Create your own graph
Now you are ready to practice simple graphing on your own. Use the graphing tool at the bottom of this page to help you create your own graph. You simply have to follow the instructions below:
- Type the title of your graph in the Graph title space provided. You can enter up to 80 characters in this space.
For example, suppose that you wanted to create a bar graph depicting data from a survey on your classmates' favourite school subjects. You might title your graph "Favourite school subjects, by number of students."
- For a graph with x- and y-axis labels, fill in the labels in the X-axis heading and Y-axis heading spaces. You can use up to 30 characters in each of the category labels.
Using the same example, you would label your x-axis with the heading "School subjects" and your y-axis with the heading "Number of students."
Note: Leave the x-axis heading and x-axis category labels blank for box and whisker plots.
- In the X-axis category labels space, list the various categories that you want to appear on your x-axis or the category slices you want to appear on your pie chart. Type in one category per line. Use no punctuation between each category.
Using the same example, the categories could be "History, Algebra, Biology, English and Drama."
- Leave the space blank in the First data set – Legend heading box, unless you want to compare several types of data on one graph. If you fill in these spaces, then a legend will accompany your graph, showing viewers what each colour represents.
For example, if you decided to compare the boys' favourite subjects with the girls' favourite subjects, then you would type in "Boys" in the First data set – Legend heading box and "Girls" in the Second data set – Legend heading box. You may even wish to include a third data set showing the combined figures or total population of "Both boys and girls" favourite subjects.
- Beneath each Legend heading box is another box where you can add the percentages or figures belonging to each category. List each figure corresponding to the category labels in the X-axis category labels box.
Using the same example, beside "History", type in the number "35" for Boys and "27" for Girls. This means that 35 boys and 27 girls said that History was their favourite subject. Continue down the list until all figures are included.
Note: If you are making a pie chart, the numbers will be converted into percentages. If the numbers do not equal 100%, then the numbers will be converted to their equivalent percentage, so that all of the combined slices equal 100%.
- Select the colour you wish your data set to be from the pull-down list. If you are making a bar graph, then you will want to pick the colour of your bars. If you are making a group bar or line graph, be sure to use different colours for each data set. If you don't change the colours, then by default, the first data set will be in red, the second data set in blue and the third data set in green.
Note: Pie chart colours are automatically set by the program, and box and whisker plots use the same colour for all plots.
- Click on the boxes that apply to your graph. The Use origins (0,0) box is automatically set. However, if you do not want your graph to start from the point of origin and instead want it to start from your first data set, then click on the box to remove the checkmark. If you are making a pie chart, then click on the Show labels on pie chart box. If you want to show each plotted point on your graph, choose the Show plotted points on graph box.
- Select the type of graph you want to create from the pull-down list.
Note: Area graphs resemble line graphs. The points are plotted using a line. However, everything beneath the line is coloured in like bars on a bar graph. This particular graph shows how much area has been covered by the amount of space coloured in. This graph can be used to emphasize trends (sharp declines, flat plateaus, etc.) in the data.
- Press the Create graph button, and your graph should appear on screen. To view your data in different graph types, click the back button and change the graph type from the pull-down list.
Always bear in mind that when using this package that the y values are assumed to be numeric. Anything that is non-numeric is interpreted as 0. The x values are considered labels and therefore will appear as input. Except for box and whisker plots, make sure you enter the label for the X axis (i.e., years, months, days, occupations etc.). If you do not enter the text values in the X-axis your output will not be what you expect.
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