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11 Graphing


Creating a Graph

With Origin, you can create over 100 graph types with Origin's built-in graph templates. Each of these graphs has been specifically chosen for its applications in various technical fields. All plot types are accessible from the Plot menu, 2D Graphs and 3D and Contour Graphs toolbars. Graphs can be created from either data or from mathematical functions.

Creating most graphs involves just two steps.

  1. Select your data.
  2. Select the plot type.

Some Origin graph types have very specific data requirements. Other graphs can be created from multiple data arrangements. See the Notes in the Origin Graph Types table for specific requirements.

Creating Graphs from Worksheet Data

Origin's most generic graph types -- line, column/bar, pie -- plus a lot of the more specialized types, are created from worksheet data. The following quick tutorial demonstrates importing an ASCII data file and creating a simple graph.

Tutorial: One click to create graph with selected data

  1. Open a new workbook and select File: Import: Single ASCII... from the main menu.
  2. Choose the file Samples/Curve Fitting/Multiple Gaussians.dat and click Open.
  3. Now highlight columns B(Y), C(Y), D(Y) and E(Y) by clicking and dragging across the four column headings.
  4. Click the Line + Symbol button Button Line And Symbol.png on the 2D Graphs toolbar. A graph window is created with four line and symbol plots. Note that the plots differ by line color and by symbol type.
  5. Return to the worksheet, and again select columns B(Y), C(Y), D(Y) and E(Y).
  6. This time, select the Plot: Multi-Panel: 4 Panel menu item. Note that a very different plot is created using the same datasets.

We were able to quickly create two different graphs using the same data. The chapter Customizing Graphs discusses customizing graphs and saving templates in more depth.

We are also able to create 3D plot types from worksheet data. The following tutorial demonstrates creating a 3D surface plot, then overlaying it with a 3D scatter plot.

Tutorial: 3D Surface Plot from XYZ Data

  1. Create a new, empty workbook window and import the file \Samples\Matrix Conversion and Gridding\XYZ Random Gaussian.dat.
  2. Highlight column C and right click. Select Set As: Z from the fly-out menu.
  3. Select Plot: 3D Surface: Color Map Surface to create a 3D Colormap Surface plot.
  4. Select the Graph: Layer Contents... menu item or right click the layer icon on the left-top of the graph to open the Layer Contents dialog. In this dialog, click on drop-down next to the Plot type button.png button and select 3D Scatter/Trajectory/Vector from the fly-out menu.
  5. Select column C from the left panel and click on the Add Plot Add plot button.png button to add the 3D scatter plot to the graph. Click OK to close the dialog.
  6. Double-click on the plot to open the Plot Details dialog. In the left panel, expand the Layer1 node and then expand the 2nd node which represents the scatter plot. Click and select the branch named Original. Be sure to leave the node-level check box selected, otherwise this plot will be hidden.
  7. In the Symbol tab on the right side, set Shape to Ball, Size to 12 and Color to Color Mapping: Col(C).
  8. In the Drop Lines tab, clear the Parallel to Z Axis check box.
  9. Select Layer1 from the left panel of the Plot Details dialog. In the Lighting tab, under Mode, select Directional. Click OK to close the dialog.
  10. Click on the scatter plot in the graph to select this plot, then in the Style toolbar, click on the Button Palette.png button and select the Rainbow palette.

Your graph should look like this:
:Tutorial 3D Plotting08.png

You can hold down the R key on your keyboard and use the mouse to freely rotate the surface. With the pointer tool active, click on the layer for additional controls to move, stretch and rotate the surface.

Worksheet Column Plot Designations

The labels (X), (Y), (Z), etc. in column headings are referred to as the Column Plot Designation. Columns can also be designated as Label, Disregard, Y Error or X Error. Each plot type has its own data requirements and these work in concert with settings saved in the graph template, to quickly create a graph.

To set the Column Plot Designation, select a column or multiple columns, then from the menu choose Column: Set as:<option> or right click and choose an option from the Set As: context menu.

In the 1st tutorial above, we plotted 2D graphs, which require Y data. The Y data were automatically plotted against the X column data to their left. In 2nd tutorial, we plotted a 3D graph from Z data. The Z data were plotted against X and Y data columns to the left of the Z data column.

Note: For a complete explanation of Column Plot Designations and how they affect plotting behavior, consult the Origin Help file topic The Column Properties Dialog Box, Properties tab Settings.

Selecting Worksheet Data

There are a number of ways to select data for plotting:

  • Single column: Click on the column heading, e.g. B(Y)
  • Multiple columns: To select a few contiguous columns, click on the first column heading and drag the pointer to the last column heading. To select a large number of contiguous columns, click on the first column heading, use the scroll bar at the bottom of the worksheet to locate the last column, then press the SHIFT key and click on the last column heading. To select non-contiguous columns, press the CTRL key while clicking on the desired column heading.
  • A range in a column: Click on the first cell of the range and drag to the last cell of the range.
  • Multiple ranges within a column: Select one range. Press the CTRL key while selecting each range. When plotting, each range will be treated as a separate data plot in a plot group.
  • Ranges across multiple columns: If cells are contiguous, click on the first cell and drag to the last cell. If cells are not contiguous, press the CTRL key while selecting each range. Each range selection will be treated as a separate data plot in a plot group.
  • Range(s) across all columns: Click on the first row heading and drag to the last row heading, to select multiple rows. This will select data in all columns in the worksheet. Press the CTRL key while selecting row headings for non-contiguous rows. Each range selection will be treated as a separate data plot in a plot group.
  • Entire worksheet: Press CTRL+A to select the entire worksheet; or mouse over the bottom-right corner of the blank cell in the upper-left corner of the worksheet. When the pointer becomes a downward-pointing arrow, click to select the entire worksheet.

