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Extents/Intervals /Size command (Options menu)

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Allows you to select the extents of the plot, the number of tick marks and/or tick mark interval, and the physical size of the plot.

Specify extents

If checked, you may select the coordinates of the plot window corners. This is often useful if you are making plots of multiple data sets and want the extents of each plot to be identical. Use of this option may result in portions of the plot being clipped. For Calendar Date and Date and Time number formatting the extents may be entered in the date format selected with the Number Format command, or as numbers using the Excel date system. For Time number formatting the extents may be entered in h:mm:ss format.

NOTE: The actual coordinates of the corners may not turn out to be exactly the same as those you have specified. DPlot will adjust the extents such that the resulting tick mark intervals are multiples of 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 8 times a power of 10. If a tick mark interval or number of tick mark intervals is not specified (see below), these settings should be viewed as more of a suggestion than a firm setting, as DPlot will make a good tick mark interval the priority, and that interval may not necessarily divide evenly into your specified extents.

If unchecked, DPlot selects the coordinates for the plot window so that the entire plot will fit within the window (before any zoom operation is performed).

Invert X, Invert Y (XY plots only)

If present, checking these boxes will invert the scaling on the corresponding axis, whether or not Specify Extents is used. For example on the X axis the "Low" value will be at the right end of the scale, the "High" value will be at the left end of the scale. This functionality does not apply to polar charts, tripartite grids, grain size distribution plots, or triangle plots. For 3D plots, you can accomplish the same thing by using negative scale factors on the Contour Options dialog box.


If multiple independent Y axes are used with logarithmic scaling, the axis extents will be forced to the nearest power of 10 that includes the specified extents. For other scale types, the axis extents will be forced to the nearest number with two significant digits that includes the specified extents.

These options are disabled for triangle plots; the extents of all axes are fixed at 0-100 or 0-1, dependent on the Triangle Plot Options X+Y+Z=1 setting.

Tick marks

Auto-tick marks

DPlot automatically selects the number of tick marks and the interval between tick marks such that the interval is as described above.

Specify number

If selected, you specify the number of tick marks on the axes. This option has no effect on the number of tick mark intervals for logarithmic or probability scales.

For polar coordinates, the number of tick intervals in the Y direction is used as the number of radial tick marks, and the number of tick intervals in the X direction is the number of angular divisions. You can force polar plots to be circular by specifying identical measurements for the width and height (see below), or by checking the "Force circular plots" option on the Polar Plot Options dialog.

Specify interval

If selected, you specify the interval between tick marks. Again, this option has no effect on logarithmic or probability scales.

If necessary, the extents of the plot are adjusted to be multiples of the tick mark interval.


Tick mark settings are ignored for calendar dates if the extents of the applicable axis are greater than 60 days. If the extents are greater than 60 days but less than 120 days, tick marks are drawn at the 1st and 15th of every month. If greater than 120 days, tick marks are drawn at the 1st of every month only.

Minor Grid/Tick Divisions

If greater than 1, minor grid lines or tick marks are drawn between the major grid/tick marks with a pen width specified on the Symbol/Line Styles dialog. For logarithmic and probability scales the actual value is ignored; minor lines/marks are either on (>1) or off (=1). Depending on screen resolution, this option may result in the entire background of a plot being painted in the grid line color, but generally has a much sharper appearance on printed output.

For date scales on XY plots, the actual interval used will be dependent on the size of that interval (major interval divided by the number of minor intervals). In other words the actual number of intervals may not match the number requested. For minor intervals greater than 10 days and less than 5 years, DPlot will draw minor tick intervals at the 1st or 15th of each month for intervals less than 20 days, or the start of the next month, 2, 3, 4, or 6 months, or the next  January 1 or the January 1 of the following year. For minor intervals greater than or equal to 5 years, DPlot will generally pick January 1 in whatever year comes closest to the specified interval. For minor intervals less or equal to 10 days the interval will be exactly equal to the major interval divided by the number of intervals, with no regard for aligning tick marks with whole days.


Specify plot size

If checked, you may set the physical size of the plot. For all plot types, these values specify the size of a box that will contain the plotted data, not including title lines, axis labels, or numbers along each axis. If unchecked, DPlot uses the full extents of the output device.

For output to printers and other hardcopy devices, these measurements are exact (to the resolution of the device). On a display monitor, the size of the plot is mapped to "logical inches". (Since displays are typically viewed from a greater distance than printed material, Windows scales font sizes so that characters with the same height appear roughly the same size whether viewed on a display monitor or a printout.) The result of this mapping is to provide a plot whose dimensions and font sizes appear to be the same size, whether viewed on the display or a printed copy.

You can also set the size of 2D plots by pointing the mouse cursor at a corner of the plot and dragging:

Dimensions will be shown in the units selected with the Default dimensions setting on the General command of the Options menu.


NOTE: If the specified size exceeds the capabilities of the output device (subtracting the margins set with the Page Setup command on the File menu), DPlot adjusts the size to one that will fit, maintaining the aspect ratio between the width and height.

For polar plots with the "Force circular plots" option in effect, DPlot will override the width and height entries if necessary, using the smaller of the two specified dimensions.

Set X:Y=1:1

This button is disabled unless both Specify Extents and Specify Size are checked. When pushed, the size of the plot is adjusted such that the physical scale of the X and Y values are equal: 1 unit in X will be the same length as 1 unit in Y. This action is not persistent: if you subsequently edit either the extents or the size then this relationship will no longer be true until you push the button again.


Date format: Calendar dates will initially be presented in the date format selected with the Number Format command. Calendar dates may be entered in any variation on the current date format selected with the Number Format command, as long as the day, month, and year order is preserved. For example if the date format is M/d/yyyy then any of M/d/yy, MM/dd/yy, M/dd/yyyy, etc. will be interpreted correctly. If the date format under the Number Format command is set to "<none>", then the initial display and subsequent interpretation is left up to the "Assume input dates are of the form d/m/y" setting of the General Options menu command. (If unchecked, calendar dates are assumed to be in the order m/d/y.)



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