Do you really want to make some powerful graphical representations? If so, then at some point you probably need to commit to learning how to use programs that either come pre-installed on many computers (e.g., Apple’s Numbers), are cloud-based (e.g., Google Sheets), or can be acquired by purchasing software bundles such as Microsoft Office or Microsoft Office for MAC.
These programs are often not quite as intuitive as some of the other options I’ve shared on SCIENCEsEDiment, but in the end they will most likely allow for the creation of more sophisticated, more customizable, and more eye-pleasing graphs and charts. If you plan on going to college or university, it’s pretty safe to assume that you’ll need to learn how to use at least one of these programs very well. Why not start now?
The links and sections below are meant to act simply as jumping off points to some reliable tutorials devoted to using these graphing programs. They assume that you have little knowledge of them. In other words, advanced users of these programs will probably find little new information on them.
MICROSOFT EXCEL (PC)
Click HERE to see step-by-step tutorials on how to use Excel. It covers both basic techniques (entering raw data, formula entry, cell displays, basic graphing) and advanced techniques (such as importing raw data, creating various kinds of graphs, culling data, formatting graphs, and using descriptive statistics in graphs–error bars).
MICROSOFT EXCEL (MAC)
(But the links above are often useful for MAC Excel users too…)
GOOGLE SPREADSHEETS on Google Drive
MAC OS X GRAPHER
Grapher is a program that is already built-in to all Apple computers running on Mac OS X. I didn’t know this until one of my middle school students first brought it to my attention in 2012. Although I will try to write more about this useful graphing tool in the future, in the meantime try out one the links below to see some useful (but brief!) tutorials for beginning users.
- Getting started (A tutorial by a knowledgeable Blogger complete with screenshots)
- How to use Grapher (A quick video tutorial)