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Plotting a 3 variable (X,Y,Z) graph

  1. #1
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    Question Plotting a 3 variable (X,Y,Z) graph

    Hello all,

    Short question:
    Is it possible to plot a graph with 3 variables? If so, how?

    Long question:
    I have a data set which should correlate measured speed particles with distance and effective charge (explosives). Several equations allow me to estimate this speed. I used Excel Linear regression tool on each equation and one of the best results comes from a three variable equation. Now, to I would very much like to present the results in a graph. For this kind of analysis I usually use scatter point graph. However I tried to use the 3D graphs to be able to incorporate the third variable. This did not work (or I did not do it correctly). Anyone have encountered this problem before?

    Thanks!

    David
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    Re: Plotting a 3 variable (X,Y,Z) graph

    There are several ways to do it. Though I'm not sure exactly what end result you are looking for.

    1. 3 axis line plot. Basically you overlay 2nd graph on top of first and use shape grouping to make it into single plot.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpR8QvC6pAA

    While it's not fancy as 3d chart, advantage is that it's easier to read values.

    2. 3d plot
    Basically you arrange data in to matrix (i.e mesh format)
    However, with this, you'll get visual misrepresentation, without some method to fill in the gaps (curve).

    You may find below article helpful.
    http://www.graytechnical.com/blog/ho...crosoft-excel/

    Alternately you can use free add-in like XonGrid to plot your graph. Rather than create mesh matrix manually.
    http://xongrid.sourceforge.net/

    Other approach is to use add-in that allows you to leverage more robust data visualization library (python, R etc).
    Using tool such as xlWings.
    https://www.xlwings.org/
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  3. #3
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    Re: Plotting a 3 variable (X,Y,Z) graph

    Excel does not have good support for 3D scatter charts. In addition to CK76's suggestions:

    1) You might find this interesting: http://andypope.info/charts/3drotate.htm It's still a 2D scatter chart, but with appropriate formulas and lines, we give it the illusion of 3D.

    2) I often like to plot "contour" plots -- 2D scatter plots with multiple data series for different contours. Plot y vs x at different values/groups for z or z vs y at different values/groups for x or however you want.

    3) And, as CK 76 mentioned, you can also look outside Excel for this, since there are other charting engines that have built in support for 3D scatter charts.
    Quote Originally Posted by shg
    Mathematics is the native language of the natural world. Just trying to become literate.

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