Creating a Graph from Matrix Data

As discussed in the Matrix Book, Matrix Sheets and Matrix Objects chapter, a matrix is a dataset of Z values arranged as an array of columns and rows which are linearly mapped to X (column) and Y (row) values. Matrix data is used to create 3D, contour and heatmap graphs -- all of which require require "3D" data. In earlier versions of Origin you had to have your data in a matrix to create such plot types but this is no longer the case (see discussion of the Virtual Matrix below). A few graph types such as a color-filled surface with error bars still require matrix data.

Note, however, that there are still many situations in which you will be creating 3D plots from matrix data. If you have data in worksheet form and you need to convert it into a matrix form, see Converting Worksheets to Matrixes.

Once your data are in a matrix form, plotting matrix data is simple: activate the matrix window then select your plot type using a Plot menu command or corresponding 3D and Contour Graphs toolbar button. Note that you cannot select a portion of the matrix when plotting 3D graphs. You can, however, choose a subset of the data plot to display once the graph is created. See Editing Plot Range in the Manipulating Data Plots section of this chapter.

The Virtual Matrix

Graphing Virtual Matrix DataPlotting Virtual Matrix Data The Virtual Matrix concept was covered in the Matrix Book, Matrix Sheet and Matrix Object chapter of this Guide. To recap, a virtual matrix is block of worksheet cells which contain Z values, with X and Y coordinates in the first row or column label row, and column. X and Y coordinates don't have to be evenly spaced and can even be in the form of text or date/time data.

When selecting and plotting virtual matrix data to 3D, Contour and Heatmap graph types, Column Plot Designations are ignored and a dialog box is opened where you designate your X and Y coordinates. The intersecting data points are then treated as Z values.

Tutorial: Contour Plot from Virtual Matrix

  1. With a new workbook active, use the File: Import: Import Wizard... menu to open the Import Wizard dialog.
  2. Press the browse button in the dialog and select the file Waterfall.dat from the Samples\Graphing subfolder.
  3. This file has an import filter already associated with it. Press the Finish button to import the file.
  4. With the workbook active, press CTRL+A to select the entire sheet.
  5. Now select the Plot: Contour/Heat Map: Contour - Color Fill menu item. The plotvm dialog will open.
  6. In the dialog, set the Y Values in drop-down to Column Label, and then set the Column Label drop-down to Excitation Wavelength(nm).
  7. Set the X Values in drop-down to 1st column in selection, then press OK to close this dialog.
  8. The contour plot will be created.
  9. Use the Graph: Speed Mode... menu item, then in the dialog that opens, set the Speed Mode drop-down to Off and press OK. This will turn off speed mode so that all data points are plotted (see the discussion of Speed Mode, below).
  10. Click on the contour plot to select this data plot, then from the Style toolbar, click the Palette button Button Palette.png and then select the Pumpkin Patch palette. Your graph should look similar to the image below:
GSB Graphing Contour.png

Once you customize your contour levels and colors, you can save your settings as a Theme, or simply copy-paste your customizations from one graph to another. To save a Theme, right-click on the graph and choose Save Format as Theme; or use the Colormap Theme controls on the Colormap/Contours tab of the Plot Details dialog box.

2D and 3D Function Plots

To create function plots and parametric function plots, select File: New: Function Plot menu. There are four options to choose from:

Type Function Form
2D Function Plot y = f(x)
2D Parametric Function Plot x = f1(t)
y = f2(t)
3D Function Plot z = f(x, y)
3D Parametric Function Plot x = f1(u, v)
y = f2(u, v)
z = f3(u, v)


These plot types are also accessible from the function plot buttons on the Standard toolbar.

Function Plots Buttons.png


Tutorial: 3D Function and 3D Parametric Function in Same Layer

  1. From the menu, choose File: New: Function Plot: 3D Parametric Function Plot...
  2. In the dialog that opens, click on the arrow button at the top right side of the dialog, and from the fly-out menu select the built-in example Partial Torus (System) and press OK to close the dialog. The function plot will be created.
  3. With the function plot window active, invoke the menu File: New: Function Plot: 3D Function Plot....
  4. In the dialog that opens, enter -5 and 5 for the From and To edit boxes for x and y scale.
  5. In the Z(x,y) edit box, enter 0.
  6. Set the drop-down at the bottom left corner of the dialog to Add to Active Graph and press OK to close dialog.
  7. The Z=0 plane will be added to the graph, and the plane will properly intersect the parametric surface plot. You can hold down the R key and use the mouse to freely rotate the plot.

GSB Graphing FuncPlot.png

  • Some function plot dialogs provide sample formulas. Click the arrow button beside Theme at the top of the dialog box to access them. You can download more examples at http://originlab.com/3dfunctions.
  • For 2D parametric, 3D, and 3D parametric function plots, data is generated when the function plot is created. To create data for 2D function plots, right-click the plot and choose Make dataset copy of Function or if on the Function tab in Plot Details, click the Workbook button.
  • Besides function plots, you can also create graphs with all built-in and user-defined nonlinear curve-fitting or surface-fitting functions. From the menu, choose Analysis: Fitting: Simulate Curve... or Simulate Surface.... You can even add noise to the plot. Corresponding data is created as well.

Plotting without Using Column Plot Designations

While Column Plot Designations remain an important concept, they are no longer required by many Origin graphing and analysis operations. The Plot Setup dialog box allows you to freely specify which column is used as X, Y, etc. when plotting, thereby overriding the Column Plot Designations.

