5, and 6 because of 3 levels associated with the factor described in column 1 with corresponding data in column 2.

2. Click on Analysis tab >> Statistical >> Unindex >> One Way

3. Select Factor = column 1, Select Data = column 2, and select Output = column 4 then click on “Finish”.

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