GUIPlot Wills And Won'ts

GUIPlot Will . . .

  • Extract numerical data embedded in alpha characters from text files. There is no need for special file formatting, other than lines that are less than 1024 characters long, terminated with a newline character. Tabs, spaces, words; any non-numeric character will delimit the numerical data. This is a powerful feature for extracting numerical data where you might not normally think of finding it; such as copyright dates, people's ages, or web server statistics. Configure a web server to give access to log files and GUIPlot can download the data using the HTTP protocol and extract the numerical data in the log file based on keywords or other conditional filtering.
  • Histograms. Switch between an X-Y plot and a histogram of the same data with the touch of a button. Press the D key to Duplicate a plot, then the H key and the duplicate switches to a histogram. With two key strokes, you have an X-Y plot and a histogram side-by-side.
  • Measure data features with the mouse. Click the left mouse button anywhere on a plot and the X-Y coordinates of where you clicked are displayed in the status bar. Drag across the plot and a box is drawn with its size and the current mouse position displayed in the status bar. This can be used to measure features such as periods or the size of peaks in your data.
  • Do zoom plots. Hold down the shift key and draw a box around a section of your plot and a new window pops up with a plot of only the data in the box, scaled to fit the window. You can un-zoom, change the zoom area and re-zoom (see example on this page).
  • Exclude outliers. Hold down the CTRL key and draw a box around a section of your data. GUIPlot will exclude all lines from the data file that produced points inside the box. Then it will rescale and redraw the plot (see example on this page).
  • Store plot setups. Once you've stored a plot setup, you can tell GUIPlot to associate a filename extension with that setup file. Then, when you drop a file with that extension on a GUIPlot window, it will be plotted automatically.
  • Define the aspect ratio of the plot. If you are plotting curve data it may be important to know if it forms an arc or a parabola. GUIPlot lets you set the aspect ratio of the X and Y size of the plot window so your plot will look like it should. 1 to 1 would make an accurate arc.
  • Do X-Y plots with lines, points or both. Select line/point color, line type and the character used to represent the point.
  • Output the data from the plot region to a file. This feature enables graphically filtering files by plotting them, zooming or excluding, then outputting what's left to a new file.
  • Store plot objects. In a production environment, files where process data is stored keep growing and must be examined periodically. Outliers happen. Anomalies that are important to see once get in the way and cause an auto-scale plotting program to set a scale that makes the bulk of data impossible to see. If you turn off the auto-scale and set it to a pre-determined value then you won't see the outliers. GUIPlot lets you exclude the outliers once and store the plot as an object. The object contains a link to the data file, all plot setup parameters and a list of excluded data. When you open the object a week later, the same plot is displayed with the addition of this week's data. The old outliers aren't back, causing scaling problems.
  • Plot a file with a format you've never plotted before by entering only two formulas; one for the X axis and one for the Y axis. These formulas might be as simple as "L", which uses the line number from the data file for the axis' coordinates. "C1" for the Y formula and "L" for the X formula will plot column one (first numerical field from each line of data) Vs the data file's line number. Formulas can be much more complex. For example, "LOG(ABS(C2-C1))" will plot the base 10 log of the absolute value of the difference of column 1 and column 2. There can be any number of Y axis formulas, allowing multiple graphs on one plot.
  • Calculate basic statistical data. By showing the optional statistics, GUIPlot will find the max, min, mean, standard deviation and quantity for each graph on the plot. This is a very powerful tool when combined with the zoom feature for analyzing groups like unusual production runs.
  • Drop multiple files. Using File Manager (Explorer in Windows95), select multiple data files and drop them on GUIPlot's main window. The files can be concatenated, making, in effect, a file with as many lines as the sum of the two files. Alternatively, the lines can be concatenated, making, in effect, a file with as many columns as the sum of the two files. Files may be dropped on an existing plot with similar results. Storing the plot as an object stores the way files were concatenated.
  • Copy a plot to the clipboard. GUIPlot has a copy command that copies the graphical plot to the clipboard. It can then be pasted into a word processor or drawing program document.
  • Paste text from the clipboard. Copy data from a spreadsheet or other Windows program and paste it into GUIPlot. An intermediate file is created that can be saved or simply used to render a plot.

GUIPlot Won't . . .

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