DeltaGraph 4.0.5

"The Specialist that Produces Awesome Graphs"
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Type of Product
DeltaGraph 4.0.5, by SPSS Incorporated, is a software program that allows you to convert data into charts, graphs, and tables. It started as a Mac program but is now available in both Mac and Windows versions and files can be shared across platforms. It can be used as a stand-alone solution or to complement your spreadsheet and other software programs.You can generate more than 70 chart types and customize their appearance with legends, text, images, axis breaks, and equations. DeltaGraph is a presentation package as well. Graphs and charts can be organized into a coherent presentation and you can run an elaborate screen show. Price $295
User Level
The program is not difficult but it is comprehensive. If you are an advanced beginner and have a good grasp of computer basics and spreadsheets and are prepared for a learning process, it would be beneficial. There is a Chart Adviser to help you select the best format for your charts, and preformatted templates that consist of place holders for charts, titles, text, graphics, and bullets. The program has a comprehensive manual, and the Help menu is good.

Intermediate and advanced users should have no problem. If you can use an existing charting, graphing and presentation package, or are familiar with charting procedures for advanced business and science applications, you will find that DeltaGraph has a familiar feel to it and is not difficult. The interface has that Windows look and is user-friendly.
New Features

There are new chart types as well as new features.

New Chart Types

  • Build-Up and Stacked Build-Up charts--allow you to plot several different categories that build up to a total. Each category's bar starts where the previous one leaves off;
  • Floating Bar and Floating Column charts--these charts specify the range of data in bar or column format, resulting in bars or columns that "float" above the category axis;
  • Segmentation charts (four types)--allow you to add a second value to categories on a column or bar chart. This second value is represented by the comparative widths of each column or bar;
  • Survival charts--can plot surviving elements, expressed either as absolute numbers or as percentages;
  • XY Column charts--are based on coordinate XY values.

Data View

  • 255 column by 32,000 row data range in each data page;
  • Minimum, maximum, and absolute value functions;
  • Import to selected cells in the data page.

Chart Page

  • Find and replace command;
  • 360-degree text object rotation;
  • Default settings for display of rulers and grids;
  • User-defined view scaling.

Chart Formatting

  • Axis breaks;
  • Offset (or "exploding") axis control;
  • Default chart settings for ticks, grids, and symbols, in Preferences;
  • Display of chart grids on top of data markers;
  • Enhanced show values options for chart annotation.

Technical/Scientific Features

  • Improved chart drawing speed for charts with symbols;
  • Error bars set by: percentages, standard error, standard sample deviation, fixed values, or user-defined variables; user-defined error bar width;
  • Outlier caps on box plots.

The program was easy to install. Since I was not familiar with the program, I went through the first few chapters of the User's Guide which gives you an overview of the program. It is one of the most thorough and impressive manuals that I have seen and it is full of step-by-step tutorials throughout and not just in the first few chapters. When I first looked at the manual, I thought, "this is going to be difficult." I have some background in charting but it is not extensive. I used the tutorials in Chapter 3, though, and produced three charts: (1) a 2-D XY line chart; (2) a 3-D area chart; and (3) a bullet chart. After I became accustomed to the four views and switching between them, I really had no problem.

The program has so many features, it would be impossible to discuss everything, so below, I will provide an overview of what I thought pertinent.

Interface--The interface is user-friendly. You can work in four different views and can switch easily between them using the view icons at the top and bottom of every page. The view window is in the middle, with a menu bar at the top of the screen. The number of commands displayed in the menu bar changes depending on which view you are in. There is a command bar, with icons, located directly below the menu bar. Many of the icons are common to all views while others are more specialized and appear only in certain views. There is a navigational bar at the bottom of every page and contains icons so you can switch views with a click of the mouse. In the data and chart view, there are also icons allowing you to add pages, flip through, or display a list of available pages in that view. In the chart view, there is a toolbox that contains the tools you use to modify chart objects and create or modify text and draw objects.

  1. Data view--consists of data pages where numerical data is entered for creating charts except text and organizational charts. This spreadsheet-like cell matrix can hold 255 columns by 32,000 rows. You can add any number of data pages to each document;
  2. Outliner view--consists of a single page, where text data is entered. The entries in the Outliner view also reflect the number of chart pages that have been created and the contents of each page;
  3. Chart view--consists of chart pages, where you view, modify, and enhance your chart once the data is plotted. You can add any number of chart pages to each document. Each page can hold numerous charts. In the chart view you have access to a toolbox and to a layout set window;
  4. Sorter view--consists of a single page, where you organize your complete document. This is where you can make global changes to all your chart pages such as Smart Layouts.You can reorder pages/slides and apply screen show transitions to chart pages in this view.

