OriginLab Corporation - Scientific Graphing and Data Analysis Software - 2D graphs, 3D graphs, Contour Plots, Statistical Charts, Data Exploration, Statistics, Curve Fitting, Signal Processing, and Peak Analysis

The Graph Layer

A typical graph layer consists of:

These elements comprise a movable, sizeable unit. A single Origin graph page has between 1 and 121 graph layers (a graph with zero layers is not defined; if you delete all layers from the graph page, the graph window is deleted).

Because the layer is a self-contained unit, it can be moved about and arranged on the graph page in practically unlimited ways. Layers in a multi-layered graph may be partially superimposed (as in an "inset" graph), completely superimposed (as in a "double-Y axis" graph), or they may be entirely separated (as in a "panel" graph).

Common situations which require creation of a multi-layered graph


The layer icon and the active graph layer

Each layer in the graph window is numbered and is denoted by a small, gray icon in the upper-left corner of the graph page. These layer icons provide a visual cue as to the number of graph layers in the window and as to which graph layer is active layer. They are not printed or exported with the graph. The display of the layer icon can, in fact, be toggled on or off with a menu command (View: Show: Layer Icons).

As mentioned, one important function of the layer icon is to provide a visual cue as to the active layer. A graph page may have multiple layers, but only one layer in that page is active at any given time. The active graph layer is indicated by a depressed layer n icon (the icon is "flat" and the numeral is black). In this figure, layer 2 is the active layer.

Image:The Graph Layer-1.png

When you customize a multi-layered graph via the user-interface, you necessarily act on the active layer. If the desired layer is not already active, you must activate it before customizing the size or appearance of the layer.

To make a graph layer active, do one of the following:




Note that if the Plot Details dialog box is open, you can select any layer on the page by highlighting the associated layer icon in the left panel of the dialog box. This effectively allows you customize a layer's properties without performing one of the above actions.

The active layer will also be indicated by highlighted graph axes, if the View: Show: Active Layer Indicator menu command is checked. Note that this active layer indicator (see the picture below) is not turned on globally; it must be applied to each graph page.

Image:The Graph Layer-2.png

The layer icon context menu

When you right-click the layer icon, you will see a context menu for controlling the layers in the graph.


Hide the corresponding layer. Click again to show the layer.

Hide all other layers when there is more than one layer in the graph. Click again to show other layers.

Only show the active layer on the graph page. You can also use the main menu View: Show: Active Layer Only, or the same context menu item from the Graph Page.

If this item is checked, you can only make a layer active by clicking on the layer icon. The same item also exists in the Graph main menu and in the context menu of the Graph Page.

You can also select Format: Page Properties to open the Plot Details dialog box with the page (graph) icon selected on the left side of the dialog box. On the Miscellaneous tab, select the Set Active Layer by Layer Icon Only check-box.

Delete the corresponding layer from the graph page.

Open the Layer Contents dialog box. By default, if you double-click the layer icon, Origin will also open the Layer Contents dialog box.

Open the Plot Setup dialog box. By default, if you press ALT and then double-click the layer icon, Origin will also open the Plot Setup dialog box.

When this item is checked, the Plot Setup dialog will open when a user double-clicks. The Layer Contents dialog will open when a user presses ALT while double-clicking.

Click to open the Plot Details dialog box with the corresponding layer activated in the left panel. Set layer properties in the tabs in the right panel.

Click to open the Layer Management.

All data plots in this layer are listed at the bottom of the context menu.

The layer frame

The layer frame is a box, normally defined by the four XY axes (top X, bottom X, left Y, right Y) in a 2D graph layer. In most 3D graphs, the frame is a 2D box that circumscribes the XYZ axes. More precisely, the frame is defined by the dimensions of the graph layer. Though the axes and the frame usually coincide in a 2D plot, an axis can be offset from the frame. So, strictly speaking, the graph axes are independent of the frame.

When you click on a graph to select a layer, the bounding box that appears delineates the frame. Layer display options such as the layer color, data clipping, and axis grid lines apply only to the area inside the frame.

To show the layer frame:

  1. Activate a graph layer.
  2. Select View: Show: Frame.

Note that the frame display is not turned on globally in the window or in the Origin session; it must be toggled on and off for each graph layer.

The layer title

A layer title is in fact a text label that is attached to the layer frame of the layer. You can enter any text in it. If you resize the layer, the layer title will move and be sized in relation to the size and position of the new layer frame.

To add or modify a layer title:

  1. Activate the layer
  2. Right-click inside the layer frame and select Add/Modify Layer Title to add or modify a layer title.

When a probability plot or a Q-Q plot is created, a layer title is added automatically by default. However, you can add another new title by using the Add/Modify Layer Title menu command.

Linking layers

The layers in a multi-layer graph can be linked spatially so that adjustments to a parent layer's size or position produce commensurate adjustments to the size and position of child layers; and axis scales can linked mathematically, in which case an adjustment to axis scale values of the parent layer produces a change in the axis scale values of child layers.

To learn more about linking graph layers, see these topics in the Linking Layers section of this chapter.

Graph layer properties

Graph layer properties are controlled by settings on these Plot Details dialog box tabs:

Aligning layers

Graph layers can be aligned with the Object Edit toolbar.

  1. Select a reference layer.
  2. With the ctrl key down, select all graph layers which should be aligned to the reference layer. Release the ctrl key.
  3. Press one of the aligning buttons on the Object Edit toolbar to align the graph layers.