Graph Template Basics

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Create a graph using an existing graph template

All Origin graphs are created from a template. If you are new to Origin, all of your graph templates will be system templates and pre-shipped extended template. Over time, you will likely customize those built-in templates, saving your customized templates to your User Files Folder or other convenient location. You may then access and manage your customized templates and pre-shipped extended temapltes using Origin's Graph Template Library.

Since Origin 2022, Origin introduced a new tool Template Center to let you download the workbook and graph templates from the File Exchange area of OriginLab website, just like App Center.

All Origin graph templates contain a set of default properties that make it possible to create a basic graph with just a couple of quick steps, using one of these methods:

  • Select your worksheet, matrix or Excel workbook data and click a button on one of the graphing toolbars (2D Graphs or 3D and Contour Graphs).
  • Select your worksheet, matrix or Excel workbook data, and choose Plot > Category : Graph Type from the Origin menu.
  • Select your worksheet, matrix or Excel workbook data, and choose Plot: My Template or Plot: Template Library.
  • Open an empty graph template file by (a) clicking the New Graph button Button New Graph.png on the Standard toolbar or (b) choosing File: New: Graph. Then, add data to the empty template by (a) drag-and-drop, (b) the Plot Setup dialog box, or (c) the Layer n dialog box (note that graph types requiring some sort of calculation (e.g. histograms, box plots, ternary graphs, etc.) cannot be created this way. Use the Plot menu or appropriate graphing toolbar button instead).

If the plot you create using the template's default properties looks good to you, you are finished. If you would like to customize the graph and, optionally, save your customizations to a template file, see the next section.

Customizing the graph

Almost all plot customizations (excludes annotations button objects, etc.) can be done via Origin's Plot Details dialog box, Axis dialogs or the associated Mini Toolbars.

Within the Plot Details dialog box, properties are organized hierarchically by Page > Layer > Plot. For information on how the properties of the graph window are organized and how to manipulate them, see these topics:

All graph axis customizations can be made in the Axes Dialog box. Some Specific graph has their own Axis dialog, such as Ternary and Polar coordinate graphs.

And, the mini toolbar is a set of "quick editing" tools for interactively modifying common graph object properties. These toolbars are sensitive to the type of object selected. The buttons in the pop up provide access to all of the common customization options, so you can perform quick changes without opening complex dialogs.

To learn more about what customizations are saved with the template, see What is Saved with the Graph Template?.

Saving the graph as a custom graph template

If you have created a basic graph, customized that graph, and now want to save those customizations for future use, the next step is to save your graph as a custom graph template.

With the customized graph window active:

  1. Select File: Save Template As from the Origin menu. Or, right-click on the title bar of current graph window to select Save Template As context menu. This opens the template_saveas dialog box.

For documentation of template_saveas controls, see Saving a customized window as a template.

Cloneable Templates

Cloneable templates do not require you to pre-select data before selecting a template (data selections are, in fact, ignored when plotting to a cloneable template). If the data structure of the active workbook or matrix book matches the data structure stored with the cloneable template, the Dolly icon Dolly clone template.png at the left-bottom corner of the cloneable template cell will turn blue, indicating that this cloneable template can be used to plot the datasets in the active worksheet/matrix. Then, you can select this template in the Template Library and click the Plot button (or you can bypass the Template Library by selecting your cloneable template from the Plot: My Templates list).

To Save a Graph as Cloneable Template

With the graph window active:

  1. Choose File: Save Template As, or right-click on the graph window title bar and select Save Template As... to open Utilities\File: template_saveas dialog.
  2. By default, newly created templates will be saved into the UserDefined category, but you can place it into a new category by inputting a new category name in the Category edit box. Categories help you organize your templates so that they are easier to find when creating new graphs.
  3. To name the template, input a new name in Template Name edit box. To overwrite an existing template, choose/type in that template name in the Template Name drop-down list/edit box and click OK. Click OK to the prompt.
  4. You can preset newly-cloned graph Long/Short Name with header information using LabTalk substitution notations in the Preset Graph Long/Short Name edit box. If you are not readily familiar with LabTalk syntax, you can click the more options button to browse available items in fly-out menu.
  5. By checking the Mark as Cloneable Template checkbox, you are saving this graph as a cloneable template rather than a standard template. When this option is enabled, you can further specify the method to examine how workbook data will be matched with a prototype graph. If you choose Short/Long Name for Match Column/Sheet by option, you have to make sure every column/sheet Short/Long name is unique in current workbook.
  6. If you need to manage your graph templates in a different location, you can click the more options button to browse to the File Path.
  7. After you made all the settings, you can click the OK button to create the cloneable template.

Another smart plotting tool is Batch Plotting, which doesn't require saving or invoking any template file.

More information

  • The Template Library is where all user-saved or pre-shipped extended graph templates are managed. You can click the Template Library button Button Template Library.png on the 2D Graphs Extended toolbar or choose Plot: Template Library to open it.
  • To know how to plot data into a cloneable graph template, see this section.
  • To follow a step-by-step tutorial about how to save and use a cloneable graph template, see Plot from User Defined Graph Template.
  • To learn more about the options in the template_saveas dialog, see this section.