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Re: st: overlaid dashed lines in kdensity?

From (Vince Wiggins, StataCorp)
Subject   Re: st: overlaid dashed lines in kdensity?
Date   Mon, 24 Feb 2003 11:09:49 -0600

I would like to expand just a bit on Jeff's <> answer to 
Anders Alexandersson <> question about why Anders does not
see dashed lines like those in the manual when he types the same command as
shown in the manual.  Jeff notes that,

> [...] All the graphs in [R] were produced using the -s1manual-
> scheme.
> 	. set scheme sj
> Will draw the normal density with dashed lines, and the graph will
> be the new standard size for the Stata Journal.

Schemes are an integral part of the new graphics system and we think they will
be very useful.  It is possible to create schemes for particular journals,
e.g. Econometrica or Journal of Medicine, or as standards for your own working
papers or reports.  We expect to see new schemes posted and traded much like

Set your graphics scheme to fit your needs

If you primarily produce graphs that are to be included in black-and-white
documents, I would recommend that you type,

     . set scheme s2mono , permanent

or, if you primarily produce graphs for the Stata Journal,

     . set scheme sj , permanent

These commands will permanently set your graphics scheme to be either -s2mono-
or -sj-.

Why would I recommend that?  These two scheme are designed specifically for
grayscale output.  They use dashed lines rather than colors to distinguish
lines and use carefully chosen grayscales rather than colors to distinguish
bars, pie slices, and other shaded items.  If you primarily produce output for
use in black-and-white documents, these schemes will let you see on the screen
almost exactly what will be put in those documents when you cut-and-paste or
export your Stata graph.

Why then is the default scheme -s2color-, a color scheme?  It is much easier
for the human mind to decode some types of graph imagery when it is in color.
Symbols plotted in yellow and red are easier for the eye to distinguish that
are symbols plotted in two grayscales.  In fact, colored symbols of the same
shape and different colors are easier to decode that symbols of different
shapes.  There is just more information content and content that is more
easily decoded in a color graph.

Even if you usually use graphs to look at your data, and only occasionally
produce black-and-white graphs for publication, I would recommend using the
-sj- or -s2mono- schemes while you are working on graphs for publication.
Once you have your graphs in your document, you can switch back to a color

Tweak your graphics scheme

The only difference between the -s2mono- and -sj- graphics schemes is the size
of the graph (and you will not be able to see this on the screen).  The
-s2mono- scheme produces graphs that are 5.5" wide and 4" tall while the -sj-
scheme produces graphs that are 3.575" by 2.6".  We like the smaller size for
the Journal because the Journal is printed on 7.25" by 9.25" inch stock, and
the smaller graphs give us more flexibility in placement and thereby a
prettier publication.

What does the -sj- scheme-file look like?  This is the sj.scheme file in its

---------------------------------- BEGIN --- sj.scheme --- CUT HERE -------
*                                    sj.scheme

* Stata Journal scheme

*  version 1.0.2  29jan2003

#include s2mono

graphsize x           3.575
graphsize y           2.6

----------------------------------   END --- sj.scheme --- CUT HERE -------

The top seven lines are just comments or blank lines.  The line

      #include s2mono

includes all of the contents of s2mono scheme (file s2mono.scheme) into the
-sj- scheme.  The final two lines -graphsize x ...- and -graphsize y ...- just
change the default size of graphs for the -sj- scheme.  Other than the default
size, the two schemes are identical.  

If you want your graphs to take up take up 5 vertical inches in your papers
and be 6.5 inches wide, you could create your own scheme file, say

------------------------------- BEGIN --- myscheme.scheme --- CUT HERE -------
#include s2mono

graphsize x  6.5
graphsize y  5
-------------------------------   END --- myscheme.scheme --- CUT HERE -------

and place it anywhere along your adopath -- type adopath to see what directories
this includes and place the file in the directory marked "(PERSONAL)".

You can then access the new scheme in any of the standard ways,

      . set scheme myscheme                // use -myscheme- for this session

      . set scheme myscheme, permanently   // use -myscheme- always

      . graph ... , scheme(myscheme)       // use -myscheme- for this graph

What if you don't like the light gray background that is used by -s2mono- to
set the graph off from the rest of the document?  We can add one line to
-myscheme.scheme- to set this background to be white,

     color background  white

The possibilities for control, if not endless, are nearly so.  If you want to
see the full list of things that can be controlled from a scheme, look at the
file s2color.scheme (type -which s2color.scheme- to find the file).  Note, do
NOT modify this file.  Rather, copy s2color.scheme to another directory and
with a name of your choosing and edit that file.  Better still -#include
s2color- into your file as we did above with s2mono, then add lines to change

The format and content of scheme-files is not currently documented, but as
Phil Schumm <> noted in a much earlier post, "[...] the
syntax seems pretty straightforward and easy to work with."

-- Vince

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