PetroPlot, a plotting and
data management tool set for Microsoft Excel
Yongjun Su, Charles H. Langmuir
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Palisades, NY 10964
Paul D. Asimow
Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
California Institute of Technology M/C 170-25
Pasadena, CA 91125
Interpretation of geochemical data
requires visualization of increasingly large data sets in multiple
dimensions. Data are commonly archived
in spreadsheet format, and therefore efficient visualization tools within this
environment are necessary. PetroPlot is
a 4000-line software code written in Visual Basic for the spreadsheet program
Excel that automates petrologic plotting and data management tasks for large
amount of data. The major plotting
functions include: automation of large numbers of multi-series XY plots or
spider diagrams; re-plotting of any complex formatted diagram with multiple
series for any other axis parameters; and addition and removal of customized
labels for individual data points. Other functions include: assignment of
groups for samples based on multiple customized criteria; removal of
non-numeric values; calculation of averages/standard deviations; calculation of
correlation matrices; deletion of non-consecutive rows; and compilation of
multiple rows of data for a single sample to single rows appropriate for
plotting. For users of Excel, PetroPlot increases efficiency of data
manipulation and visualization by orders of magnitude, and allows exploration
of large data sets that would not be possible making plots individually. The
source codes are open to all users.
Keywords: Excel, plot, data-management, tool
Read full paper =>
PetroPlot runs on both PC and Mac, with Excel 97 (Office 97) or higher.
1999-2002, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University
May be redistributed for free, but may not be sold without the author's explicit permission.
All files are provided "AS IS", with NO WARRANTY
Comments & suggestions are welcome. (contact us)
Right-click (PC) or CTRL-click (Mac) to download: PetroPlot.zip (Zip format, 964K)
To unzip, use WinZip (PC)
or MacZip (Mac)
or StuffIt (PC & Mac)
(The development of the PetroPlot tutorial package is inspired by Professor
Dennis Geist, professor Bill White, and Professor David Christie)
- Q: How to move a chart from embeded object inside a worksheet into a seperate chart sheet?
A: Click Excel menu: Chart --> Location
- Q: Most people, including myself, would like multiple panels in a single figure when preparing publications.
Can you make XY plots with fixed PLOT area (vs. fixed CHART area)?
A: We have tried a variety of ways, but couldn't get a fixed Plot area.
We'll continue to investigate the possibility. If you know any infomation about it, please contact us.
- Q: When making log scale XY plots, the default minimum and maximum values on axes are fixed
to 10’s and 10th – i.e., 0.001, 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10, 100, 1000 etc. ?
Is it possible that maximum and minimum on an axis can be of any values, say, 0.2, 0.6, 20, 40, 200 etc?
A: We couldn't get flexible scales on a real log scale axis.
However, we manage to label a linear-axis using log scale.
Please try our "Label Log Scale" function
- Q: I made an XY chart, why did PetroPlot tell me it's not an XY Scatter?
A: Mostly likely you added some lines to connect the points. Read more...
- Q: PetroPlot used to have "Remove Data Label" function, why is that gone? How do I remove labels?
A: To remove labels for a series in a chart, simply select the labels, and hit the "Delete" button on you keyboard.
Since it's an easy operation, we deleted the "Remove Data Label" function.
- Q: I have always found it useful to leave the first 2 lines of each spreadsheet for titles and information about the contents.
I encourage the authors to consider a modification to this effect.
A: Though the examples we provided put header on the first line, and data start from the second line,
PetroPlot doesn't reserve the second line for data. You can certainly put more info lines on the top of a worksheet.
PetroPlot does reserve the first line to be column header
Q: Even more useful would be giving the user the option of specifying which line contains the column headings.
A: We consider this as a good suggestion, and will implement it in the next generation of PetroPlot software.
- Q: The biggest change that I would like to see concerns the “Change XY” routine.
At present, this routine works for only one plot at a time.
It would be really useful to combine the rapid multi-plot functionality
of “Multi XY Plots” with the ability to use a template to specify the symbols used.
A: Excellent idea. We'll consider it for PetroPlot2.0.
Last modified 05/15/2002, Yong Jun Su
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