View Full Version : Summary - Sci Plot Mac

Trey Crisco
03-21-1996, 01:06 AM

I am searching for plotting applications that handle scientific data on the
Mac (hopefully PowerPC). I remember a similar request for the PC, but I
could not find one for the Mac.

My favorite was HORIZONS. It was one of the best applications I have ever
used, but unfortunately they seem to have disappeared and the old version
does not run one a PowerPC. We used earlier versions of CRICKET GRAPH, but
it always plots the independent variable in ascending order, not in the
order listed. This caused a lot of confusion in our lab for a while. We
have recently tried SIGMAPLOT on the Mac, and it will be the first software
that I send back! Besides a whole list of other problems, the last straw
was when I resized a graph - the axes scaled and the data did not! We use
MATLAB extensively, but it has limited plot symbols and graphing


This is a summary of all the responses received on Biomech-L about
Scientific Graphing Programs. Thanks to all who responded and to Rob
McGovern who complied the responses.


P.S. I forgot to mention in my original posting that I use Spyglass a lot.
It is very good but it has a lot of trouble when you try to move their
plots into other applications, say for slide making, and try to ungroup the
plot to edit it.

Program Name # of Votes
DeltaGraph Pro 14
Kaleidagraph 13
Igor Pro 9
Cricket Graph 5
MS Excel 4
Spyglass 1
Matlab 1
LabView 1
f(g) Scholar 1
SigmaPlot 5.0 (for Mac) -5

SigmaPlot 3.0 (for PC) 3
GraphPad Prisim (PC only) 2

Following are some of the highlights about pros and cons of each graphics
package. The comments were sorted by graphics package and some were split
between several. I attempted to keep name and email address with correct
comments. Please excuse any "cut and paste" mistakes.

DeltaGraph Pro

From: Chris Brodrick CBRODRICK@Gems.VCU.EDU

My vote is for Deltagraph. We use it extensively here and have found it
more than adequate. The 3D graphing is more thorough than any other
graphing program I have seen, plus it is all PowerPC native. Approximately
$135 through MacWarehouse. It was reviewed in Macworld magazine, Jan. 96,

From: Eihab Abdel-Rahman, PhD EABDELR@UOFT02.UTOLEDO.EDU
I recommend you try DeltaGraph. It's quite powerful with 2-d and 3-d
capabilities. Sometimes it is not very flexible, but you will always find a
way in it to do what you want. One thing it lacks: hidden line removal. If
you want that you would have to do it manually, point-by-point

From: Nat Ordway ordwayn@vax.cs.hscsyr.edu
It's useful for slides or hardcopy plots and has the most versatility in
terms of customizing plots. The files will cross platforms also. Price is
$200 ($50 for the latest upgrade) and you can order from DeltaPoint at
1(800)446-6955. BTW, you can try it risk free for 90 days.

From: Michael Orendurff mso@shcc.org
Delta Graph is pretty good, runs on my 7100/80 PPC but at times doesn't do
exactly what I want. It gets bogged down in huge files which are
graphically complex

From: Patrick E. Crago, PhD E-Mail: pec3@po.cwru.edu
I have a colleague who much prefers Delta Graph, but I think it has an
absolutely counter-intuitive user interface.

From: R. Sainburg, Ph.D. RSAIN1@aol.com
If you are looking for a simple point-and-click plotting application, then
maybe the best bet would be deltagraph pro. However, while the plots are
gorgeous, the ability to handle large data sets is poor and the ease of use
must be measured against the lack of flexibility that such a program

From: Xudong Zhang xudong@umich.edu
It has pretty much all the features GricketGraph and Excel have and offers
more (e.g., "manipulatable" 3D plot) for data visualization. You can also
export a plot as a postscript file which has a lot of advantages over pict

From: J. Michael Lee jmlee@is.dal.ca
I have been using DeltaGraph 2.0.3 for a long time now and have found it to
do just about everything I need--except good double-Y plots. Your ability
to separately alter all elements, groups of elements, or single elements,
and your ability to return to the data book and edit on the fly is really
quite wonderful.

Later versions of DeltaGraph (3 and 3.5) sacrificed much of the elegance of
the version 2 in the name of cross-platform compatibility with the PC
world. (Alas, same problem with LabVIEW!) Worse yet, the ability to have
both portrait and landscape plots in the same file was lost.