In order to make full use of the Plot Setup dialog box, you need to have some familiarity with the hierarchy of objects contained in the Origin graph window.

Pages, Layers, Plots and the Active Plot

Layer Icon, Graph Each Origin graph window is comprised of a single, editable graph page. The graph page is defined by the white area inside the graph window. Anything that lies outside the page is not printed or exported. By default, the dimensions of the graph page are defined by the printable area of your default printer driver; without adjusting settings, a printed graph should fill the printed page.

The Graph Page-3B.png

The graph page must contain at least one, and may contain as many as 255, graph layers. In turn, each graph layer generally contains one or more data plots (graphical depictions of datasets). Note that the graph in the image above contains three graph layers, represented by the three non-printing layer icons in the upper-left corner of the graph page. Note that there is one layer icon which is highlighted, indicating the active layer. Just as there is only one active layer, there is only one active plot in a graph. Usually, the active plot is the first plot in the active layer. To verify which plot is active, click on the Data menu while the graph is active. The active plot will have a check mark beside it.

Active dataset data menu.png


The hierarchical structure of the graph page can be seen in these places:

  • The Plot Details Dialog Box (Format: Page Properties ...)
  • The Object Manager (View: Object Manager)
  • The Plot Setup Dialog Box (Graph: Plot Setup...)


Page structure dialogs 2.png

The Plot Setup Dialog Box

The Plot Setup dialog box is a flexible all-in-one plotting tool for creating graphs and manipulating the data plots in an existing graph.

  • Creating graphs without regard to Column Plot Designations
  • Creating graphs from a combination of data sources: multiple worksheets, workbooks, matrix books, loose datasets, etc.
  • Creating graphs combining multiple plot types.
  • Adding, removing, replacing data plots.
  • Grouping or ungrouping data plots.
  • Reordering data plots in a layer or moving data plots to another layer.

Plot-setup entire2.png

To create a graph with the Plot Setup dialog, make sure no data is selected in the active worksheet and choose the plot type.

To open the Plot Setup dialog for an existing graph window, right-click on any layer icon in the upper left corner of the graph window and select Plot Setup..., or choose menu Graph: Plot Setup....


Tutorial: Creating a Simple Line Plot with the Plot Setup Dialog Box

  1. Click the New Workbook button on the Standard toolbar.
  2. Click File: Import: Single ASCII, browse to the Origin installation folder and import the file \Samples\Curve Fitting\Step01.dat. Starting from column B, columns are actually paired - X data and Y data -- but by default all columns are assigned a "Y" Column Plot Designation on import.
  3. Without selecting any data, click Plot: Line: Line. This opens the Plot Setup dialog box.
  4. Click the two "double-arrow" buttons to show all three dialog box panels.
  5. In the middle panel, select the "X" box for Column B (Sensor Ax) and the "Y" box for Column C (Sensor Ay), then click the Add button to add the plot to Layer 1 in the bottom panel.
  6. Select the "X" box for column D (Sensor Bx) and the "Y" box for Column E (Sensor By), then click Add.
  7. Select the "X" box for column F (Sensor Cx) and the "Y" box for Column G (Sensor Cy), then click Add. Three plots are added to Layer 1.
  8. Press CTRL and click on each plot in the bottom panel to select all three, then right-click and choose Group.
  9. Click OK to create a grouped line plot.
Plot setup mini tutorial group.png

Tutorial: Creating a Graph with Data from Multiple Worksheets

  1. Click the New Workbook button on the Standard toolbar.
  2. Click File: Import: Multiple ASCII, browse to the Origin installation folder and select Sensor01.dat, Sensor02.dat and Sensor03.dat under \Samples\Curve Fitting\ to import. After Import, 3 workbooks are created.
  3. Without selecting any data, click Plot: Line+Symbol: Line+Symbol. This opens the Plot Setup dialog box.
  4. Expand the top panel if it is hidden. From the Available Data list, choose Worksheets in Folder.
  5. Select Sensor01, Sensor02 and Sensor03 sheets in the top panel.
  6. In the middle panel, select the "X" box for Column A (Displacement) and the "Y" box for Column B (Sensor Output), then click the Add button.
  7. Click OK to create a grouped Line+Symbol plot using Sensor Output columns from 3 worksheets.
Plot setup mini tutorial group 2.png
  • The Plot Setup middle panel only allows choosing one X column at a time.
  • If your worksheet is set up with the correct Column Plot Designations (e.g. XYXY) but you only want columns with same Long Name, click the toggle in the upper-right corner of middle panel so that only plottable columns show (e.g. for 2D plot types, X columns are not shown). Then you can sort the columns and select all columns with same Long Name and plot them together. The Y columns will be plotted against corresponding X columns.
  • To change a data plot's type, choose the corresponding plot in bottom panel. Corresponding X and Y columns will show in middle panel. Choose a new plot type in middle panel and click the Replace button.
  • All data plots in a group share the same plot type. If you want to change the plot type of a single plot in a group, right-click the Group node in bottom panel and Ungroup first.
  • Drag and drop data plots to move them to different layers.
  • If the bottom panel is hidden and you have selected columns in the middle panel, you can directly click the OK button to create your graph.

Manipulating Data Plots

The following sections discuss higher level modifications to existing graphs such as changing plot type, adding or removing plots from the layer and controlling the density of plotted points (Speed Mode). For more detailed plot customizations, including those involving such things as changing plot symbols, colors, and legend customizations, see the Customizing Graphs chapter.

