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Re: st: Suggestions for Second Edition of A Visual Guide to Stata Graphics

From   Fred Wolfe <>
Subject   Re: st: Suggestions for Second Edition of A Visual Guide to Stata Graphics
Date   Wed, 25 Jul 2007 05:45:30 -0500

This has been an extraordinarily useful book. For me, much more useful that the Stata manual which I pick up mostly in desperation.

The index could be improved. Often when I am looking for a type of modification, it is listed within another heading. This leads to having to search many headings.

You might consider addressing common issues that have occurred on the Stata list: How can I do this or that?

For bar and dot graphs, orientation is almost exclusively to over() and by(). But I often have to make such graphs under circumstances where over groups are not mutually exclusive. For example, instead of having an over group for drugs that patients might take, I have situations where patients take more than one drug, making the over group option useless to me. So I would very much like to see an expanded section on handling overlapping groups - or non-grouped data. Too much group stuff for me, but perhaps not for others.

Consider adding references and examples to graph programs that are not basic Stata, catplot, eclplot, ,running, etc. I use these programs a lot.

More detail on grids and how to manipulate them.

Perhaps because I don't use them frequently, I still find -ascategory- and -asyvars- confusing. Perhaps a general explanation? Definition of axes.

Although I am used to it, I still find it irksome that some graphs have no x axis, when I want to label that axis.

Converting proportions to percentages is a frequent task. Maybe adding some lines of code to do simple tasks like this would be helpful. Consider adding utilities to do common labeling tasks. Make them available on the web as you do with your schemes. Maybe we should have an ado category of graph utilities.

Stata's automatic assignment of gray scales to mono graphs isn't very helpful (for publications) when there are many categories. Redoing this by hand is a pain. A utility here (and tips as to how to do things like this) would be useful.

Based on comments on the list, a list of things that Stata's graphs can't do but many people want would also be useful. Would that some such issues had been resolved in Stata 10.

Consider examples that require programs to generate data that will be used later (as in kdensity and others).

Consider a section on how to make your own schemes.

Gives us more of your nice schemes.

Add a timer to Stata to compare the time a user spends making graphs compared with analyzing data - Sorry, a joke, but a reminder that one can spend hours making graphs!

Great book.


At 11:03 PM 7/24/2007, Michael Mitchell wrote:


 I am working on the Second Edition of "A Visual Guide to Stata
Graphics". This is not only an opportunity to update the book to
reflect features added to Stata since the first edition, but it is
also a chance to add new material as well. While I already have many
ideas, I wanted to seek input from the list for your thoughts of what
could be added to the Second Edition that would make it more useful
for readers. I would love to hear your comments and suggestions,
especially if you own the first edition and would like to suggest
improvements. You can either reply to the list (to share your thoughts
with everyone including myself), or you can write me privately via mnm
at ucla dot edu. I would be grateful for your input.

Best regards,

Michael N. Mitchell
Author of A Visual Guide to Stata Graphics
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Fred Wolfe
National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases
Wichita, Kansas
Tel +1 316 263 2125

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