Chart Gallery--To select a chart type, you can use the Chart Gallery or the Chart Advisor. The Chart Gallery displays examples of all of the chart types that you can make with DeltaGraph. As you drag your mouse across each chart example, its chart type is displayed below the scroll bar. There are 70 chart types and over 200 chart styles and includes the 10 most requested chart types such as build-up and stacked build-up charts; floating bar and floating column charts; four types of segmentation charts; survival charts; and XY column charts.

Chart Advisor--There is a Chart Advisor for users who are unsure of the type of chart that would best suit their data. Based on the data you enter into the data page, and other selections you make in the chart advisor dialog, DeltaGraph offers one or more appropriate choices for a chart type.

Smart Layouts and Backgrounds--DeltaGraph also provides Smart Layouts and backgrounds. These layouts consist of place holders for charts, titles, text, graphics, and bullets. They serve as templates for assembling and arranging elements in a chart page. When you apply a Smart Layout, all elements are scaled automatically and labeled to fit the page; and when you change an element, every other element changes to fit the new pattern. A background, which can consist of any combination of graphics, text, colors, and patterns, sits behind everything else in a page or layout, acting as a backdrop for the other elements. Smart Layouts and backgrounds provide consistency between chart pages, documents, and slide presentations. Backgrounds and layouts can be saved and used again with other documents. You can use the preformatted layouts and backgrounds that come with DeltaGraph or make you own.

Graphics Library--DeltaGraph includes a graphics library. Items are shown in color thumbnails. You can use objects stored in the library by just dragging them from the library window onto your chart. You can build your own custom library and include any chart, draw, text, or imported graphic object. When you save a chart in a library, you have the option of saving the data along with it; thus you can transfer the data between documents later if you wish. Or you can save it as a template, then drag the template out of the library to plot the same chart using different data.

Data & Graphic Import/Export--You can import data in a variety of formats. And you can set links to the original imported data files so that any changes in imported files will automatically be reflected in DeltaGraph's data view. Graphics can be imported for illustrations, backgrounds, or even pictographic textures. Charts can be exported for use in word processing programs or presentation programs.

Editability of Charts--DeltaGraph allows you to have complete control over size, placement, color, and other chart attributes. There is an excellent toolbox with object-oriented drawing tools including rectangle, oval/circle, polygon, line, arrow, arc, bezier curve, and freehand tool. You can use 90 fixed and 32 custom colors chosen from a palette of up to 16.8 million colors for editing. You can save and load custom color palettes in CMYK, CMY, or RGB color schemes. DeltaGraph has a Design Science Equation Editor for annotation of charts with mathematical equations. You can change the default chart settings for ticks, grids, and symbols in Preferences. You can re-size charts along any axis independently; revise data in any existing chart; display chart grids on top of data markers; have user-defined chart depth and custom color blends; and automatic chart updates after changes in data.

Technical/Scientific Features--Technical users will appreciate DeltaGraph's power and flexibility. Curve fitting, error bars, logarithmic scaling, and mathematical functions can be used to present scientific and technical data.

Output--DeltaGraph produces high resolution PostScript output; can be sent to a variety of printers, including Linotronic and film printers.

Slide Show--You can prepare your charts for a slide show for presentation directly on the screen, as printed output, or as files to be printed by slide service bureaus. There are 32 graphic transition effects; and user-defined transition speed.

Personal Comments
DeltaGraph is an excellent program. It is a specialist that produces awesome charts, graphs, and tables and can be used by the novice or more technical user. The program outshines others with its diversity of charts and customization options. This is not a quickie chart program. If you only occasionally create a chart you might be satisfied with the charting features found in many spread sheet programs. But if you want really creative graphs for high-quality presentations, then your money couldn't be spent on a better program than DeltaGraph.
System Requirements
Processor: 386DX (486DX recommended for Windows 95/NT
Operating System: Windows 3.1, Windows NT, or Windows 95
Memory: 8 MB RAM (16 MB recommended for Windows 95/NT)
Hard Disk Space: 8 MB

Graphics: DeMorgan WebSpice 1,000,000 Page Design Edition
Web Page Editor: Symantec Visual Page