The following methods of manipulating data plots in the graph window are fairly easy to use. Thus, you may want to choose File: Open Template and pick your template to create a blank graph window. Then, using the methods below you can add and group data plots in the graph.

Changing Plot Type

Some Origin plot types (e.g. scatter, line, line+symbol) allow you to interchange the plot type of an existing plot with a few other select plot types. Some examples:

  • Scatter, line, line+symbol, column/bar are interchangeable.
  • 3D scatter/trajectory/vector, 3D bars, 3D surface are interchangeable.


To change the plot type of an existing plot:

  • Right-click on the data plot and choose Change Plot to: Graph Type from the shortcut menu.
  • Click on the data plot and choose Format: Plot Properties and in Plot Details choose from the Plot Type drop-down list.
  • Click on the data plot, then click one of the supported graph toolbar buttons.


Note that if you switch plot types and the selected plot is part of a plot group, all plots in the group are switched.

Exchanging Data Plots

Worksheet Plot Designations You can quickly change the data source (X, Y, or worksheet) of a plot using these context menu commands. Right-click on a data plot, then select one of these options:

  • Change X. This menu item allows you to change the assignment of X data to another data column in the same worksheet.
  • Change Y. This menu item allows you to change the assignment of Y data to another data column in the same worksheet.
  • Change Worksheet. This menu item allows you to replace both X and Y with data from another worksheet. The selected worksheet should have the same Short Names, the same Column Plot Designations and the same row index range as the current worksheet.

If you have a grouped data plot, then clicking once on any of the plots in the group will select the entire group. Click a second time to select a particular member of the group. The context menu options to change worksheet, X, or Y are available only when a single data plot is selected.

Tutorial: Changing X and Y assignment of a data plot

  1. Start with a new workbook and import the file automobile.dat from the Samples\Statistics sub-folder of the Origin installation folder.
  2. Select the Gas Mileage column and select the Plot: Symbol: Scatter menu item. The Gas Mileage column is plotted against the default X column Year.
  3. Right-click on the data plot and select Change X: Engine Displacement. The Gas Mileage column is now plotted against Engine Displacement.
Note: If new data is significantly outside of the current range for X or Y axes, you will be asked if the graph should be rescaled. If data are not significantly different, you may want to manually rescale the graph (Hot key: CTRL+R).

If you perform analysis on the data plot (e.g. linear regression with Recalculate set to Auto), the fit results will automatically update when you change X/Y or the worksheet.

Adding, Removing and Hiding Data Plots

Use the following methods to add or remove data plots from a graph.

Adding Data with the Add Plot to Layer Menu Command

This is a simple method for adding a range of data to an existing Line, Scatter, Line + Symbol, Column or Area graph:

  1. Highlight your worksheet data.
  2. Go to the graph window where you want to add data. If there are multiple layers in the graph, press the layer icon to activate the desired layer.
  3. From the menu, choose Graph: Add Plot to Layer: Graph Type.
  • You can use the Graph: Add Error Bars... menu item to add error bars, calculated from statistics such as standard deviation.
  • Error data will be output beside the data column in the worksheet. This only works for the active plot. You can set the active plot from the Data menu. The active plot has a check mark beside it.

Adding Data by Drag and Drop

You can add data to a graph by drag and drop. When using this method, Origin relies on worksheet Column Plot Designations to create the plot.

  1. Select the worksheet data (one or more columns or a range of one or more columns).
  2. Move the mouse over the left or right edge of the selected range.
  3. When the pointer looks like this Drag and drop mouse.png, hold down the left mouse button and drag the data to the graph window. Release the mouse.
  4. If there are multiple layers in the graph, drag the data to the desired layer, then release the mouse.

Usually the current plot type is used when plotting by drag-and-drop. To change the global plot type to use when drag and drop, choose Tools: Options... from the main menu. Go to the Graph tab and change the global Drag and Drop plot type.

Adding and Removing Data with the Layer Contents Dialog Box

Open the Layer Contents dialog box by double-clicking or right-clicking on the layer icon(s) in the top left corner of the graph page. Controls in the left panel can be used to filter and list available datasets. The right panel lists datasets that are plotted in the active layer.

Layer contents dialog.png

Controls in the center of the dialog box allow you to add or remove plots from the active graph layer. When adding data to the graph, click the list button (downward-pointing arrow) to pre-select the plot type before adding data to the layer. Use controls in the right panel to group or ungroup plots, or re-order plots in the layer.


Adding, Removing, Replacing or Hiding Data Plots with the Plot Setup Dialog Box

Among other things, the Plot Setup dialog box can be used to add or remove data plots from the graph.

  1. To add plots to the graph, use the top panel of Plot Setup to identify your source data.
  2. Use the controls in the middle panel to specify the plot type and how the data selection should be treated (as X, Y, yError or Label).
  3. In the bottom panel, choose the Layer to which you want to add plots, then click the Add button.
  4. To remove a plot from the layer, select the plot in the bottom panel, then right-click and choose Remove.
  5. To hide a plot, uncheck the Show check box for the plot.
  6. To replace a plot, select the plot in bottom panel, then change the X and Y selection and plot type in middle panel and click the Replace button.
Plot Setup Removing.png

Adding Data by Direct ASCII Import

You can import ASCII files directly into the active graph window using the the Import ASCII toolbar button. Note that this method works only with files having a simple structure and it supports only the simplest of graph types - Line, Scatter, Line + Symbol, Column and Bar charts.

  1. Click the Import ASCII Button Import ASCII.png button. This opens the Import ASCII dialog box.
  2. Choose a file.
  3. Click Open.

The file is imported and plotted in the active graph window.

