I would like to create some visual aids for illustrating principles in statistics, similar to the kind of graphic found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_regression#/media/File:Anscombe%27s_quartet_3.svg.

One choice is manually drawing such graphics in google slides or other slide/presentation software. Are there better, easier, more efficient tools for doing this?

Here is another example of the kind of illustration wanted: Infographic that shows permutations and combinations of dice


The style of your example graphics is very similar to matplotlib, an extremely popular graphics package for the Python computer language. The package was designed to produce "publication quality figures" and version 2 made this even more so than version 1.

The main disadvantage of matplotlib is that it requires programming in Python. There is no standalone, GUI package of it that I know of. On the other hand, that makes it extremely configurable.

  • $\begingroup$ Knowledge of python is not necessarily a disadvantage. Converting images to quantities is, however, prohibitive. I could reproduce the images with no knowledge of the numerical values underlying them. That is, in fact, my intent. Another example would be to use apples and oranges in the construct of bar charts, something that is suggestive more of graphic design than code manipulation; $\endgroup$ – Mark Jones Jr. Jun 4 '18 at 11:19

MS Excel is one way... eh... just for things like box plots and (non linear) regressions ... doesn't look nice - personal opinion.

I guess the graphics you linked to are made using tinkerplots.

But any good stat's program will allow you to create graphics. Usually I teach with R so that's the tool of my choice. In combination with knitr - i find it very useful.

  • $\begingroup$ Your description would allow the creation of plots, but consider, for example, a bar chart made of apples and oranges. This is not a capability in excel, and it is closer to what I desire. $\endgroup$ – Mark Jones Jr. Jun 4 '18 at 11:20

Use MSFT Excel. It is the defacto standard (even for people with fancier programs). Download the Analysis addin, if it is not active already (free, but often not enabled because of saving disk space).

The presentation may be a little ugly but you can pretty it up (adjust the default colors, eliminate gridlines, etc.) There are other dedicated stats programs with a little bit prettier default output (but again, you can pretty up Excel charts to look better).

Also, for people very serious about chart appearance (e.g. book publishers, analyst reports), you have a graphics artist redo the chart in a drawing program.

But really for classroom use, working research, etc., Excel is the default.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you certain? As for working research, e.g. within social science but also in business and finance, industry standard still seems to be SPSS. I see a lot of college courses using JMP, not Excel - or any other spreadsheet. $\endgroup$ – SCS Jun 3 '18 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I am certain. I haven't just read about it, but have worked as an analyst in finance and social sciences. Those are the more sophisticated, expensive, tools. But anyone using them should have mastered Excel also. For one thing, you frequently will use Excel to manage data files and inputs for programs like that. For some teacher putting charts together (as shown)? Basic regressions? Excel all the way. (P.s. I have pretty good experience in DOE and use of SPSS, Tableau, etc.) $\endgroup$ – guest Jun 4 '18 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ Your description would allow the creation of plots, but consider, for example, a bar chart made of apples and oranges. This is not a capability in excel, and it is closer to what I desire. $\endgroup$ – Mark Jones Jr. Jun 4 '18 at 11:21
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    $\begingroup$ You've significantly upped the cool factor from your previous examples (in your explanation). I still don't think a stats program is your need. What you want is beautiful graphics. But the data analysis is not tricky. I would use a drawing program or pay a graphic artist for doing them (not joking), based on your high cool factor wanted. You can look at Thinkcel (I bought it and is common for high end business consultants). Does waterfalls and Gant and bubble charts well (Excel doesn't). But it may still not do your domino or apple graphs. $\endgroup$ – guest Jun 4 '18 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ You could also try the graphic design (first) and cross validate (second) stack exchanges. Seriously, though, unless you want to become a designer, if prettied up Excel/PPT is not good enough for you, I would just do the analysis and then sketch the charts you want (on paper) and then pay a designer to do them for you. I don't think the cost/benefit is there for you to teach yourself to make these super fancy charts or to buy the graphic design packages and become familiar with them. $\endgroup$ – guest Jun 4 '18 at 13:23

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