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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

SPSS Tutorial: Graphics

This guide provides a general walkthrough of SPSS's basic features.

SPSS Graphics

Using the Chartbuilder

SPSS provides a number of dialogs for creating graphics. The newest is the Chart Builder, a dialog which consolidates many of the functions available through the Legacy Dialogs. To access the Chart Builder select "Graphs"->"Chart Builder" from the menu.

Screen-shot of the Graphs drop-down menu containing Chart Builder

This will open up the Chartbuilder dialog.

Screen-shot of the Chart Builder dialog box

To demonstrate the Chart Builder's abilities, we'll create a boxplot for the "median_income" variable.

Select "Boxplot" in the "Choose from" menu. You'll see three icons appear in the box to the right of the menu. The Chartbuilder works using a drag and drop interface. Select the icon showing a single plot and drag it to the Chart Previews box above. Then select "median_income" from the "Variables" box and drag it to the dotted-line border area labeled "Y-Axis" in the Chart Preview box.

Screen-shot of using Chart Builder to create a box plot

Hit "OK" and the boxplot appears in the Output Viewer.

Screen-shot of the box plot as it appears in the output viewer


Legacy Dialogs

Screen shot of the legacy dialog navigation to make a scatter plot

In addition to the Chart Builder, SPSS includes what it terms "Legacy Dialogs" that each create a certain chart type. The example here uses a scatterplot, but SPSS includes dialogs for many chart types, from basic bar and line graphs to more statistics-oriented visualizations like histograms, scatterplots, and boxplots.

To obtain a scatterplot, select "Graphs"->"Legacy Dialogs"->"Scatter/Dot" to open the dialog below:

Screen-shot of the Simple Scatterplot dialog box

Select "bachelors_or_higher" as the X axis and "median_income" as the Y then click "OK." The scatterplot will appear in the Output Viewer.

Screen-shot of scatterplot as it appears in the Output Viewer

To add a regression line that reflects the regression performed in the "General Statistics and Hypothesis Testing" section right-click on the chart in the output viewer and select "Edit Content." A new window  will be opened, called the Chart Editor, that allows further interactions with the graphic. Right click the image in this window and select "Add Fit Line at Total."

Screen-shot of how to add a line of best fit to your scatterplot in Chart Editor

The "Properties" dialog will open and a number of fit lines will be selectable.

Screen-shot of the properties dialog box

Selecting "Linear" and clicking "Apply" draws the least square regression line on the plot, changing the graph in both the Editor and the Output Viewer. The graph can also be copied as an image to other applications so that it can be displayed in research papers, blog posts, Web Sites, or presentation slides.

Screen-shot of the scatterplot with a least square regression line through it in Chart Editor

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