Adding Data by Copying and Pasting a Plot

You can copy a plot from an existing graph window and paste it into the same or another window.

  1. Click on the plot to select it and press CTRL+C.
  2. Click on the target graph and press CTRL+V.

Simultaneously, a ClipbN worksheet is created. You can open this worksheet by double-clicking on the plot, then clicking the Workbook button at the bottom of Plot Details; or right-click on the plot in the graph window or in the Object Manager and choose Create worksheet ClipbN.

You can also "paste" a copied plot to a worksheet cell. Select a cell and press CTRL+V to fill the column(s) with plot data.

Removing or Hiding Plots with the Object Manager

The Object Manager is a dockable panel that allows for easy manipulation of graph layers and data plots. See the section on The Object Manager in this Guide.

To hide or remove plots, right-click on a plot and choose from the shortcut menu:

OM remove hide menu.png
  • To show or hide plots of the same Long Name.
  • Show all plots.
  • Remove a plot from the graph window (not the same as hiding).
  • When you right-click on a plot, there is a Remove shortcut menu item. If the plot is part of a group, the entire group will be removed.
  • When you right-click on a plot, you can use the Hide Data Plot and Hide Others shortcut menu items to quickly hide selected plots (restore plots by enabling their display in the Object Manager or in Plot Details).

Removing or Hiding Data with Plot Details

In the left panel of the Plot Details dialog box (Format: Plot Properties), right-click on a plot and choose Remove or Hide from the context menu. Remove will delete the data plot from the graph so if you just want to temporarily hide a plot, choose Hide. Neither of them will delete data from worksheet or matrix.

Deleting Plots using the Delete Key

Click on a data plot (either in the graph window or Object Manager) and press the Delete key. If the selected plot is part of a group, the entire group is deleted. This action does not delete worksheet or matrix data. To restore the deleted plots, choose Edit: Undo Remove Plot from the main menu.

Editing Plot Range

Once a graph is made, you can edit the plot display range, specifying only a portion of the plotted data:

  • Right-click on the plot and choose the Edit Range... shortcut menu command. Edit the From and To values.
  • In the right panel of the Layer Contents dialog box (Graph: Layer Contents), turn on the Range column by right-clicking on the column headings and choosing Range. Click on a plot's range values, then click the ... button that appears to the right side of that column.
  • In the bottom panel of Plot Setup (Graph: Plot Setup), Click on the plot range in the Range column and click ... button that appears to the right side of that column.

Choose Graph: Rescale to Show All menu to rescale the graph after editing plot range.

Grouping Data Plots

When you make multiple range or column selections, then create a graph, Origin groups the resulting data plots in the graph layer. This applies to most 1D (statistical) and 2D graphs, plus 3D XYY (XYY 3D bar, 3D ribbon, 3D wall, and 3D waterfall plots) and 3D XYZ (3D scatter, 3D bar) graphs.

Grouping provides for quick creation of presentation-ready graphs because each plot in the group is assigned a differentiating set of plot attributes (line color = black, red, green...; symbol shape = square, circle, triangle...; etc.). Assignments are made by cycling through a pre-determined (user-modifiable) increment list of styles. For instance, the first plot of a grouped line plots might be denoted by a black line; the second plot might be denoted by a red line (the second color in the color list), the third plot by a green line (the third color in the color list), and so on.

Tutorial: Creating a simple grouped data plot

  1. Open a fresh worksheet and click the Import Single ASCII button Button Import Single ASCII.png on the Standard toolbar.
  2. Browse to the Samples\Graphing subfolder in the Origin software folder and Open GROUP.DAT.
  3. Select B(Y), C(Y), and D(Y) columns
  4. Click the Line & Symbol button Button Line And Symbol.png on the 2D Graphs toolbar. Note that line and symbol color and symbol type are automatically differentiated for each plot.

Tutorial: Grouping (or ungrouping) plots manually

  • Via the Layer Contents dialog box
  1. To open the Layer Contents dialog box, double-click on the layer n icon in upper-left corner of the graph window.
  2. To create a group, select the desired data sets from the Layer Contents list (use CTRL + select, SHIFT + select, or simply drag the mouse to select multiple data sets).
  3. Click Group. Note that each plot in Layer Contents is now preceded by a gn (for "group1", "group2", etc.).
  4. To ungroup, click on one of the grouped data plots in the Layer Contents list and click Ungroup.


  • Via the Plot Setup dialog box
  1. To open the Plot Setup dialog box, ALT + double-click on the layer n icon in upper-left corner of the graph window.
  2. To create a group, select the desired plots from the Plot List (use the CTRL or SHIFT keys to select multiple data sets).
  3. Right-click and select Group. Note that a Group icon now precedes the selected plots in the Plot List.
  4. To ungroup, right-click on the Group icon and choose Ungroup from the shortcut menu.

Speed Mode

With Speed Mode, you can control the number of data points displayed in a graph layer. This option is most useful when working with large data sets. Speed Mode can be turned on for any 2D or 3D graph. When Speed Mode is enabled, the layer icon displays in red and a Speed Mode is On watermark appears in the layer. The watermark is not included when printing, copying, or exporting the graph.

