ExploreTheData Help

Visualize and explore your data with the interactive cross-linked charts and tables. To create a chart with automatic settings, simply select the variables to be plotted. The app lets you get different views and helps to gain useful insights into the data. It is powered by a library of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) components which enables to handle larger datasets smoothly. ExploreTheData runs as a content app in Microsoft Excel 2013, and also natively in all modern browsers.

The table provides conventional functionality, such as sorting and selecting rows, resizing, reordering and switching columns, data searching and filtering, and, in addition, a zoomable graphical view of numerical data. The handling of large tables is possible because all elements of the view are pre-calculated with JavaScript before adding them to the HTML document.

The chart displays line plots, scatter plots, and area plots of up to three variables (table columns) with linear or logarithmic scales. Zoom-dependent rendering provides fast access to single data points of the data set.

The table and chart are cross-linked, meaning that the data corresponding to the selected table rows are highlighted on the chart and vice versa. Also, filtering the data in the table updates the chart accordingly.

Data import and export is done using text files (comma-separated values), or, while running in an Excel worksheet, by reading from a range of cells selected in the worksheet and writing to the worksheet. ExploreTheData makes its own copy of the data without data binding between the source worksheet and the app. The chart can be exported as a vector graphics (SVG) file.

The app for Excel is available at Office Store.

Getting started

To view a table and a chart:
1 select a sample data set, e.g., "Country Indicators";
2 select a numerical variable for the x-axis, e.g., "GDP per capita (US$)"; and
3 select a numerical variable for y1-axis, e.g., "Life expectancy at birth, male (years)".

4 Drag to change layout; click to restore previous layout. 5 Change the order of columns by dragging a header cell to a new location. Above the header text, the cursor changes to "Move". Start dragging to the left or to the right. An arrow and a label indicate the new location of the column. Stop dragging and the column is moved to the new location. 6 Sort the rows by clicking on the header text. 7 Show or hide columns. 8 The last selected row. Click to display the row in the main part of the table. 9 In text mode, the infobar shows the full content of the cell at the mouse location. In graphical view mode, the minimum and maximum values of a group of numerical data are displayed. 10 Select y-axis for the 2nd and/or 3rd plot. 11 Select a numerical variable for the 2nd and/or 3rd plot. 12 Select a logarithmic scale for the x- and/or y-axis. With the logarithmic y-scale, multi-scale (y1, y2, y3) mode is not supported. 13 Show minor gridlines and tickmarks. 14 Set padding for the plot area. 15 Hide UI controls of the chart.

Import and export

In this section, items 1-3 apply only to the content app in Microsoft Excel. All other import and export options work the same way in Excel and in a web browser.

1 Selected data (a range of cells) in Excel, the host application. 2 Read selected data from the Excel worksheet. 3 Write data to the worksheet. The rows and columns are exported in the same order as they are currently displayed in the app. Hidden columns (switched off with the checkboxes on the left) and filtered out rows are not exported. There must be enough empty cells in the worksheet and the upper left cell must be selected. 4 Import a data table by selecting a CSV file (example). 5 Export a data table to a CSV file. Hidden columns and filtered out rows are not exported. The comma (,) is used as the separator. If a cell string contains the separator, then the string is surrounded by double-quotes (e.g., "Distance, km"). 6 Export the chart as an SVG file. 7 Import data from a CSV file using drag and drop. 8 Check if the data to be imported has a header row.

Chart axis titles and scales

1 If checked, the axis title in the box is automatically updated. 2 The axis title as it appears in the chart. 3 The scale items, e.g., "0, 50, 100, 150, 200" or blank for an automatic scale.


4 Check for the graphical view of the table. 5 Limit the number of table columns where text is rendered when scrolling in order to make scrolling faster. Once the scrolling ends, all columns are rendered. 6 Limit the maximum number of data symbols individually rendered on each plot. The regions where data points overlap or are relatively close to each other are filled without rendering each symbol separately. The darker such a region is, the more data points it contains. Zoom in to see more data symbols in a specific region of the chart. The responsiveness of the chart may deteriorate if the selected maximum number is too high. 7 Limit the maximum number of items in the infotip. The infotip shows variable values for the nearest data points at the mouse location. 8 Show UI controls of the chart.

Searching and filtering data

1 Search in the table. 2 In the search field, type in or paste a search string, RegEx, or JavaScript formula and press Enter, or click the button on the left. Non-matching rows are removed from the table view and the chart is updated accordingly. If there are no matches, all rows are displayed. RegEx example: two\b (matches "two" at the end of a word). JavaScript example: y=(x>250) (matches numbers greater than 250). Here x stands for the cell content, and y is a variable defined with the search formula. If y is evaluated as true, the table cell matches. 3 Check for case-sensitive search. This option applies to the string search and to the RegEx search. 4 Check for whole word search. This option applies to the string search only. 5 Select the search mode — one of String/RegEx/JavaScript. 6 Select the column for the search. The column names are listed along with the option "All columns." Invisible columns (switched off with the checkboxes on the left) and the column "Row No" are excluded from the search with "All columns." 7 Rows with highlighted matches.

Inline editing

8 To edit the contents of a cell, double-click on the cell, edit the value in the text box, and press Enter.

Graphical view of the columns with numerical data

Use the "Graphical View of the Table" checkbox (under Settings) to switch to the graphical view. Numerical data are plotted against the line number running from top to bottom. The data are sortable.

This view supports scroll wheel zooming. In addition, there is a button in the lower right corner for zooming in.

1 Graphical view of the table columns. 2 Zoom in.

Zooming the chart

The chart supports scroll wheel zooming and zooming by dragging. 1 Zoom in by dragging a rectangle in the chart. 2 If the rectangle does not cover any data points, the zoom is reset.

Plot types

1-3 Display data symbols, line, and/or area on the three plots.

Compatibility issues

Internet Explorer version 9, Safari version 6 and below: Data import from a CSV file using the "Import CSV" button or drag and drop is not supported.

Internet Explorer version 9: Data export to a CSV file using the "Export CSV" button creates a file with wrong line breaks.

Safari: Instead of saving to a file, the browser may display the contents of the exported CSV or SVG file. It should be saved to a file with extension .csv (or .txt) and .svg, respectively, using the "Save As" command or by copying into a text editor. In older versions the "Block pop-up windows" check box (in the Security tab of Safari Preferences) should be cleared for the export.

E-mail: info@ExploreTheData.com     Legal
July 12, 2015