Part 2. MM4XL Tools > 3. Charts and Maps > 4D > Technicalities

4-Dimensional Chart


As for most visualization techniques, the drawing of 4D charts is made of two elements: the space where to place items and the items to be represented in the space.

Our 4D space is made of two parts:

  • plane
  • grid

The items are displayed in the form of pin-bubbles and are made of three parts:

  • marker
  • whisker
  • bubble

We describe each part of both elements with the aid of the picture below. Before going into details, however, we would like to warn the reader that re-scaling coordinates shows pin-bubbles apparently in a wrong position. This is true according to the axes scale, although the overall bubble spread is still correct. This annoyance is due to the fact that Excel cannot handle 3D spaces for charting, so we have found a way around this by re-scaling coordinates and drawing a custom oblique grid. This way we are able to reproduce the 3D effect on a chart but, unfortunately, resizing axes may be confusing when seeking for correspondence between bubble coordinates and axes scale. This is, however, a negligible detail in most analytic situations drawn in 3D space. Indeed, it is the spread of the pin-bubbles around, above and below the plane that should attract our attention rather than the quantification of the coordinates.

Anatomy of a 4D Chart

Plot 3D Axis Chart in Excel with Bubble Graph Software

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