In Origin, data arranged in a block of worksheet cells can be treated as a virtual matrix. Such virtual matrix can be used to create a contour or 3D plot. The following is an example to illustrate the differences between creating surfaces from matrix data versus virtual matrix data.

A virtual matrix with unevenly spaced coordinates

A matrix with evenly spaced coordinates

A 3D Surface graph created from the Virtual Matrix above

A 3D Surface graph create from the matrix above

Available 3D and Contour Graph Types that can be Created from Virtual Matrices

The following are all the graph types that can be created from a Virtual Matrix.

3D Color Fill Surface

3D X constant with Base

3D Y constant with Base

3D Color Map Surface (and Color Map Surface with Projection)

Gray Scale Map 3D Scatter

3D Wire Frame

3D Wire Surface

Matrix 3D Bars

Contour – Color Fill

Contour B/W lines

Heatmap

How to Create 3D and Contour Graphs from a Virtual Matrix

To create contour or 3D plot from a virtual matrix, you could select the worksheet cell blocks, click the Plot menu to generate a plot and bring up the plotvm Dialog. (e.g. Plot:3D Surface:Colormap Surface or the other graph types that supports creation from virtual matrix.

Specify the Z-values for plotting a 3D or Contour graph. You can select an existing virtual matrix as input from fly-out menu or Virtual Matrix Manager.

Note: if you select a whole worksheet, the virtual matrix will be dynamic updated when you add or delete columns/rows in the source worksheet. If you select a worksheet cell block from a certain column/row to the end column, for example from 5th column to end, and want the virtual matrix be dynamic updated, right click on the triangle button to the right of Input and select Dynamic Ends.

Data Layout

Specify which way to set the X- and Y-values for the graph. Available options include:

Y across columns

Use the values in a row as the Y-values and the values in a column as the X-values.

X across columns

Use the values in a row as the X-values and the values in a column as the Y-values.

Y Values in / X Values in

The two drop-down lists are used to specify the X and Y data range when creating virtual matrix. The sequence of these two changes dynamically depending on the selection of Data Layout, and the upper one is used to specify a row, while the lower one is used to specify a column. The available options are as below:

None

Use row index or column index.

1st row/column in selection

Use the values of the first row/column in the current selection.

1st row/column in worksheet

Use the values of the first row/column in the current worksheet.

Column label

This is only available when a row is to specified. Uses the values of the column labels in the worksheet. It will allow you to select a column label row from the Column Label drop-down list. Please note that if only a range of the worksheet has been selected as Input data, then this tool will automatically use the corresponding part of the column label values.

Custom

Use this option to allow manual selection of data with the X Range (or Y Range) box. Please note the X(or Y)-values can only be selected from the same worksheet.

Format Y Data / Format X Data

Specify the data format of the Y/X data as Numeric (default), Text, Time or Date. Select this checkbox and click the ... button on the right of the text box to open the Format Data dialog, and select Format and Display to be applied to the Y/X data.

When Y Values in/X Values in is set to None, this check box will be disabled.

X Title / Y Title / Z Title

Specify the axis title for X Y or Z axis, respectively.

Virtual Matrix Name

Specify the short name of virtual matrix object to be created.