prettying up graphs

by Nate Hekman on December 17, 2007

You’ve used graphs, contour plots, flow lines, and a myriad other techniques to analyze your data to death.  Now it’s time to write up a report to present to your client or your supervisor.  Let’s look at a some of the options Draw Graph gives you for making your graphs report-worthy.

I need to make it clear that among our primary goals when designing GeoStudio is to give you the information you need.  We try to make it as easy as possible to put that data in a report, but if you want flashy 3D graphs with all the bells and whistles of Excel, well, I’ll show you how you can get the raw data out of GeoStudio to import into Excel.

First, though, lets look at how you can tweak the looks of GeoStudio graphs.

Graph Options

We’ll start with the three superimposed graphs we looked at last week.

Default look of multi-selected graphs

But we want to spruce it up a bit, give it a title, a better label on the y axis, and so on. 

Everything we need is under the “More” button just below the graph.  (Or you can right-click on the graph.)

“More” options for tweaking graphs

First off you’ll notice this is where you go to print the graph or copy it (the image or the data) to the clipboard.  I’ll come back to the Copy and Export options in a bit.

What we’re interested in right now, though, is Options.

Graph Options

These options should be pretty self-explanatory so I won’t describe them in detail.  All these options are saved with the specific graph you’re working with, so they’ll be remembered the next time you view that graph. 

A note of caution:  if you’ve selected multiple graphs, the options will NOT be saved.  They’re only remembered as long as you have those same graphs selected.  So set things up how you want them for your report, print or copy the graph, then bid them adieu.

In our case I’m going to go with a larger font, so I click the “Font…” button and increase the size.  This font size is the size used for the axes–the graph title will always be larger.

Next I check the “Use Custom Labels” and give my graph a title.  I’ll add the word “Cumulative” to the vertical axis.

I want the y axis to start at zero, so I’ll uncheck “Use Auto Scales”.  Any fields that are left blank will use default values, so I can type in 0 for the lower Y Axis Range and leave all the others blank.

“Rotate 90°” really means “flip the x and y axes”.  That’s especially useful if you’re graphing something vs distance where distance is in the y direction, or vs y coordinate.  I’ll leave it alone for my graphs.

If you’re going to print the graph on a black & white printer, you may want to turn off the “Color” option and/or turn on the “Styled Lines” to more easily differentiate the three plots.

That’s all I’ll do.  If you were following along with your own graph you’ll have noticed that as soon as you make a change, the graph reflects the change immediately so you can be sure it looks the way you want.

After tweaking the titles and fonts

Exporting Data to Excel

Sometimes GeoStudio’s graphing options aren’t enough, or you want to manipulate the data more to view it in different ways. 

Anything you can graph, you can export.

In the menu we saw earlier under the “More” button, use the Copy Graph Data to copy the x and y coordinates of the graph to the clipboard.  You can then paste into Excel or another spreadsheet.

The “Export Data (csv)” option is very similar.  This command lets you type a file name, saves the data as a .csv file (“comma-separated values”, a standard file format that many applications such as spreadsheets understand), then opens the file using the .csv file reader registered with your system (such as Excel).  The data is the same as the Copy Graph Data, it just saves you the effort of opening your spreadsheet application yourself.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }


Erica 02.01.10 at 8:04 pm

I have been creating graphs of SEEP analyses and I have noticed that the time steps listed in the ‘select time’ box do not cover all those that have been analysed. For example, I may have 13 daughter analyses each covering between 3 and 500 days. If I open the graph from within the contour page of the last analysis it might only list the time steps from the previous 5 analyses. (but this seems to vary between my files). I then have to copy or export this data, and open the graph again from the earlier time step (lets say analysis 7) to get a complete picture. Is there something i should be ticking off or changing here so that i can create a graph from time zero through to my final time step?


Nate 02.02.10 at 9:49 am

GeoStudio will only graph across analyses of the same type. So if you have a chain of, say, seep-seep-sigma-sigma, you’ll only be able to graph across sigma-sigma or seep-seep, not all four.

If that’s not the issue in your case, I’d be happy to take a look at your file. You can email it to me at hekman at


Nate 02.03.10 at 11:21 am

Thanks for sending me that file, Erica. Turns out what you’re seeing is a bug in the version of GeoStudio you are using. It has been fixed in the latest release, so I encourage you to upgrade (it’s a free upgrade).


Javier 04.07.11 at 6:45 am

Hi Nate,

Thanks for all the information you have shared here. I have a 2D vertical section where we are analyzing the pore-pressure distribution. I need to export the results for the entire mesh in a “XY-Pore Pressure” format.

I remember in previous versions of Seep/W a button where I could select “View Data Only” which allowed me to export the results in that format. In the latest version, the only way I have found to do this is to use the “View result information” button and to select all the nodes in the mesh. However this adds a ton of unwanted information (like X, Y and XY-condutivities) which is very CPU demanding, slowly, and produce very large files. Is there any way to overcome this?

Thanks in advance


Nate 04.07.11 at 11:33 am

View Result Information is the right way to do this in version 7. You can filter the data using the Data Category selection box–that may help speed it up and reduce the file size.

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