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7 Explanatory Notes On Facilities Matrix


This section of the Matrix tells you about any facilities in the packages which are normally common to all types of presentation graphics packages


Licence Arrangements

Indicates any special deals by which you can obtain a package at less than the full commercial cost.

Possible entries are -

Package Description

Description gives a very brief summary of what a package is, to give you a quick idea of its intended application area.

Entries in Creative Graphics Matrix

Entry is ‘Yes’ if there is further information in the ‘Creative graphics matrix’ section, otherwise ’No’.

Entries in Data Driven Graphics Matrix

Entry is ‘Yes’ if there is further information in the ‘Data Driven graphics matrix’ section otherwise ’No’.



This entry tells you what sort of machine you need in order to run a package.

Platform indicates the hardware, and operating system if relevant - for example Windows', 'Mac', 'Unix'.

Web Site of interest

Web site URL’s of interest. These may be the application vendor or possibly a user group page. Blank if no site exists.

Special requirements

Indicates any special facilities you need in order to get the most out of the package. If extra clipart for instance is supplied on CD, enter ‘CD’ here.


Scripting language Available

Usually ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Many packages support some form of scripting language to allow extensions to the functionality of the application.


User interface

This entry tells you about the general overall appearance of each package.

User interface is usually ‘WIMP’ on PCs and Macs - for "Windows /images/ Menus and Pointer". In this case you can control programs by pointing and clicking with a mouse, and manipulating windows and icons on your computer screen. The main alternatives are menu-based programs - driven by a mouse or the keyboard, and command-driven programs.

On-line help

Can be ‘Yes’ if there is any help information within a package, or ‘No’. If ‘Yes’, the help available is often enough to let you run the package without extensive documentation.

OLE support

Package supports Object Linking and Embedding for MS Windows. This allows graphics objects created by one piece of software to be embedded in a graphical object created by another but still maintain it’s link with the original software - i.e. any changes made to the object will start up the original package and allow you to edit the original object .


Extra Fonts supplied with package

Most packages simply use the fonts which are available on their host computer, though some provide extra ones. The type of extra fonts which are available with the package are shown here, i.e. ‘Truetype’. (See the entry for typeface in the glossary for a definition of the terms 'font' and 'typeface' as used in the matrix.)


Number of fonts supplied.


A great many different formats are used for graphics files, which have evolved over the years. The term "file format" refers to the way in which a graphic is stored in a computer file. Different programs use different formats to store the files they create.

These entries show you the main ones which each package can import (cope with) or export (produce). The entries here should enable you to determine whether you can swap graphical images between two or more of the packages you want to use.

The section ‘Using Graphics Files and IMAGEs’ gives more details on this subject. For extra information, you are recommended to consult Graphics File Formats by David C. Kay and John R. Levine, Windcrest/McGraw-Hill, 1992.

It is sometimes adequate to use cut-and-paste for transferring graphics images between applications on a single machine: this saves you the trouble of choosing a graphics file format for the exchange. OLE is another method by which graphics objects may be embedded in a presentation.

File Type abbreviations


Adobe Illustrator










Adobe Type 1 Font


Computer Graphics Metafile


Lotus PIC


Micrographx Draw


Matrix/Imapro SCODL




Sun raster file


Encapsulated PostScript


TARGA Bitmaps


GEM Files


TIFF Bitmaps


Compuserve Bitmaps


TrueType Fonts


HP Plotter language


Windows Metafile


JPEG Bitmaps


WordPerfect Graphic


Kodak Photo-CD


X-windows dump


Slide show facilities

Is ‘Yes’ if the package can show a sequence of images, either under control or unattended, to support a talk or as an unattended demonstration.

Templates/Style sheets

Is ‘Yes’ if you can store general attributes without specific data, to act as templates for future productions; otherwise ‘No’.

Clip Art Supplied

Is ‘Yes’ if the package includes a library of graphics images for inclusion in your charts, otherwise ‘No’.

Automatic backup facilities

Is ‘Yes’ if you can tell the package to save your work every so often, or ‘No’ if you have to remember to save it yourself.

