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st: RE: Hatched bars, again

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: RE: Hatched bars, again
Date   Fri, 6 Feb 2009 14:37:28 -0000

I am not clear on the connection here. 

Fred reports an exchange with an editor about the rendering of various
greys in a diagram in a paper. The diagram shows three box plots. 

Fred also used the title "hatched bars", which gave Sergiy a good
opportunity to remind us of his implementation of area shadings. 

Does Fred want to be able to fill the boxes of his box plots? 

I've always found informative text (which could be numeric) the simplest
way to distinguish different box plots. That applies where the plots are
for distinct groups, variables or combinations. 

Incidentally, although grey requires care, I've had no problems
publishing Stata-produced plots as diagrams in journals in my part of


Fred Wolfe

Although this subject has been aired before, I though this letter from
a journal copy editor to me might put the issues practically. I sent a
paired -graph box - with three shades of grey using scheme(s2mono).
Not one should worry, as I will fix it with the editor, but the letter
is interesting.

"Dr. Wolfe,

With respect, the artwork sent for this article  does not meet minimum
standards for print reproduction <snip> ...  you will note the fine
lines and details of the text and art are blurred and turning 'grey'
or disappearing. And complicating the problem, there's a frame of grey
shading all around the 2 graphs (an artefact from the original slide)
that will show up in print as a distracting mess of shadow.

As a general guideline, artwork intended for publication should be
prepared in black and white only, with no grey-colored shading or
lines, because material in grey cannot be printed clearly with good
contrast.  Where a different 'color' is needed to differentiate data
or columns, cross-hatching effects in black and white are useful.

As well, for best quality reproduction, it is best if charts and
graphs are sent to us in the original program in which they were
created (such as MicroSoft Word or Excel), not as "image scans" in
MicroSoft Document format. When an image is scanned, it inevitably
loses some sharpness of detail. But with artwork in the original
program we are sometimes able to make adjustments for clarity of

The department of publications at  one of the authors' institutions
may be able to assist in preparation of  good quality artwork that
communicates your data effectively.

Is it possible that better quality artwork could be prepared somehow?"

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