Introducing the Browser Graph

Introduction

There is a new family of graphs in Origin 2020b called Browser Graphs. They are designed for easy visual inspection of multiple datasets with the same structure such as test and measurement data. There are two line-plot based Browser Graphs- Black LinesColor Lines– and one histogram-based Browser Graph aptly named Histogram.

In this blog post, I’ll provide an overview of Browser Graphs along with an example of how Origin Gadgets may be used in conjunction with them to super power the visual inspection experience. Lastly, I’ll explain how to convert an existing graph to a Browser Graph.

A zipped Origin project file has been made available with examples of the three Browser Graphs. You may download it from here.

Data Arrangement

As mentioned previously, Browser Graphs are designed for use with multiple datasets with the same structure. For the two line plot-based Browser Graphs, the data shall either have a XY, XYXY, or XYYY column designation pattern while for the histogram-based Browser Graph, plot designations don’t matter so much. It is generally easiest to have all the data in one worksheet but it is possible to pull in data from other worksheets and workbooks that the primary one.

How Browser Graphs Work

To create a browser graph, you can either start by selecting one or more datasets from the active worksheet or not select any datasets. If datasets are selected, then those datasets will be available for use in the Browser Graph. If no datasets are selected, then all datasets in the active worksheet will be available. The graphs can be created from the Browser group in the Plot menu:

Here are examples of Black Line, Color Lines, and Histogram Browser Graphs (click on the images to enlarge them):

Black Lines- mutliple lines are displayed as black. Color Lines-  multiple lines are displayed using a stretched color map. Histogram- multiple histograms are displayed using a stretched colormap.

A Browser Graph is split into two parts- a control panel on the left and a plot area on the right (see below). The control panel  has a dataset list and a main menu button with a number of options. Additionally, the information displayed in the dataset list can be controlled  by a context menu accessed by right-clicking on the column headers. You can control which plots are displayed by selecting one or more datasets from the list using typical selection methods (e.g. click, Shift+click, Ctrl+click etc). The options available in the main menu are all fairly well self explanatory, so we won’t review them.

Finally, the width of the control panel can be adjusted and the plot area may be customized directly including legend, axes, color map used, etc.

Analyzing Data Displayed in Browser Plots

Besides simply viewing plots of datasets, you can use gadgets with Browser Graphs. The gadgets will automatically update when you change which plots you display in the plot area. Of course, you can also change which plot is being analyzed from the gadget too. Here is an example of the Quick Fit operating on a Browser Graph:

It should be noted that you may have to manually adjust the top of the layer to accommodate gadget display.

Converting an Existing Graph to a Browser Graph

It is possible to convert an existing graph to a Browser Graph using a simple LabTalk command. Currently this is experimental (your mileage may vary) but it will be improved in future versions of Origin and incorporated into the GUI. Both single-layer, multi-plot and multi-layer, multi-plot graphs can be converted though only the simpler plot types are supported (e.g. line, scatter, line+symbol, column, etc).

To convert a single-layer, multi-plot graph, simply open the Command Window from the main Window menu, copy and paste the following LabTalk command at the prompt, and hit the Enter key:

To convert a multi-layer, multi-plot graph, there is an important first step to take prior to running the above command.

  1. Open Plot Details dialog.
  2. Select the graph page level in the tree control on the left panel of the dialog.
  3. Navigate to the Layers tab on the right side of the dialog.
  4. Enable Show/Hide Plots with Same and select Index (see illustration below).
  5. Click OK to close the dialog.
  6. Now run the LabTalk command in the Command Window as I explained above.

* I prefer the Command Window because it has a command history that lets you bring back previously run commands using the arrow keys.

Conclusion

Browser Graphs are a great way to visualize and analyze multiple same-structured datasets such as test and measurement data. If you work with that type of data, we urge you to try using Browser Graphs.

Finally, Thanks for reading this blog post.

About Chris Drozdowski

Chris Drozdowski is a Product Support Engineer at OriginLab. He loves to talk to customers and educate them. He particularly relishes diagnosing and solving difficult, edge-case issues. As well, he contributes code to help solve problems or enhance user experience. In his down time at work, he likes to research and write about esoteric product features. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, having fun with C++, working on his aquarium, and exploring craft beers.

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4 Comments on “Introducing the Browser Graph”

  1. Thanks, it is a very useful tool, but I have a problem of this tool. My plot does not have the brower graphs function. The version of my originpro is 2020b, and I don’t know where to find this tools except the plot menu.

    1. Hi Kate,

      I amended the blog post to add a section at the end about how you can convert an existing graph to a browser graph!

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