Increasing Screen Drawing Speeds 02.png

To adjust Speed Mode settings:

  1. With your graph active, select Format: Layer Properties from the Origin menu.
  2. Select the Size/Speed tab.
  3. For plots created from worksheet data, Select the Worksheet Data, Maximum Points Per Curve check box to enable Speed Mode for all the data plots in the layer that are created from worksheet data. Type the desired value (n) in the associated text box. If the number of data points in a data plot exceeds n, Origin displays a subset of the data plot containing n points, drawn by extracting values at regular intervals from the data set.
  4. For 3D data plots created from a matrix or for contour data in the layer, Select the Matrix Data, Maximum Points Per Dimension check box to enable Speed Mode. Type the desired value (n, m) in the X and Y text boxes. If the number of data points in a data plot exceeds n or m, Origin displays a subset of the data plot composed of -- at maximum -- n by m points. This subset is drawn by extracting values at regular intervals from the matrix columns (X) and rows (Y).
Note: Click the Enable/Disable Speed Mode Button Speedmode.png button on the Graph toolbar, to toggle Speed Mode on/off for all layers in the graph window.

Alternatively, you can select Speed Mode from the Graph menu which opens the speedmode X-Functiondialog. The dialog lets you specify a number of options for where your changes should apply ( Target ) as well as a range of Speed Mode settings from Off to On - High.

To turn off the Speed Mode is On watermark:

  1. Select Tools: Options to open the Options dialog box.
  2. Select the Graph tab and clear the Speed Mode Show Watermark check box.
Notes on Speed Mode:
  • The Speed Mode controls on the Size/Speed tab of the layer's Plot Details only apply to what you see on screen. They do not apply to graphs that are printed or exported, by default. If you wish to skip points in printouts, use controls in the Print dialog. See the discussion of the Skip Points feature as it applies to some graph windows in the Origin Help file. If you wish to apply Speed Mode settings to graphic export, please see this discussion of Performance Group controls on the Miscellaneous tab of the Plot Details dialog box or use controls under Export Settings node in Graph Export dialog.
  • All Speed Mode settings are saved with the graph template. If you make changes to Speed Mode settings for a particular graph type, you will have to resave the graph template to make those changes permanent.
  • Always exercise caution when using Speed Mode. Since Speed Mode systematically weeds out a portion of your data points, it should be kept in mind that any graph in which Speed Mode is turned on, may -- or may not -- accurately represent your data, to your satisfaction. Always familiarize yourself with your data and adjust and compare Speed Mode settings to ensure that trends in your data are accurately depicted.

Publishing Your Graph: Copy/Paste, Image Export, Slide Shows and Printing

There are a number of ways to present your finished graph.

  • Copy a graph page and paste it in other applications such as Word, Powerpoint, etc.
  • Export graph page as an image file (raster or vector).
  • Send Graphs to Powerpoint.
  • Printout.
  • Slideshow within Origin.
  • Create Movies.

Please read details in the Publishing and Export chapter of this User Guide and the "Topics for Further Reading" there.

Origin Graph Types

Origin supports over 100 plot types. Origin's 2D graphs are plotted from Worksheet data. Typically, this means an "X" column and one or more "Y" columns (or a sub-range of one or more Y columns). A few graphs require an additional error bar column. Of the 3D and contour graph types, some are created from XYZ worksheet data; some are created from a particular worksheet data arrangement that we call a Virtual Matrix; and some are created from Matrix window data.

If you have not read previous sections of this Guide, you might want to skim the Workbook and Matrix chapters before moving ahead, paying particular attention to these sections:

  • Different Views of the Matrix (Chapter 9)
  • Virtual Matrix (Chapter 9)
  • Creating a Graph from Worksheet Data (this chapter)
  • Worksheet Data and Column Plot Designations (this chapter)

The following table is a comprehensive list of all supported graph types. Graph types are shown grouped and in the approximate order in which they appear in the Plot menu. The toolbar button precedes the graph name and the Notes column provides information on the data arrangement needed to make the basic graph.

To create your graph, highlight the required data and click one of the graphs listed in the Plot menu . Alternately, you can click one of the buttons on the 2D Graphs or 3D and Contour Graphs toolbars.

