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iwork2ski

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Reply with quote  #1 

Any tips on how to replicate the boxplots from the dashboards on p197 and p199?

sfew

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Reply with quote  #2 
What software are you using?

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Stephen Few
iwork2ski

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Reply with quote  #3 

We are going to design the dashboard using Excel 2003.  I have been looking at bonavistasystems' microchart addin.  It will cover everything but the box plots.  I already know how to set up the calculations for Q1,min, median,max,Q3.  Just wanted some tips on how to make the graph look as nice as the ones in the book.

 
Bruce
nixnut

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Reply with quote  #4 

Hello iwork2ski,

 

Perhaps http://processtrends.com/pg_chart_box_plot.htm will give you some pointers on how to achieve your objective. The processtrends.com site is the work of another forum member, koday. I'm sure Kelly can give you a lot of advice regarding excel. I can manage a fair bit of excel myself, but that site tells me clearly where I should go for real excel charts expertise.

 

regards,

nixnut

iwork2ski

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Reply with quote  #5 

Thanks for the link to the process trend chart.  They have some good examples.

I still want to replicate the "look" that was achieved in the book.  That way the box plot will "look" like the rest of of the Bonavistasystems micro charts.

 

So I am after some tips on how to replicate the "look".

nixnut

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Reply with quote  #6 

I've played around a bit with excel 2000 trying to create a box plot that should resemble the look of the examples in the book somewhat. I'm working from memory as I don't have the book at hand right now (mmm, an ebook version might be handy). I haven't managed to get a horizontal box plot layout with a back-grounded gray bar that indicates an acceptable range. In the vertical layout I could create such a bar. 

 

The problem in the horizontal layout is that the bar for the acceptable range will be displayed on top of the whiskered box. That means I can only use lines for that bar and not a solid fill, since that would hide most of the whiskered box. Unfortunately the lines make the graph rather messy and thus harder to read. The difference between the top right and lower right graph speaks for itself.

 

If anybody can tell me how to achieve the same effect in the horizontal box plot as in the vertical one I'd very much appreciate it.

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PSu

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Reply with quote  #7 

Hi:

 

Jon Peltier describes how to make them in Excel: http://www.peltiertech.com/Excel/Charts/format.html#BoxWhisker

 

Another reference for making boxplots with Excel is

http://science.uniserve.edu.au/pubs/callab/vol15/cal15_guan.pdf


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Henk
iwork2ski

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Reply with quote  #8 
I have been out to the Peltier site, downloaded the add in and had a play around with it.  Jon has created a great addin.
 
I can customise this so I get the look and feel but....  What I can't seem to do is replicate the Target or Acceptable bar. 
 
Any suggestion of how to make that happen?
nixnut

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Reply with quote  #9 
That was my problem as well. However I've found some tricks in http://www.dailydoseofexcel.com/archives/2006/02/05/in-cell-charting/
Based on the fantastic work of others I've added a VBA function that you can use to create in-cell box plot graphs. You can find an excel workbook that demonstrates it at http://dev.gentoo.org/~nixnut/testvba-incell-stuff.xls. It contains a number of functions for a few variations of sparklines and a bullet graph too.
iwork2ski

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Reply with quote  #10 

nixnut -

Thanks for sharing.  What a great set of links.  There are some very talented people out there who are being very generous with their vba code.  I can program in vba but no where near this level.
 
When I open the example file all the graphics get a "#NAME?" written over them.  This means that Excel doesn't know the name of the function.  I have messed around a bit but can't find the easy fix.
 
Any suggestions on how to make this go away?
 
One other question.  Any links to examples of mini pie charts?

nixnut

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Reply with quote  #11 
No links for mini pie charts, but pie charts are almost always the worst choice of graph type. See http://www.perceptualedge.com/example12.php for an example of why that is so.

I'll answer the other question per pm, since that's a bit off-topic
iwork2ski

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Reply with quote  #12 
Figured out what was wrong.  I got a debug error in excel and didn't hit the stop key.  This meant that excel couldn't resolve the function name since vba wasn't running any more.  It confused me for a while why the problem was intermittent.
 
I agree with the comment about pie charts.  It will be interesting as we think through the purpose of each measure to see if there are any where we are just interested in just a single point in time of the %.  Can't think of anything that would fit that criteria.

If I am able to convince the team to adopt a spark line based dashboard then I will be sure to post an example of their work on this site.
 
Again thanks for all the sharing.
 

hadley

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Reply with quote  #13 
It's important to note that all the boxplots in this thread are not true "Tukey" boxplots, but a simplification that does not have all of the features of the original.  Wikipedia has a fairly good description of the original.
sfew

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Reply with quote  #14 
Hadley,

While it is true that the examples of boxplots in this thread do not include all of the components in Tukey's originals, I'm not sure that this is terribly important to note. Boxplots come in many variations to serve a variety of needs, which I find appropriate. For instance, when I work with business people who lack a statistical background, I introduce them to a simplified version of a boxplot that doesn't display outliers separately. People are able to become comfortalble with boxplots quickly when the ends of the whiskers represent the ends of the spread, including the outliers. Boxplots of this type are often ideal for business data analysis and communication. Once people are comfortable with boxplots of this type, moving on to boxplots that display outliers separately, which involves learning how to determine what qualifies as an outlier, is an appropriate next step.

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Stephen Few
hadley

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Reply with quote  #15 
Hi Stephen,

I agree, and I think there is a good argument to be made that the boxplot with range whiskers is more appropriate, given that the definition of an outlier is so model depdent.

My chief worry is that we end up with many "boxplots" each which present data in a slightly different way. If we are to be precise when describing the graphics we use (and I think it's important to be precise for reasons of reproducibility) we can no longer use the word boxplot by itself, but we need to qualify what we mean. On the other hand, having to come up with multiple names for variations on a theme doesn't seem desirable either.

Hadley
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