HerfstkleurenHelpdesk IBM SPSS Statistics 20

For students from Arnhem Business School
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On our site we show you a number of examples how to create and edit graphs for your data using SPSS 20.
The examples start with the questionnaire and the corresponding variable and they end with a graph that is ready for presentation.

There are countless graphs possible. We have made a selection of examples.
But once you get the basic idea you are ready to start experimenting. Combine your statistical knowledge with the SPSS techniques we have shown you.

See below for some general warnings related to the Chart Builder.

Examples of charts


Please note that many graphs can be created in more than one way. If you open the Graphs menu you find three main entries:

  1. In Chart Builder you drag elements to a preview screen to create your graph. Here it is important that the level of measurement of your variables is set correctly.
  2. Via Graphboard Template Chooser you create graphs based on predefined templates. Often these templates are specially designed to expand on the normal options. For ABS this is less relevant.
  3. Legacy Dialogs stems from the "old SPSS" and uses diagog boxes to determine what you want to do.

In our examples we will focus mostly on Chart Builder. But we will also use Legacy Dialogs from time to time.

Some warnings related to the Chart Builder.

In the SPSS data file (Variable View Tab) the measurement level of each variable can be set at nominal, ordinal or scale. This is used by the Chart Builder to assist you in building your chart. It prohibits the use of variables with an incorrect level of measurement in your charts.
For example you want to build a clustered bar chart, but you try to put a scale variable on the category axis.
SPSS doesn't allow this and blocks your choice:

chart builder error message 1

It is possible to define variables in your data file, without specifying their level of measurement.

unknown level of measurement
This is new in SPSS 20. In older version there was always a default level set.

In this situation Chart Builder warns you and won't open until you have done something about it.
chart builder error message

If you choose for the "Scan Data" option SPSS will look at the data that are entered for variable V1 and will choose the level of measurement that seems most appropriate.
If you choose for "Assign Manually..." you stay in control and make the decisions yourself.

manually assign level
Note the brief definitions that SPSS provides on the right hand side of the dialog box.

Only after solving the problem of the unknown measurement levels will Chart Builder proceed and open its dialog window.

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Further questions?

You can ask them by means of our question form.

Last modified 30-10-2012

Jos Seegers, 2009; English version by Gé Groenewegen.