2DGraphs toolbar O91.png

3DGraphs toolbar O91 Win7.png

Plot Menu Graph Types Notes
Line Line.png Line
Button Horizontal Step.png Horizontal Step
Button Vertical Step.png Vertical Step
Button Spline Connected.png Spline Connected
  • Start with a Worksheet.
  • Select one or more Y columns or at least a portion of one Y column.
  • Multiple Y columns are grouped in layer.
  • If there is an associated X column, X column supplies X values; otherwise, default X values are used.
Symbol Scatter.png Scatter
Button Scatter Center.png Scatter Central
Button Column Scatter.png Column Scatter
Button Y Error.png Y Error
Button X Y Error.png XY Error
Button Vertical Drop Line.png Vertical Drop Line
Button Bubble.png Bubble
Button Color Map.png Color Mapped
Button Bubble And Color Mapped.png Bubble + Color Mapped
  • Start with a Worksheet.
  • Select one or more Y columns or at least a portion of one Y column.
  • For Color Mapped, Indexed and Error Bar graphs, Y columns of values to the right of the Y column supply color-map, index and error bar values.
  • If there is an associated X column, X column supplies X values; otherwise, default X values are used.
Line + Symbol Button Line And Symbol.png Line + Symbol
Button Line Series.png Line Series
Button 2 Point Segment.png 2 Point Segment
Button 3 Point Segment.png 3 Point Segment
  • Start with a Worksheet.
  • Select one or more Y columns or at least a portion of one Y column.
  • Multiple Y columns are grouped in layer (except Line Series).
  • For Line Series graph, select 2 or 3 Y columns.
  • If there is an associated X column, X column supplies X values; otherwise, default X values are used.
Column/Bar/Pie Button Column.png Column
Button Column Label.png Column + Label
Button Grouped Column-Indexed Data.png Grouped Column-Indexed Data
Button Bar.png Bar
Button Stack Column.png Stacked Column
Button Stack Bar.png Stacked Bar
Button 100p Stacked Column.png 100% Stacked Column
Button 100p Stacked Bar.png 100% Stacked Bar
Button Floating Column.png Floating Column
Button Floating Bar.png Floating Bar
Button 3D Color Pie Chart.png 3D Color Pie Chart
Button B W Pie Chart.png 2D B&W Pie Chart
  • Start with a Worksheet.
  • For Pie charts, select one Y column.
  • For Bar, Column or Column + Label, select one or more Y columns (multiple Y columns are grouped in layer).
  • For Floating Bar/Column, select two Y columns.
  • For Stack graphs, select two or more Y columns.
  • If there is an associated X column, X column supplies X values; otherwise, default X values are used.
Multi-Y Button Double Y Axis.png Double-Y
Button 3Ys Y-YY.png 3Ys Y-YY
Button 3Ys Y-Y-Y.png 3Ys Y-Y-Y
Button 4Ys Y-YYY.png 4Ys Y-YYY
Button 4Ys YY-YY.png 4Ys YY-YY
Button Multiple Y Axes.png Multiple Y Axes...
  • Start with a Worksheet.
  • Select two or more Y columns.
  • Multiple Y Axes opens interactive dialog. Choose plot type, number of axes, plots per layer, axis color to match plot, etc.
Y-Offset/Waterfall Button Stack Lines By Y Offsets.png Stack Lines by Y Offsets
Button 3D Waterfall.png3D Waterfall
Button 3D Y Color Mapping.png3D Waterfall Y:Color Mapping
Button 3D Z Color Mapping.png3D Waterfall Z:Color Mapping
Button Waterfall.png Waterfall
Button Waterfall Y Color Mapping.png Waterfall Y:Color Mapping
Button Waterfall Z Color Mapping.png Waterfall Z:Color Mapping
  • Start with a Worksheet.
  • Select at least two Y columns (or a range of at least two Y columns). If the Y columns have an associated X column, the X column is used; otherwise the worksheet's default X values are used.
  • The 3D Waterfall is based on 3D OpenGL technology and with enhanced features and faster speed.
Multi-Panel Button Vertical 2 Panel.png Vertical 2 Panel
Button Horizontal 2 Panel.png Horizontal 2 Panel
Button 4 Panel.png 4 Panel
Button 9 Panel.png 9 Panel
Button Stack.png Stack...
Button Multiple Panels.png Multiple Panels by Label...
Button Trellis Plot.png Trellis Plot
  • Start with a Worksheet.
  • Select at least two Y columns (or a range of at least two Y columns). If the Y columns have an associated X column, the X column is used; otherwise the worksheet's default X values are used.
  • Trellis Plots need at least one Y column of a response variable and two or more columns of factor (categorical) variables.
3D XYY Button XYY 3D Bars.png XYY 3D Bars
Button XYY 3D Stacked Bars.png XYY 3D Stacked Bars
Button XYY 3D 100PC Stacked Bars.png XYY 3D 100% Stacked Bars
Button 3D Ribbons.png 3D Ribbons
Button 3D Walls.png 3D Walls
Button 3D Waterfall.png3D Waterfall
Button 3D Y Color Mapping.png3D Waterfall Y:Color Mapping
Button 3D Z Color Mapping.png3D Waterfall Z:Color Mapping
  • Start with a Worksheet.
  • Select at least two Y columns (or a range of at least two Y columns). If Y columns have associated X, then the X column is used; otherwise, the worksheet's default X values are used.
  • For XYY 3D Bars, Y value of each data point is used for height of column.
  • For XYY 3D Stacked/100% Stacked Bars, with Y values stacked by row.
3D Surface Button 3D Color Fill Surface.png 3D Color Fill Surface
Button 3D X Constant With Base.png 3D X Constant with Base
Button 3D Y Constant With Base.png 3D Y Constant with Base
Button 3D Colormap Surface.png 3D Color Map Surface
Button 3D Color Fill Surface with Error Bar.png 3D Color Fill Surface with Error Bar
Button 3D Color Map Surface with Error Bar.png 3D Colormap Surface with Error Bar
Button Multiple Color Fill Surfaces.png Multiple Color Fill Surfaces
Button Multiple Color Map Surfaces.png Multiple Colormap Surfaces
Button 3D Color Map Surface with Projection.png 3D Colormap Surface with Projection
Button 3D Wire Frame.png 3D Wire Frame
