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RE: st: Absolute point size in Stata schemes

From   "Svend Juul" <SJ@SOCI.AU.DK>
To   <>
Subject   RE: st: Absolute point size in Stata schemes
Date   Thu, 5 Oct 2006 22:49:51 +0200

Bill wrote:
The scale option is very useful.  Still it would be nice if it were
possible to choose between absolute and relative sizes when designing
Stata schemes.  The scale option does require a little trial and error
to get the precise appearance that one is looking for.

To me it is not a choice between absolute and relative size. This is hardly an exact science, but to get a visually appealing - and readable - graph, I think that:
- for a small graph, use a small absolute, but a large relative text size.
- for a large graph, use a large absolute, but a small relative text size.
Illustrated by these examples:
1.  twoway (scatter mpg weight), xsize(6) ysize(4)
2.  twoway (scatter mpg weight), xsize(3) ysize(2)
3.  twoway (scatter mpg weight), xsize(3) ysize(2) scale(2)
4.  twoway (scatter mpg weight), xsize(3) ysize(2) scale(1.5)
Example 1 and 2 have the same relative text and marker size; example 2 is hardly readable.
Example 1 and 3 have the same absolute text and marker size; example 3 is ugly, in my mind.
Example 4 is a decent compromise.
It may be possible to create a formula taking these things into account, and to make a wrapper for graph commands utilizing the formula, but I am not sure that it is worth the effort.
Svend Juul
Institut for Folkesundhed, Afdeling for Epidemiologi
(Institute of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology)
Vennelyst Boulevard 6 
DK-8000 Aarhus C,  Denmark 
Phone, work:  +45 8942 6090 
Phone, home:  +45 8693 7796 
Fax:          +45 8613 1580 

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