Guide to Customized Box Plots in Grapher

Grapher offers robust box plot features that empower users to generate notched box-and-whisker plots, set adjustable or variable box widths, apply a data filter to limit box plot ranges, and craft box plots with irregular spacing.


Create a box-and-whisker diagram

A box plot compares the difference among median values. In Grapher, you can create a box diagram and display a confidence interval for the median by following the steps below:

  1. Click the Home | New Graph | Statistical | Vertical Box Plot, the Home | New Graph | Statistical | Notched Vertical Box Plot, the Home | New Graph | Statistical | Horizontal Box Plot, or the Home | New Graph | Statistical | Notched Horizontal Box Plot command.
  2. In the Open Worksheet dialog, select the data file and click Open. The default box-whisker plot is created.
  3. Click on the box plot layer in the Object Manager to select it (underneath Graph 1).

  4. In the Property Manager, click on the Plot tab.
  5. From the Plot properties tab you can
    • adjust the first and last variable,
    • choose to use data in rows,
    • create a grouped box plot,
    • notch the boxes,
    • adjust the statistics being graphed,
    • and much more!
  6. See the Box Plot Properties help page for more details about each available property. 

Grapher Horizontal and Vertical Notched Box Plots

A Vertical and Horizontal Notched Box-Whisker Plots in Grapher.


Set Adjustable or Variable Box Widths

If you'd like to layer box plots, or represent the size of data populations in each sample dataset, you can control the width of box plots in Grapher. To change the width of a boxes in a box plot:

  1. Select the Box Plot in the Object Manager. 
  2. In the Property Manager, click the Plot tab. 
  3. Expand the Width section. 
  4. Change the Box width (percentage) to change the width for all boxes at the same time. 
  5. Set the Type field to Variable, Fixed, or leave it set to Auto. 
    • Variable to vary the size based on the number of sample entries in each set of data. When using the Variable option the width of each box is determined via the sample count in that box vs the sum of the sample counts of all boxes. 
    • Fixed to choose a set width for each box plot. 
    • Auto to have Grapher automatically determine an appropriate box width

Grapher variable widths box plot 

Box plot with Variable Widths applied. 


Use Data Filter to Clip Box Plot Limits

The data filter makes it possible to exclude or include specific criteria from your data without removing these data from your file. You can use the data filter with Box Plots in Grapher. 

  1. In the Object Manager, select the Box Plot. 
  2. In the Property Manager, click the Data Limits tab. 
  3. Click Set in the Criteria Filter section. 
  4. Delete the existing values in the Clipping section and replace with desired values. Learn more about Clipping in Grapher's Help
  5. Fill out the Exclude data or Include data fields for your desired results and click OK. 

Grapher box plot with data filter applied


Removing data from a Box Plot using Data Filter may affect the statistical shape or distribution of that box, depending on the chosen settings for Box Edges and Whiskers.

Learn more in Grapher's Help.


Create Irregularly Spaced Box Plots

There are two possible workflows for creating irregularly spaced box plots in Grapher. 

If your box plot categories are numeric, complete the steps below:

  1. Click Home | New Graph | Statistical | Vertical Grouped Box Plot ().
  2. In the Open Worksheet dialog, select your data file and click Open.
  3. Click the new box plot in the Object Manager to select it.
  4. Click the Plot tab in the Property Manager.
  5. Set the First Variable and Last Variable to the same data column.  This enables the box plot axis to use a linear scale.
  6. Click the Box Plot Axis in the Object Manager to select it.
  7. Click the Axis tab in the Property Manager.
  8. Click in the Scale field and select Linear or the desired scale.

Grapher grouped box plot with a linear axis

Create irregularly spaced box plots using a grouped box plot with linear axis.


If your box plot categories are alpha-numeric, complete the steps below to space box plots at irregular intervals along the axis.

  1. Click on the box plot in the Object Manager to select it.
  2. In the Property Manager, click on the Plot tab.
  3. Change the Last variable to be the same as the First variable. Only one box is now plotted.
  4. In the Object Manager, click on the Box Plot Axis 1 to select it.
  5. In the Property Manager, click on the Axis tab.
  6. Change the Length to twice the desired width of the bar. If the box should be 0.5 inches wide, make the Length equal to 1.0 inches.
  7. Click the Graph Tools | Add to Graph | Axis | X Axis.
  8. In the Position X Axis dialog, click At the bottom end of.
  9. Check the box next to Disable tick marks, and Disable labels, and then click OK.
  10. Click the Graph Tools | Add to Graph | Plot | Box Plot - Vertical Plot command.
  11. In the Choose Axes dialog click Position click OK to create a new X axis.
  12. Select the data file and click Open.
  13. Select the new box plot in the Object Manager.
  14. Repeat steps 2 through 6 for the new box plot.
  15. In the plot window, click and drag the new box plot axis to move it to the desired location.
  16. Repeat steps 10-14 for each additional box plot.
  17. To keep your boxes relatively positioned so that they move with other plot changes, link your boxes to the appropriate axis in the Link Axis tab of the Property Manager.

Grapher box plot with irregular spacing

Create variable spaced box plots using multiple box-plot axes.


Updated March 2024

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