Many SPSS users miss out on the advanced data visualization capabilities in SPSS because they do their charting in Excel, or don’t go beyond the basic capability of Chart Builder. However, data visualization is not just about sending a handful of data points to a charting menu. If it were, there would be little risk in doing your descriptive statistics in SPSS and your charting in Excel. The following are some reasons why it can be a less-than-efficient approach:
- Most users vastly underestimate what is possible with SPSS graphics.
- Moving data from SPSS to Excel is typically done manually with a copy-and-paste operation, which is risky and inefficient. For example, often a user wants a quick chart based on some of the contents of a pivot table. Little known is that you can activate the table, select rows or column, and choose Create Graph from the context menu to get a quick chart. This feature supports the most popular chart types, and the resulting chart can be edited in the Chart Editor.
- Graphical representation is best thought of as a single continuous process starting with data access, followed by data preparation and transformation, and ending with a visualization, preserving data integrity, and ensuring that the visualization is 100% consistent with the data.
At a minimum you should avoid the copy-and-paste maneuver by utilizing the Output Management System, which is discussed in detail in Chapter 17. In this ...