Pantone matching

Is ‘Yes’ if the package supports the internationally recognised Pantone system of specifying colours, otherwise ‘No’. This feature is particularly important if you need to get the best output from bureaux.

Extra Drivers with package

Most Windows and Macintosh packages rely on their host system to deal with printers etc. Any extra facilities provided by individual packages are listed in this section, an example of this might be a 35mm type driver.




This section of the Matrix tells you about any facilities in the packages which can help you prepare your data for graphical display.

Editing facilities

Either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ - indicates whether or not you can edit your data within a package before display.

Calculation facilities

Can be ‘No’, 'simple' (meaning that you can do simple transformations of data), or 'complex' (if you can carry out complex calculations on the data before displaying it - calculations such as those which you can perform in spreadsheets).

Graph and data directly linked

Tells you if a change to the data or alteration of the graph is automatically represented by an update of the other (i.e. the data or the graphical display)

Statistical analysis

Is either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, to indicate whether a package can calculate statistical information about your data - such as mean and standard deviation.

Maximum number of variables

Indicates the number of variables the package can handle.

Maximum number of data points

Indicates the number of data points for each variable that the package can handle.

Are missing values handled

Indicates what the package does with missing values in your data. Packages with statistical capability tend to do something sensible with such cases, while other packages might ignore them or substitute a special value.

Data Interpolation

Indicates that data interpolation methods are available in the package. These vary and only a general indication is given, reference to the documentation should be made for more specific details.

The cell entries may be ‘No’, ‘2D’, ‘3D’, ’2D+3D’.

2D indicates support for 2D data. - i.e. parametric interpolation etc., similarly 3D indicates support for 3D data - i.e. irregular data converted to regular grid etc.







Error-bars (X or Y)

Indicates if error bars supported - applies to line charts. Entries may be ‘No’, ‘X-axis’, ‘Y-axis’, ‘Both’. Sometimes error-bars are also applied to other types of graphs, in such cases an entry (R) will appear in the ‘Graph Type’ cell., i.e. a bar/column chart supporting error-bars would have an (R) entry.

Curve fitting

Shows there are curve fitting options. These vary and only an indication ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ is given, reference to the documentation should be made for more specific details.

Plot Maths functions

Indicates if maths functions be plotted directly, for example from an equation. Entry is ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

View Point adjustment

Indicates that adjustment of the viewing position for 3-D graphical objects supported. Entry is ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

Read Data points

If the value of data points can be displayed by clicking at a position on the graph, entry is ‘Yes’ otherwise ‘No’


This section of the Matrix deals with the appearance of axes in graph-type graphics. These explanations may be clearer if you refer back to Figure 3 in chapter 4: The anatomy of axes.


The Axis topics refer to the actual line which makes up the axis, and the positioning of axes.

- Change width/colour

Can be ‘Both’ if both options are allowed, ‘No’ if neither of them, or the specific name if only one is available.

- Allow Broken or Separated Axes

Can be ‘Both’ if both options are allowed, ‘No’ if neither of them, or the specific name if only one is available. A 'broken' axis has a section missing, for example to allow both ends of an extreme range of values to appear on a graph of manageable size. If axes can be separated, they can be positioned independently in the diagram - for example so they are set back from the data and do not meet at all.

- Axis scaling user-defined

Is either ‘Yes’ if the user can choose the range of values to be represented along the axis, otherwise ‘No’ if the package forces the scaling.

- Dual X/Y axes

Is either ‘No’, the name of the dual axis - (i.e. Dual X or Dual Y), or ‘Both’

- Logarithmic axes

Is ‘Yes’ if the package can produce logarithmic axes, otherwise ‘No’.

- Transposition of axes

Is ‘Yes’ if the X and Y axes can be swapped over, otherwise ‘No’.

Axis labelling

The Axis labelling topics refer to the various text items with which you can embellish an axis.

- Allow edit of axis titles

Is either ‘Yes’ if you can, or ‘No’.

- Position/move axis titles

Is ‘Yes’ if the package allows you to influence the positioning of the axis titles, or ‘No’.

