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Software for creating graphs for presentations

  1. Apr 11, 2014 #1


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    I was wondering if anyone has a suggestion for software that can be used to create good looking graphs for e.g Powerpoint presentations?
    | have access to a range of packages (Excel, Origin, Matlab) but none of them can create really "slick" locking graphs (but they are fine for figures in papers etc). I usually end up having to use non-standard parameters in Matlab (and occasionally Scipy) to get really good looking figures.
    I've have on occasion combined e.g. Matlab with e.g. GIMP to create figures. but surely there must be an easier way?

    Is there a software packages that focuses on the "visual" aspects of creating graphs?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2014 #2

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    What's a slick looking graph?

    Overly slick graphics will make your presentation a good candidate for addition to the world's worst PowerPoint presentations.

    The same attributes that make for a good publication quality graph apply to presentations. Keep it minimalistic. Everything that does not add meaning is dross. Get rid of that dross. Stop deleting only when your deletions start removing meaning.

    Powerpoint oftentimes brings out the worst in us. Fight that urge.
  4. Apr 14, 2014 #3


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    I think it depends on the audience:wink:

    I frequently have to present my work for various commitees and working groups (who to a large extent control my funding). These are mainly made up of people who know nothing about my work, are not really interested in what I do and by the time it is my turn to present they might have had to listen to 15 other presentations that that they were equally disinterested in.

    Hence, while I agree that one should avoid overly "creative" presentations it is neverthless important to present ones work in a way that looks as interesting and -for lack of a better word- professional as possible.

    Moreover, by "slick" I do not neccesarily mean 3D effects etc. I am more concerned about proper scaling of fonts and lines, good handling of backgrounds and colours (to make the graphs fit in with the our corporate template) etc.
  5. Apr 14, 2014 #4
    I used R to graph some stuff once. I found it very nice to use and very versatile.
    Here is an example to make xkcd style graphs http://evaleverything.com/2013/11/12/xkcd-style-graphs-with-r/ [Broken]
    I found that with a google search. It's definitely different from standard graphs.

    GNUplot is another option however I think it's rather hard to fully customize your graphs with GNUplot.

    These are just 2 options of the top of my head they have a learning curve though.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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