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Which tool can you recommend to draw such a diagram:

enter image description here

I have tried Excel, but it is not really straight forward.

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closed as not constructive by random Jun 9 '12 at 14:40

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It would help to know what OS you will run it on. –  Keith Jun 8 '12 at 10:28
    
You are right. Windows, Mac or Linux, doesn't matter. –  Heinrich Jun 8 '12 at 10:29
    
@Heinrich if you need help getting things set up or tweaked, please let me know and I'll add more detail. –  dav Jun 9 '12 at 13:27

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think Excel will do what you're looking for with the right setup. Without knowing your specific formulas, I created some data using the SIN formula. All told, it took only 6 columns of data:

  1. X column (I used 172 points for relatively smooth lines. Depending upon your precision needs, you may want more).

  2. SIN(X) column-used for the black sin outline in both charts (added as area chart).

  3. Dummy value for the green fill in chart 1 (added as area chart).

  4. Dummy value (same as #3) for the red line in chart 1 (added as line chart).

  5. SIN(X) limited to values above the redline threshold (#NA for all others, so they don't print), for the green fill in chart 2 (added as area chart).

  6. Dummy value for the base line in chart 2 (added as line chart). The red line is the X-axis crossing the Y-axis at the required threshold. This allows the fill to stop at the axis.

I wasn't sure how to re-create the "descending sine" in your third chart, but if you have a formula, you'll probably need to add it twice, once for the fill and once for the outline (same as chart 2, above).

EDIT: You'll need two additional columns for this chart. First is your descending cycle (similar to #2, but with decreasing values each cycle) added as a line chart. Second is descending cycle fill (similar to #5, also limited to values above your threshold point) added as area chart.

Everything else is just formating and labeling. If you use some named ranges, a chart series like this would only take a few minutes to set-up and will auto update whenever your base data updates.

Good luck!

Excel Sine Plot

Excel Sine 2

EDIT: Here's a sample of the data for these charts. Note, I used SIN(X)+1 so I didn't have to deal with negative values.

X       Sine    Y1_Green Y1_Red Y2_Green Y2_Black
0.000   1.000   2.000   2.000   #N/A    0.020
0.100   1.100   2.000   2.000   #N/A    0.020
0.200   1.199   2.000   2.000   #N/A    0.020
0.300   1.296   2.000   2.000   #N/A    0.020
0.400   1.389   2.000   2.000   #N/A    0.020
0.500   1.479   2.000   2.000   #N/A    0.020
0.600   1.565   2.000   2.000   1.565   0.020
0.700   1.644   2.000   2.000   1.644   0.020
0.800   1.717   2.000   2.000   1.717   0.020
0.900   1.783   2.000   2.000   1.783   0.020
1.000   1.841   2.000   2.000   1.841   0.020
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On Linux there is:

gnuplot
matplotlib (scriptable with Python)
dataplot
pyxplot
quickplot
qtiplot

Thease have, as far as I know, interactive modes.

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Thanks I will take a look –  Heinrich Jun 8 '12 at 10:35

Since you said OS doesn't matter, try OmniGraphSketcher. It runs on Mac OS X and iPad. It's for essentially creating freehand, professional quality graphs.

From their copy:

OmniGraphSketcher helps you make elegant and precise graphs in seconds, whether you have specific data to visualize or you just have a concept to explain. Specifically designed for reports, presentations, and problem sets where you need to produce sharp-looking graphs on the fly, OmniGraphSketcher combines the data plotting power of charting applications with the ease of a basic drawing program.

OmniGraphSketcher

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