- Orientation of Axis titles

Refers chiefly to the Y-axis title, which can be either 'horizontal' or 'vertical'. 'either' means that the package allows you to set the orientation of the title.

- Scientific notation, Sub/Superscripts

Is either ‘Yes’ if the package can cope with these in the axis title, or ‘No’.

- Foreign character support

Is ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or 'limited', depending on how easily the package will allow you to use foreign (for example accented) characters in axis titles. Refer to manual for more details.

Tick Marks

The Tick mark topics concern the appearance and labelling of the tick marks along the axis.

- Specify position

Is ‘Yes’ if you can choose to have ticks inside, outside or across the axis (or indeed to have no tick marks), or ‘No’ if the package doesn’t give you the option.

-Format options

For tick mark labels is ‘Yes’ if the package lets you choose the style of the tick mark labels (such as scientific, exponential, integer etc), otherwise ‘No’.

- Allow labelling only every Nth tickmark

Is ‘Yes’ if the package lets you choose which tick marks to label, otherwise ‘No’.

- Grid lines on chart

Is ‘Yes’ if you can choose to have tick marks running right across the chart, otherwise ‘No’.


This section of the Matrix covers floating text of any sort.


Is ‘Yes’ if the package lets you add a title, otherwise ’No’.


Is ‘Yes’ if you can add text anywhere on the chart, for example to act as a key, otherwise ‘No’.

Data Point labels

Is ‘Yes’ if you can label individual points in the graph, 'yes, some' if you have some scope for labelling points, otherwise ‘No’.

Floating labels (annotation)

Is ‘Yes’ if you can add general annotation to the chart, otherwise ‘No’.


Chart size/position adjustment

Is ‘Yes’ if the package allows you to adjust the size of the chart, otherwise ‘No’. It is useful if you can do this: while it won't make any difference to what you see on the screen, you get the best quality when adding a graphic to a printed document if you get its size right in the graphics package, rather than having to adjust its size in the printed document.

Background composition facilities

Gives you an idea of what backgrounds you can add to your chart. The main choices are 'coloured' (a plain coloured background), 'bitmap' (meaning that you can import a picture, logo or other graphic to have as a chart background), 'pattern' (to have the package generate a background pattern), or 'graduated' (for a variably-shaded background). The presence of a background facility in a package doesn't tell you if it is 'easy' or 'difficult', just 'possible'.

Frame/bounding box

Is ‘Yes’ if the package allows you to put a frame around the chart, otherwise ‘No’.

Multiple charts on page

Is ‘Yes’ if the package lets you create and group several charts on a single page, otherwise ‘No’.


This section of the Matrix covers the available attributes of items on the chart, or non-specific items which can be added to a chart.

Number of line styles & widths

The range of styles and widths are indicated by a general indication :-

1 no choice

<5 limited to five or less choices

5+ more than 5, reasonably unlimited

If the package allows the user to produce a customised linestyle or variable width a (u) is added after the entry.

Number of symbol styles

Shows you how many different symbols a package can use in a chart. The range is :-

1 no choice

<5 limited to five or less choices

5+ more than 5, reasonably unlimited

If the package allows the user to produce a customised symbol or change the size of an existing symbol a (u) is added after the entry.

Number of fill styles

Tells you the sort of fill styles which the package supports, for example to fill an area such as the segment of a pie chart or the area under a line graph. The range is :-

C Coloured Solid fill

G Graduated fill

P Pattern or Hatch fill

B Bitmap texturing

M Column/Bar type graphs may be substituted by Symbols

If the package allows the user to produce a customised fill pattern a (u) is added after the entry.

Size of pre-defined colour palette

Gives you an idea of how many different colours are pre-defined in package. Colour range is more important in Creative graphics, a large range of simultaneously available colours is necessary to create realistic effects. The actual range of colours may be limited by the Graphics Card, in which cases dithering may be used.

Additionally the user may be allowed to specify their own colour choice from a palette. In such cases a (u) is added after the entry. This will almost always be the case for Creative Graphics facilities.