A mathematically challenged person will always prefer looking at a graph rather than get his hands dirty by creating one. The visual impact of graph is second to none as it goes about explaining complex data with colorful lines, bars, and pies. It’s just the behind the scenes hard work of plotting all the data that makes us shake our heads in a negative nod. Tools like Excel have made it easier with their graph tools. But couldn’t they be made simpler? A freeware program for Windows called Graphs Made Easy says – why not!
Graphs Made Easy ver.3.1 is a 2 MB download and makes cool graphs in minutes on all Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 machines. The analogy I can offer is that GME is like MS Paint while the ‘complex’ Excel is more like Photoshop.
The start of your first graph is simple – you choose the kind of graph you want to create. GME supports line, pie, bar, stack, series, and area graph types. These graphs can have date values or numbers on the X – axis.
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Graphs Made Easy avoids templates and wizards, and takes the straightforward route of values for the X-axis and Y-axis. For instance, let’s take the example of a simple line-graph with dates on the X-axis.
Plotting the graph involves entering Y-axis values for each value on X-axis. Hovering over the points displays their values. You can just as easily click the points and edit the values.
With the graph plotted, you can add grid lines by inserting a few axis markers. You can set axis markers for both axes.
You can always add or edit by clicking on each axis marker. For instance, you can change the format of the dates with just a click.
Grid lines give the visual a graph like feel and make it easier to understand the intervals of the graph. The cosmetic properties of the grid lines (color, dash style, opacity) can also be changed just as easily.
Finally, you might like to put in finishing touches like stylizing the legend…
And entering a label that’s descriptive of your graph.
This simple tutorial demonstrates that every aspect of the graphs is customizable. Depending on the graph type, some tools change. The tools are very intuitive and the ‘learning graph’ of GME is very shallow. GME comes with a well explained help file. A quick browse through the features and the screenshot page on the programs website will help you become acquainted with the nifty features of this graphing tool.