MagicPlot - Graphing and Nonlinear Fitting Tool

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Why MagicPlot?

We came across plenty of apps for plotting, fitting and scientific data processing, and each of them was good in its own way. Nevertheless, we could not find a program which we would totally like. So we started developing our own application, MagicPlot. By now it is a well developed application, which is capable to produce publication-quality X-Y graphs, perform nonlinear fitting and some data processing and also has some features that we consider quite necessary and useful but can never find in other software. Here is a list of such features. Full feature list can be found here.

  • Multilevel undo and redo. In many text editors undo function has become standard a long ago, but many other scientific data processing, fitting and plotting programs still do not fully support it. With MagicPlot you can experiment freely, not worrying anymore that your work may be corrupted: you can always undo one or more actions. You can even see the changes history and undo many actions with one mouse click.
  • Easy plot navigation for data exploration. Usually people spend the majority of time exploring some dependencies in experimental plots, not preparing the plot for printing. But in many other programs you have to manually enter four numbers every time you want to change the scale range. In MagicPlot, we designed five tools for easy scale changing:
    1. Box zoom tool;
    2. Hand tool (right mouse button drag);
    3. X, Y scrollbars which are also useful for the orientation in whole data range;
    4. The mouse wheel scrolls plot or changes scale depending on what keys are pressed: Ctrl or/and Shift;
    5. Scale buttons on the toolbar.
    Furthermore, MagicPlot always automatically shows the coordinates of mouse cursor, highlights curve data point under cursor and even shows the corresponding table row and column numbers, so you do not have to choose and switch any tools to do it. You also can go to table cell which corresponds to the curve point under cursor by selecting appropriate menu item in context menu.
  • Nonlinear fitting is a creative process, not a straightforward task. Nonlinear data fitting is one of the most important features in scientific and engineering data analysis. In most of other programs fitting is implemented as an additional function, and after performing of a fitting process you only get plots and non-editable numerical parameters. MagicPlot allows you to experiment with a model and initial values of parameters. Fitting in MagicPlot is similar to drawing in a graphic editor with multilevel undo feature. You are not limited by a simple (nor complex) step-by-step wizard. On the contrary, you can experiment with your model, specifying various data intervals and initial values of parameters. The intervals of data for fitting and initial values of parameters for built-in functions (linear function, parabola, Gauss and Lorentz functions, etc) can be set directly on the plot by dragging anchor points with mouse. If you are working with a spectrum, you can subtract not only baseline, but also some peaks from your data with one click.
  • Import of text data with a preview. Most of apps support export and import of tables in CSV text format (comma separated values), so we consider this format as the most common for data exchange between apps. Unfortunately, text files may differ in structure (different decimal separators, headers, etc.) Most of programs allow to specify these options at import, but not all of them allow to preview the result. MagicPlot has a convenient dialog window for text files import, in which you can see the source text file and imported table and also the immediate result (the plot), so that you can check if all import options are correct.
  • Built-in calculator. Scientists and engineers often need to quickly calculate a value using some formula. Many people use Windows calculator for this task, but it is inconvenient for calculating complicated formulas. For such a task, we built in MagicPlot a useful calculator which supports expressions. Moreover, all numerical input fields and tables support formulas.
  • Automatic recalculation of data using formulas. In most cases, programs do not save the formula they just calculated. MagicPlot allows not only manual updating of data with formula, but also can do it automatically on change of the input data; recalculation is instantaneous.
  • Formula syntax highlighting. All programmers know how hard it is to develop programs in a text editor without syntax highlighting. The same is true for formula editing, where parentheses matching support is most important. MagicPlot is one of the few plotting applications in which syntax highlighting and parentheses matching is implemented in formula editor and calculator.
  • Objects snapping for accurate drawing. If the boundaries of dragged object (text label, arrow, axes and so forth) are close to the boundaries of other objects, MagicPlot snaps dragged object to these other objects and shows ruler on the common boundary. MagicPlot also highlights object to which snapping was done. You can as well specify accurate coordinates and sizes of objects in Dimensions toolbar.
  • Saving and applying figure templates with one click. Now you can easily create plenty of identically formatted figures: MagicPlot allows quick saving of figure templates and applying them to other figures.
  • Translucent colors. MagicPlot is a modern application, allowing you to specify opacity for any object: curve, text label, arrow, rectangle axes box, etc. Canvas background can also be made transparent, in case you want to insert figure into a presentation. For quick pasting to presentation or other document which is opened in other application, you can use copying of the image to the clipboard in vector or raster format, depending on what the other application supports.
  • Unicode and special typographical characters support. MagicPlot supports Unicode and it means that you will have no problems entering letters of national alphabets and special characters. MagicPlot uses professional typographical minus and multiplication signs for output numbers on axes, instead of inappropriate hyphen and Latin letter 'x' which are used in many other plotting programs.
  • Fast and good-looking graphics. Most of other plotting programs draw curves on the screen one by one. When this process gets slower (as in the case of plenty of data points), it becomes visible for the user, resulting in a very annoying flickering. In MagicPlot this effect is absent and plot always appears as a solid object, as if drawn on a real sheet of paper. MagicPlot quickly draws plots with hundred of thousands points, even with antialiasing turned on. While dragging and changing size of objects (text labels, arrows, etc), MagicPlot does not draw their rectangle outlines with dotted line as do some other apps, but redraws the dragged object itself, so you can see the actual object size and position, which facilitates estimation of desired proportions.
  • Compact. Though having plenty of functions, MagicPlot consists of only one executable file, about 2 Mbytes in size. No annoying installation procedure is required.
  • Cross-platform. MagicPlot is based on Java technology that allows an application to run on any operating system, on which Java virtual machine is installed. Project files created in MagicPlot are portable as well.

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