My suggestion: find a copy of version 2 and stick with it until Delta gets
its act together and straightens out the interface for Mac users. Oh,
yeah...with SpeedDoubler, DeltaGraph 2 works very quickly on my PowerPC

From: Thomas G. Loebig tom@biomechanics.asri.edu
I am running it on a PowerPC (upgraded from IIci) and it makes very good
scientific graphs that can be manipulated in many ways. The only complaint
I have is that sometimes when running other apps, the system locks up,
particularly when switching from or to MS Excel. DG Pro 3.5 and Excel have
many similar features, but enough differences that I like to use both. DG
Pro does error bars, calculations and curve fitting while Excel manipulates
data better, especially with some of the macros that I have and the
keyboard commands

From: Maury A. Nussbaum nussbaum@engin.umich.edu
I have been using DeltaGraph by DeltaPoint for about 5 years. I just
upgraded to v.3.5 for the PowerMac and it seems to work fine. The
spreadsheets have a good variety of built in calculations and the graphing
options are seemingly endless. The 3-D graphing capability, though, is
slightly limited compared with Excel, but makes up for this lack in
graphing and resizing ease and speed.

From: dieter rosenbaum diro@sirius.medizin.uni-ulm.de
We are using DeltaGraph Pro 3.5 and are quite happy with the wide range of
options both graphically and mathematically. A nice feature is the use of
libraries for storing and retrieving customized graphs that can be applied
to new data sets.

From: Jeff Poliner jeffp@biosci.umtri.umich.edu

I have always found DeltaGraph to be my favorite graphing. It has a large
number of pre-formatted graph styles, as well as the ability to define your
own style. Graphs are linked to data, so that if you make a change in the
data, the graphs are automatically updated.

Also, the graphing capabilities of Excel 5.0 are greatly improved over any
previous version of Excel for the Mac, in terms of flexibility, number of
styles available, and ease of use.

About KaleidaGraph

From: Thomas S. Buchanan tsb@casbah.acns.nwu.edu
We use KaleidaGraph and have been very pleased with it. It is very
flexible, allowing many different types of graphs and symbols. We prefer it
to something like Excel. It imports spreadsheet-type data and has a nice
macro feature for making consistant plots from multiple data files. It also
will do regression analysis and some simple statistics.

From: Steve Robinovitch steve@ortho1.ucsf.edu
We use KaleidaGraph extensively for plotting on the Mac. It's quite robust,
makes very pretty plots, and is designed specifically for scientific
plotting. I haven't seen a better plotting program. The "calculator"
feature is especially useful, allowing spread sheet-like manipulation of

I have also used Deltagraph, a general plotting/ drawing package aimed at
business markets, but have not found this as good as Kaleidagraph for
scientific plotting.

From: Dr M. C. Siff MSIFF@hertz.mech.wits.ac.za

*** I have found that KALEIDAGRAPH by Abelbeck Computing is a very useful
statistical and graphing package that costs little and takes very little
disk space, although the version that I have does not handle 3D plots. I
heard that an update was in the pipeline - check this out.

From: Gerry Gottlieb glg@bu.edu
I have used KaleidaGraph for several years and find it excellent for 2D
plotting and curve fitting. It is quite powerful but has limitations on the
built in statistics, the inability to compute multiple regression (actually
it may be able to do it with some of its more advanced features that I have
never mastered) and of course, no 3D. And they upgrade their product very,
very infrequently.

From: Rodger Kram rkram@garnet.berkeley.edu
We use KaleidaGraph for all of our plotting on the MacOS. It is very easy
to learn, quite flexible, it has many plot symbol options and it imports
seamlessly from Microsloth Excel or plain ascii files also. It is not too
expensive (about $150 academic price)

From: David J. Sanderson Ph.D. David.Sanderson@ubc.ca
I use kaleidagraph 3.0 and find that it is a great plotting program. I have
used it on everything from an SE to my newest PowerPC

About IGOR Pro

From: Cagatay Basdogan basdogan@nwu.edu
I will suggest you to try "IGOR" from WaveMetrics. It is quite powerful,
relatively cheap (less than $300) and enables you to write down your own
macro program which is quite useful if you are manipulating large amount of

From: Thomas S. Buchanan tsb@casbah.acns.nwu.edu
Another program for more complex time series data is Igor. It is very
robust in its ability to import complex data formats (e.g., read
multiplexed data, ignore headers, etc.). Igor excels at plotting time-based
data and will do FFTs etc.

From: Patrick E. Crago, PhD E-Mail: pec3@po.cwru.edu
I think the best package is Igor Pro, and it is available for PowerMac. In
my opinion, it is absolutely the best for time series data.

Igor can be purchased from
WaveMetrics, Inc.
PO Box 2088
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
(503) 620-3001
(info taken from About Igor dialog box)

From: James H. Moore moore@lwc-eirec.go.jp
I've heard that IGOR by Wave Matrix Inc. has significant plotting
capabilities, but has so many functions that it takes a little getting used
to. I'm sure that the price is also significant....

