I wrote a little tool to create diagrams. I am mainly using it myself, but I also gave it to some people and they seem to use it from time to time. Just maybe, it might be also useful for you.
This tool plots a diagram with vertical data lines. It is especially useful for the display of ordinal survey data. It creates a PDF file that contains the diagram. With Inkscape installed you can also create a PNG File. The PDF file can be vectorized with the appropriate software (e.g. Inkscape) and than be manipulated and saved in different formats.
You can use this tool to visualise different tabulations of measured values. In most cases you will compare several groups, each represented by a data line, those are compared either against several variables (comparison of measures of location eg. mean, median) or against one variable and it’s categories’ frequencies (usually in percent).
Diagram Plotter consists of two different programs. One is the “engine”, it reads the data from a text file and generates the diagram. The other is a data input interface (GUI). Instead of using the GUI it is also possible to manipulate the text files an only run the the executable for the engine.
For now I only have compiled a Windows binary, if anyone wants to try this on a Mac or on Linux, let me know. Eventhough it says that it is a 64-bit Version it will apparently also work on a 32-bit Windows Machine. You should have Inkscape (www.inkscape.org) installed in order to have the full functionality.
And here is how you use it, step by step:
- Start ‘yapdt_gui.bat’
- Define scale start and end. The factor defines the decimal position. For a 0 to 100 scale with steps of 10, use the values (Start: 1; End: 10; Factor: 10).
- Define the width of the canvas to draw the data on and the width of the boxes that will contain the category names or group names. You can split a total width of 960 for the two objects, you may need several trials to find the best ratio.
- Enter the category names separated by commata. These are the groups you are comparing or the names of the data lines.
- Enter the names of the variables or value labels, separated by commatta.
- Enter the values for the data lines. Every row is one data line. values are separated by commata and a decimal point is used.
- Click on ‘Save’. This will save the data you entered in the files tabelle und conf in the applications folder.
- Click on ‘Run’. To run the diagram plotter with the data you just saved. A preview of the plotted diagram will appear. It will not look as good as the actual thing in the PDF file!
- If you have Inkscape installed in the default folder, you can use the ‘Make PNG’ button to easily convert the PDF file to a PNG file.
- Modify the diagram with you chosen software or directly integrate the PNG into your documents.
- It is important that the amount of data lines (rows in the ‘Values box’) match up with the amount of category or group names.
- It is also important that the amount of values per data line equals the amount of variable names or value labels.
- You can edit the appearance of the datalines in the shape_line_color file.