There are many different ways to represent data: pie charts, scatter plots, linear plots, and bar plots to name just a few. There are several tools to utilize when creating figures and graphs, and knowing a few of them can save you a lot of time. Depending on the type of data and visualization you are trying to create there is a dedicated tool that will help you achieve your goal. The purpose of this guide is to introduce you with open-source tools, and licensed software at UVa that will help you create publication quality figures and graphs.
General Considerations when deciding which tools to use.
Below are some recommendations of open-source tools and UVa licensed software for creating your publication figures and images. For a full list of software titles available to students, faculty and staff at UVa visit Information Technology services website.
For plotted graphs, charts and Statistics:
OriginPro - OriginPro is a software application that combines point-and-click interfaces for scientific graphing and analysis with a powerful programming environment. OrginPro can be configured for the each journal figure template. Available from UVa Software Gateway.
R – Open Source programming tool. Provides a wide variety of statistical (classical statistical tests, linear and nonlinear modeling, time-series analysis, clustering, etc.) and graphical techniques, and is highly extensible, but it has a steep learning curve.
Excel- Relatively easier to use than other tools, nice chart options, can produce graphics quickly when data is ready. A disadvantage of Excel is that you cannot really create eye-catching graphics, and you lose a lot of data analysis capability and figure resolution. Available from UVa Software Gateway as part of Microsoft Suite office.
MATLAB-MATLAB is a high-level language and interactive environment for numerical computation, visualization, and programming. Provides a great variety of functions and techniques for graphical display of data, good choice for creating complex graphs. Available from UVa Software Gateway.
Inkscape: professional vector graphics editor. It allows you to design complex figures, it is free, and a nice alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
GIMP: An application for tasks such as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. Free and nice alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
GNU Plot- Open source platform, created to allow scientists and researchers to visualize mathematical functions and data interactively, but has grown to support many non-interactive uses such as web scripting.
SolidWorks- SolidWorks is a tool used for 2D and 3D drawing, parametric modeling and 3D viewing. Available from UVa Software Package