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Plotting in the Modern World

Wainer, Howard; Thissen, David
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-86-32, PSRTR-86-70
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Computer Graphics, Computer Software, Microcomputers


This paper reviews standards for effective graphical presentation and then surveys microcomputer software currently available vis-a-vis their adherence to those standards. This review spans IBM PC (and compatibles) as well as Apple MacIntosh software. We conclude that software designers are more concerned with "the quality of the stroke" than they are with the quality of the graph. This is analogous in writing to be more concerned with calligraphy than with language. We found that the best of the available packages could be twisted to yield good graphs, but that their default options were very poorly chosen. The major exception to this rule was MacSpin D2 Software (Austin, Texas), which provided an enormously helpful graphic tool to the data analyst. Included in the review is a discussion of both software and hardware considerations as well as numerous examples. (21pp.)

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