SigmaPlot New Features

SigmaPlot New Features

SigmaPlot has new features to make your work easier (click on the below links)

New Graph Type (via Macro)

UI Modifications for Improved User Experience

Analysis Features

Miscellaneous Items

New Graph Type (Via a Macro)

Heat Map
Clustered Heat Maps Macro
Description of Heat Maps

A clustered heat map is a visualization of numeric data assigned to the levels of two categorical variables. This type of data can be displayed in a table where the rows refer to the levels of one variable and the columns refer to the levels of the other variable. The data table is typed into a SigmaPlot worksheet.

A heat map for this two-way data is constructed as a rectangular array of solid colors. The dimensions of the array and the positions of its individual color cells match the arrangement of the heat map data in the worksheet. The methods of assigning colors to data values are discussed below.

Heat maps assist in visualizing variations in the density of values in the data table. Put another way, heat maps are used to identify clusters of data.


The primary benefit of heat maps is that they make complicated data simpler to understand than the output of many other graphical or numerical techniques. One of the original applications of heat maps that is frequently used is to examine population density in a city or region. Heat maps are used by professionals in a variety of different fields:

Input Data

Worksheet data for a heat map is arranged in a number of columns. One column is for column labels and another column is for row labels. These labels appear on the axes for the heat map. You are allowed to create a heat map without providing labels.

The data to be selected for the heat map must be entered in adjoining columns. The number of rows of data can vary among the columns. When the heat map is created, the number of rows in the heat map equals the maximum number of rows in the selected data. Non-numeric data is allowed in the data table, but will be treated as missing values. The color assigned to a missing value is transparent.

One more column is needed for a color palette that will be used to generate the heat map colors. The palette is created by the user by using the Insert Graphic Cells dialog, the transform language, or manually by typing in a color code.

The colors assigned to the worksheet data depend on whether a discrete or continuous color scale is selected. The scales are based on the palette in the color column. For discrete color scales, the color column often uses an existing color scheme of 7 to 10 colors. For continuous color scales, the color column often contains only two or three colors, but can contain more.

Examples of heat map data are accessed from the Macro Data button in the Samples Files group on the Help tab of the SigmaPlot ribbon. When the button is pressed, the Macro Data Sets notebook opens in the Notebook Manager and heat map examples are provided in three sections.

An example of input data for heat maps is shown below.


The Create Heat Map macro is accessed by pressing the Heat Map button in the Graphing Tools group on the Tools tab of the SigmaPlot ribbon. When running the macro, a dialog box appears for setting options to create a heat map. The settings are:

If using a discrete color scale, the first color of the color column is assigned to the minimum of the data and the last color of the color column is assigned to the maximum of the data. The range of the data is then divided up uniformly into groups and the data within each group is assigned to the corresponding color in the palette.

The Create Heat Map macro dialog box is shown below with settings made for the worksheet data shown above.

If using a continuous color scale, the first color of the color column or default color palette is assigned to the minimum of the data and the last color of the color column or default color palette is assigned to the maximum of the data. Linear interpolation on the components of the palette colors is used to assign a color to a particular data value based on the proportion of the data range for locating that data value.

The settings in the dialog are saved to a text file in the user’s profile folder after pressing the OK button. When relaunching the macro, the dialog controls will show the same settings as before.


After pressing the OK button, the macro code computes the graph data for the heat map, color bar, and data table plot, depending on the selected settings. After the graph data is placed in the worksheet, the graphing code in the macro creates a graph page showing the selected plots.

The heat map graph data consists of a rectangular array of all 1s that has the same dimensions as the heat map’s data table. The heat map is actually created as a horizontal stacked bar chart and this array is used to set the number and relative size of the bars for the heat map. In addition, there is a column of color data for the heat map where the number of colors in the column equals the number of cells in the data table. This gives a total of N + 1 columns for the graph data of a heat map where N is number of columns in the input data table.

The data table symbol plot contains three columns of graph data. The first two columns give the coordinate positions of the data values in the heat map. The last column is a list of all data values in the data table, column by column, but converted to text as is needed for a symbol plot.

The color bar also contains three columns of graph data. A vertical (horizontal) color bar is created as a horizontal (vertical) bar chart. If using a continuous color scale, the first column consists of 101 numeric values that uniformly span the range of the heat map data. The second column consists of 101 values, all equal to 1, for setting the size of the bars. The last column applies the color scale to the first column of data values to generate 101 colors for the color bar. If using a discrete color scale, then the same types of columns are created, but each column has the same number of rows as the color column selected in the dialog.

For the above worksheet data and setting shown above in the dialog, the heat map appears as below. After the graph is created, the Graph Properties dialog can be used for any desired edits.

UI Modifications for Improved User Experience

New and refreshed Ribbon Manager

This refreshed ribbons manager enhances the user experience providing the user with easy navigation across the various functions of SigmaPlot v15.

New Home Button
Separate Macros Tab
Expanded Help
Ribbons Configuration functionality available via a Quick Access Tab
Histograms group on Analysis Tab
New Tools Tab
Dot Density Macro

Analysis Features

Result Graphs
User-Defined Transform Dialog

Miscellaneous Items

Changed clipboard format for Excel to CF_SYLK
New Licensing System
Removed older Microsoft VS 2005 Redistributable

The new SigmaPlot v15 Removes all dependencies on old Visual Studio 2005 redistributable by replacing older software for graph export

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