Button 3D Wire Surface.png 3D Wire Surface
Button 3D Ternary Colormap Surface.png 3D Ternary Colormap Surface
  • Color Fill Surface, Colormap Surface w/ Projection, Color Fill Surface w/ Error Bar, Wire Frame, Wire Surface: XYZ, Virtual Matrix, Matrix.
  • X Constant w/ Base, Y Constant w/ Base: Virtual Matrix, Matrix.
  • Color Fill Surface w/ Error Bar, Color Map Surface w/ Error Bar, Multiple Color Fill Surfaces, Multiple Color Map Surfaces: Matrix.
  • 3D Ternary Colormap Surface: XYZZ worksheet columns.
3D Symbol/Bar/Vector Button Matrix 3D Bars.png 3D Bars
3D stacked bars button.png 3D Stacked Bars
3D 100PC Stacked Bars button.png 3D 100% Stacked Bars
3d scatter button.png 3D Scatter
Button 3D Trajectory.png 3D Trajectory
Button 3D Error Bar.png 3D Scatter + Error Bars
Button 3D Vector XYZ XYZ.png 3D Vector XYZ XYZ
Button 3D Vector XYZ dXdYdZ.png 3D Vector XYZ dXdYdZ
  • 3D Bars, 3D Scatter: XYZ, Virtual Matrix, Matrix.
  • 3D Trajectory, 3D Vector XYZ XYZ, 3D Vector XYZ dXdYdZ: XYZ.
  • 3D Scatter + Error Bars: XYZ, Matrix.
  • 3D Stacked Bars, 3D 100% Stacked Bars: XYZ, with Z values stacked by row.
    Note: Stacking requires grouping of datasets; all objects in current matrix sheet will be plotted in grouping and stacked; to make use of Virtual Matrix would require adding multiple Virtual Matrices to the layer, then grouping them.
Statistics Button Box Chart.png Box Chart
Group Boxes Indexed Button GSB.png Grouped Boxes - Indexed Data
Group Boxes Raw Button GSB.png Grouped Boxes - Raw Data
Button Interval Plot.pngInterval Plot
Button Histogram.png Histogram
Button Histogram And Probabilities.png Histogram + Probabilities
Button Stacked Histograms.png Stacked Histograms
Marginal Histograms Button GSB.png Marginal Histograms
Marginal Boxes Button GSB.png Marginal Boxes
Button 2D Kernel Density Plot.png 2D Kernel Density
Button X Bar And R Chart.png QC (X bar R) Chart
Button Pareto Chart-Binned Data.png Pareto Chart - Binned Data
Button Pareto Chart-Raw Data.png Pareto Chart - Raw Data
Button Scatter Matrix.png Scatter Matrix...
Button Probability Plot.png Probability Plot
Button Q-Q Plot.png Q-Q Plot...
  • Histogram: Worksheet, Matrix.
  • All other types, Worksheet only.
  • For Histogam + Probabiliies, Pareto Chart - Raw Data, Probability Plot, and Q-Q Plot, select exactly one Y column.
  • For Box Chart and QC (X Bar R), select one or more columns.
  • For Histogram, select one or more columns, or a matrix.
  • For Pareto Chart - Binned Data, select two Y columns.
  • For Scatter Matrix and Stacked Histograms, select two or more Y columns.
Area Button Area.png Area
Button Stack Area.png Stack Area
Button Fill Area.png Fill Area
  • Start with a Worksheet.
  • For Area Graph, select at least one Y column.
  • For Stack Area Graph, select at least two Y columns.
  • For Fill Area Graph, select two Y columns.
  • If the Y column(s) has an associated X column, the X column supplies the X values; otherwise, the worksheet's default X values are used.
Contour/Heat Map Button Contour Color Fill.png Color Fill
Button Contour BW Lines.png B/W Lines + Labels
Button Gray Scale Map.png Gray Scale Map
Button Heat Map.png Heat Map
Button Polar Contour Theta R.png Polar Contour theta(X)r(Y)
Button Polar Contour R Theta.png Polar Contour r(X)theta(Y)
Button Ternary Contour.png Ternary Contour
  • Contour Color Fill, B/W Lines + Labels, Gray Scale Map, Contour Profiles: XYZ, Virtual Matrix, Matrix.
  • Heat Map: Virtual Matrix, Matrix.
  • Polar Contour theta(X)r(Y): XYZ, Matrix.
  • Polar Contour r(X)theta(Y): XYZ
  • Ternary Contour: XYZZ.
Profiles & Image Button Contour Profiles.png Contour Profiles
Button Image Plot.png Image Plot
Button Image Profiles.png Image Profiles
  • Contour Profiles: XYZ, Virtual Matrix, Matrix.
  • Image Profiles: Virtual Matrix, Matrix.
  • Image Plot: Matrix
Specialized Button Polar Theta R.png Polar theta(X) r(Y)
Button Polar R Theta.png Polar r(X) theta(Y)
Button Wind Rose Binned Data.png Wind Rose - Binned Data
Button Wind Rose Raw Data.png Wind Rose - Raw Data
Button Ternary.png Ternary
Button Piper.png Piper
Button Smith Chart.png Smith Chart
Button Radar.png Radar
Button Vector XYAM.png Vector XYAM
Button Vector XYXY.png Vector XYXY
Button Zoom.png Zoom
  • Start with a Worksheet.
  • For Polar graphs, select at least one pair of XY columns. For Polar theta(X) r(Y) plot, X should contain Angular data and Y is the Radius; for Polar r(X) theta(Y), X is the Radius and Y is Angular data.
  • For Piper diagrams, select XYZXYZ columns.
  • For Radar/Spider Chart, select one Y column. The X column displays as the title of the radial axis around the chart.
  • Vector XYAM needs three Y columns.
  • Vector XYXY needs two X, two Y columns.
  • Wind Rose and Smith Charts require one or more Y columns.
  • Ternary plot requires Z column.
Stock Button High Low Close.png High-Low-Close
Button Japanese Candlestick.png Japanese Candlestick
Button OHLC Bar Chart.png OHLC Bar Chart
Button OHLC Volume.png OHLC-Volume
Button Stock Line.png Line (Stock)
  • Start with a Worksheet.
  • High-Low-Close requires three Y columns.
  • Japanese Candlestick and OHLC charts require four Y columns.
  • OHLC-Volume requires five Y columns.
  • Line (Stock) requires one or more Y columns.
  • If there is an X column to the left of the Y columns, this X column is used; otherwise, the worksheet's default X-values are used.


Origin project files featuring a sampling of 2D and 3D graph types are included with your Origin software. To view these graphs choose File: Open Sample Projects from the main menu.


Topics for Further Reading

 

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