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st: -tableplot- available on SSC

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: -tableplot- available on SSC
Date   Wed, 25 Feb 2004 17:24:18 -0000

Thanks to Kit Baum, a new package -tableplot- has been added 
to SSC. Stata 8 is required. To install, 

. ssc inst tableplot 

If this seems like déjà lu, please note that -tableplot- is 
not -tabplot-. 

What -tabplot- does is 

1 Calculate for a two-way table cell frequencies, fractions 
or percents 

2 Show them as a "table" of bars. It is just a wrapper for 
-twoway rbar-. 

What -tableplot- does is different. 

1 You have to specify something to be plotted. That 
must be something that takes just one value for each 
cell of a two-way table. This has to exist as a variable 
beforehand. It could be say a set of residuals from a model, 
or a summary statistic of some response for the cells
of a two-factor table.  

2 You must choose -rbar-, -rspike-, -rcap- or -rcapsym- 
as a -twoway- plottype. (I miss an -rdropline- for what 
have been called lollipop plots, in which the point 
symbol on the end of a spike emphasises direction: 

In the next version I may emulate that anyway.) 

In these programs, I'm playing in public. Sometimes 
I draw the graphs, and think "There is no gain over 
a table here: in fact a table is much better!". Sometimes
the graphs make something more evident, or more vivid. 
Of course, most graphs never make it to the printed page
anyway, and a useless graph is just a few seconds' work
discarded, once the program exists. But if anyone finds 
these programs useful (-tabplot- or -tableplot-) I'd 
appreciate a private note, with comment on what helped. 

This should find a formal outlet in Stata Journal 4(2) 
to appear in June. Stata Journal 4(1) includes 
a piece on graphing distributions and should be out 
next month. 

This is also a partly a reaction to mosaic displays 
or mosaic plots, which can be found in the literature 
or on the web. There is an excellent introductory 
tutorial at

and mosaic plots are available in various other programs
(e.g. R, as the provenance above would lead you to expect).

It's a very neat idea, and attractive because they extend 
to multi-way tables. A Stata implementation would be 
most welcome. In practice they require more getting used 
to than the rather conservative plots produced by -tabplot- 
or -tableplot-, as you have to learn to focus not on the 
area encoding but on lengths along one axis. 

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