Preparing Effective Figures – Interactive tutorial

The purpose of this tutorial is to help you develop critical thinking skills that are needed to present data effectively in graphical form. It will cover some graphing fundamentals, criteria for selecting a plot type, and will show you how to generate a publishable figure using Microsoft Excel. It will finish with some question sets so that you can test your expertise. You can complete the tutorial with or without Excel, but if you have the program you might benefit by setting up your screen with the browser window next to a blank Excel spreadsheet. If you have little or no experience working with actual data you may first wish to peruse the companion articles listed below.

Also available is a tutorial on using "Student's t test." The graphing exercises employed Microsoft Excel 2004 for Macintosh. A premise here is that your experience with personal computers will enable you to work around minor inconsistencies between your particular Excel version and the instructions given here.

This tutorial is intended to be a learning experience. Please try to answer the questions correctly, however there is no penalty for incorrect answers. You may stop the tutorial and resume from the same point by bookmarking the current page when you break away.