From: R. Sainburg, Ph.D. RSAIN1@aol.com
I have been using Igor for the past 5 years and am very satisfied. One
advantage it has over Labview is that you can begin using it without
programming anything. However, its real power is only realized through its
programming capabilities. Many built in functions, including fft's, built
in windowing algorythms, choice of a few integration algorythms, etc, make
it great for data processing, including designing your own filters. Another
advantage is that its pretty cheap (a few hundred when I purchased it).

From: Michel Lemay mlemay@MIT.EDU
have you try Igor from Wavemetrics (it's a Mac only program, no PC
equivalent). I have been using it for about 4 years and I think it works
great. The learning curve is a little steep in the beginning but once you
are over the initial hump the program is very versatile in terms of how you
produce your graph. Wavemetrics has a web site where you can download a
demo of the program, you should try it out.

About CricketGraph

From: Joseph A. Spadaro, Ph.D. spadaroj@vax.cs.hscsyr.edu
I continue to use and like Cricket Graph and have been pretty successful at
beating it into submission (I think the latest I have is 3.1, but I
secretly like the older versions better).

From: Theo Smit smit@tu-harburg.d400.de

I have been using earlier versions of CRICKET GRAPH as well, but found it
too weak for more complicated graphs. Newer versions must be considerably
better, but I have not tried them.

From: Stephen Haake S.J.Haake@sheffield.ac.uk
I use Cricket Graph III which gives me almost all that I need. You get it
to plot the independent variable in order by formatting that particular
column as alphanumeric rather than decimal. I think. I'll check.

Yes I was right about the independent variable problem. You need to format
as alphanumeric data. The advantage of C Graph III is that you can edit
text anywhere in the graph including such things as scientific text and

About Excel

From: Theo Smit smit@tu-harburg.d400.de
Right now, however, I use Excel 5.0, which is a very powerful piece of
software when you have learned how to use it. Admittedly, it takes some
time to find all functions, but until now, I could always find them.
Moreover, Excel has a nice on-line help which brings you pretty fast to the
point. Statistics is far more extended as with KALEIDAGRAPH, although not
without bugs, as I found out. Yet, it is recommendable.

About Prism (PC only)

From: Sjaak van Asten J.J.A.vanAsten@IO.TUDelft.NL
You could request the american software house GraphPad for information
about the Macintosh version of Prism. I don't know wether they have a
Macintosh version. I hope for you they do, because the researchers in our
lab are quite satisfied with the procuct. You could start at:

About f(g) Scholar

Try f(g) Scholar from Future Graph 75 James Way Southampton PA 18966. Phone
is 215-396-0720. It is a very powerful program developed by two Russian
men. They have a tutorial that goes with it but no real manual. I have had
to call them several times but the program does everything but drive your
car. Please don't consider this as a spam as it is not intended fas such. I
just wish I had the time and expertise to write a manual for lay-people
like myself.

About SigmaPlot (for PC)

From: D. Heiss dheiss@BLUE.WEEG.UIOWA.EDU
Faculty and students in our department have been using Sigma Plot on the PC
for years starting with the older DOS version. We have recently decided to
purchase one of their 5 "seat" site licenses. While there do seem to be a
lot of bugs in the Windows versions that we didn't encounter in the older
versions, we are optimistic that the newer version will address these
and/or the enhanced technical support that we will receive. The site
licenses are expensive, though (about $ 1700 for a 5 person) and I'm not
sure if you receive the technical support with a single copy.

Some faculty members have found that their older versions are not
compatible with Windows 95. We haven't received the newest version of
SigmaPlot to find out if this has been resolved.

From: Sandy Stewart SXS@FDADR.CDRH.FDA.GOV

I've used Sigmaplot for the PC in its various incarnations for years; it's
gone up and down, but version 2.0 for Windows is pretty stable and useful.
I've published papers with graphs made from it. One advantage is that it's
flexible: you can come up with just about any kind of good-looking graph
you want. I like it because it can import ASCII data files, and you can
copy data from Excel; you can plot error bars, and you can do a lot with
regression lines and mathematical curve fitting. It's gotten fairly fast
too. I think they have version 3.0 out now. One caveat: I've not used the
3-d plotting capabilities much

J.J. Trey Crisco, Ph.D.
Director Bioengineering Laboratory
Orthopaedic Research, SWP-3
Rhode Island Hospital
Providence, RI 02903

voice: 401-444-4231
fax: 401-444-4559
e-mail: joseph_crisco_iii@brown.edu