The (Plot Details) Group tab

When you double-click on a grouped plot; or you open the Plot Details dialog box and in the left panel, you select the data plot icon for the first dataset in a plot group, you open the Plot Details Group tab.

The controls available on this tab vary, depending on the graph type and the options that have been chosen on other Plot Details tabs. Use these controls to determine how styles are systematically applied to grouped plots.

Group tab.png

Edit Mode controls

  • Independent: Allows independent customization of data plots in the group. This eliminates all group incremental behaviors, but does not change any plot styles which were already applied.
  • Dependent: When chosen, apply incrementing controls as described below.

Note: The preferred method for customizing grouped data plots is to leave the Edit Mode set to Dependent and customize the incrementing behavior of plot elements (see next).

Group Incrementing Controls

Use these controls to customize the appearance of grouped data plots and develop "group incremental lists."

Group incrementing controls.png
  • The first column is a list of plot elements.
  • The Increment column lists incrementing behavior for each element.
  • The Subgroup column is used to specify the incrementing behavior for each element in grouped plots with subgroups.
  • The Details column shows the list in use.
  • The button to the right side opens the Increment Editor where you can customize Details list members.

Increment Column

Click on the Increment column drop-down list to set incrementing behavior.


No incrementing is used and the first plot element is applied to all members of the group.

By One

The Details list is used for incrementing. If the list is shorter than the number of members in the group, then plot elements will repeat from the beginning when the list is exhausted.


The Details list is used for incrementing. If the list is longer or shorter than the number of members in the group, then the first member will use the first list element and the last member will use the last list element and the other members will interpolate the appropriate element.


The Details list is used for incrementing. If the list is not shorter than the number of members in the group, the members in the list will be binned according to the number of members in the group and the center member in the corresponding bin will be used for the corresponding member in the group. If the list is shorter than the number of members in the group, binning will be also performed but the same member in the list may be applied to multiple members in the group.

Note: User-saved Incremental List Themes may also be edited using the Theme Organizer.

Subgroup Column

Specifies how to use the increment list in grouped plots.

None Do not consider subgrouping when applying increment list.
Within Subgroup Repeat increment list within each subgroup.
Between Subgroup Repeat increment list between subgroups so plots in each subgroup will be treated as an entity and data plots within the same subgroup will share same style settings.

Details Column

  • Click on the button to the right to open an Increment Editor for any plot element.
  • Click directly on the color bar to select a desired color list/palette.
For more information on customizing color lists, see Customizing Data Plot Colors.
  • Click the editable combo box in Symbol Size row to enter symbol sizes (by point) directly.
The symbol sizes can be specified by a series of space separated values, or in the format of "Initial_Size(+Increment)". <Auto> means the same settings as Size on the Symbol tab.
a series of values separated by space Initial_Size(+Increment)
SizeInc2.png SizeInc3.png

Working with Incremental Lists

Modifying Incremental Lists

  1. Click the Increment Editor editButton.png button to the right side of Details and open the Increment Editor.
Increment editor db.png

Use the Increment Editor to:

  • Rearrange a Nested list by dragging the numbered buttons in the first column (see "Nested" vs. "Concerted", below).
  • Click on the arrow to the right of any list member to set another style.
  • Right-click any list member to Add or Delete elements (added elements are appended to the bottom of the list).
  • Click the Flip button Categories Reverse Button.png to reverse the order of list elements.
  • Right-click on the list to Save a List as a Theme or Load a previously saved Theme.
  • The Increment Editor for Color Lists has a Rename button that can be used to give meaningful names to hex color codes. When hex color codes display beside a color block, click Rename, then click into the hex code field and enter a custom name. Note that names can be assigned when defining custom colors, as well.

When a plot property (color, symbol shape, etc.) is indexed to a column of categorical data, categories are displayed beside each plot style in the Increment Editor, or in Plot Details tab lists (Shape List, Interior List), making it easier to associate category and plot style.

Index Categories List.png

"Nested" vs. "Concerted" Incrementing

When more than one plot element is set to increment By One, Stretch or Binned, you must choose to increment plot elements in either a Concerted or Nested fashion:

  • Concerted: All incrementing elements will cycle through their member lists independently.
  • Nested: You establish a hierarchy of elements in which all members of the first element list are exhausted before the members of the second element list are incremented, and so on.

The Group Members preview shows the effect of current settings.

  1. To change the incrementing mode, right-click anywhere in the group list controls and choose Nested or Concerted from the shortcut menu.
Nested vs concerted.png

Reordering Nested Elements

When elements increment in Nested fashion, you can reorder elements and control how incrementing proceeds.

  1. Click and hold on a plot element, then drag to re-order the list. The Group Member preview will show how reordering affects plot display.
Reorder nested list.png

Saving and Reusing Increment Lists:

  1. Right-click on an element and choose Save Increment List.... Note that this action only saves a list for this particular element.
  2. To reuse this list at a later time, right-click on the element and choose Load Increment List.
Save increment list.png
  1. If you wish to save all element lists together, right-click and choose Save Theme.
  2. You can later retrieve this Theme by selecting Load Theme from the same shortcut menu.

Applying increment list within subgroup or between subgroups

For current grouped plots, you are allowed to subgroup them with the Subgrouping settings and apply increment list to the subgroup(s).

  1. Enable subgrouping by selecting By Size or By Column Label radio box, then, set Group Size or select Column Label.
  2. In the above table with group incrementing controls, Subgroup column will appear and allow you to select Within Subgroup or Between Subgroup from the drop-down list to specify how to apply the following increment list to the subgroup(s).

Group Members preview box

This view box displays current plot attributes for all the data plots in the group. The view box updates as you change selections on the Group tab or on the associated Plot Details dialog box tabs.


This control is used to further divide the grouped data plots into sub-groups either by a specific subgroup size or grouping identifier in a column label row.

Enable subgroup

It specifies how to subgroup grouped plots. Option list:

  • None
    Disable subgrouping.
  • By Size
    Subgroup data plots with a specified group size.
  • By Column Label
    Subgroup data plots according to specified column label row.
Subgroup Size

Only available when By Size is selected as Enable subgroup method. This drop-down list is used to select or enter the number of data plots within a subgroup.

Column Label

Only available when By Column Label is selected as Enable subgroup method. This drop-down list is used to select a built-in or user defined column label row from active worksheet as subgrouping identifier.

Note: When grouping column or bar graphs, the controls described here must be used with the Plot Details Stack tab control Use Subgrouping (in Group tab) for Cumulative/Incremental.


Example 1: Stacked Bar, Subgroup by Column Label

The following example shows three variations on the same worksheet data. Subgrouping is by column labels -- Long Name, Year or Budget.

Subgroup controls stacked bar example.png

Example 2: Control symbol sizes and colors by column header row

The following example supposes that you have group information in column Long Name and want scatters in the same group share the same size and color.

  1. On the Graph tab of Plot Details dialog, select By Column Label radio button in the Subgrouping group and select Long Name for Column Label.
  2. In the table, set Increment to By One and Subgroup to Between Subgroup for both Symbol Edge Color and Symbol Size.
  3. Specify Details for Symbol Edge Color and Symbol Size.