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Why is not every setting applied to a chart saved within a chart template, e.g. Style: Color to a grouped scatterplot?

Technote (FAQ)


I work with IBM SPSS Statistics software and have created the below grouped scatterplot for sample file Employee data.sav.
On the grouped scatterplot I use Current Salary on (Y), Beginning Salary on (X) and colored by variable Employment Category as legend variable
I double click on the chart to edit it: edit the scatterplot and change Style: Border Color to Style: Color on the Variables tab in Properties window by selecting the dots and double click on the dots in the scatterplot to open the Properties dialog.
On Properties dialog I select Variables tab.
By default for legend (group) variable Employment Category I see Style: Border Color for the marker element type.
I change this to Style: Color and click Apply.
Then I save this setting as chart template *.sgt file and apply it to another grouped scatterplot.
However, I notice the scatterplot is again created with Style: Border Color and not with Style: Color.
Why is this?


This is a relatively common request from customers, but the design was to do it this way.
The reason we can't just do it is that chart templates do not save information that is data dependent.

In your example, you assign a particular variable (the legend variable) to be the color for the points.
However you could have easily used the X or Y axis variable, or another variable as your color.
If we save a template and apply it to a chart from different data, we would have to guess that you wanted to use the legend variable. In some charts there are multiple legend variables.

It would make sense to assume the user wanted to use the first legend variable for the color,
but the Program designers didn't want to make any assumptions.

There are workarounds however. You can edit the GPL if your chart is created from Chart Builder.
See GPL_Reference_Guide_for_IBM_SPSS_Statistics.pdf for details.

Another option is to hand-edit the template.
You can save a template with only the Styles in it (on save template select Styles only) and edit the saved template in a text editor (like Wordpad).

In the template you will see something like this:

<setColor aestheticNumber="1">

Change it to this:

<setColor aestheticNumber="1" affect="both">

Save it and then re-apply it to your chart.

This will cause the fill and border colors to change.

If you want only the fill (leave the border black), use affect="secondary".

By default, it is using affect="primary", which for points the visualization team decided was the borders.
However be careful with this, as if you apply it to a grouped bar, area, or pie chart, it will only color the borders and leave the fill color the default color (khaki).

An Enhancement Request has been submitted to Development to consider if this can be added to chart templates without having to manually edit them (Reference ID: ECM00200905)

Related information

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Document information

More support for: SPSS Statistics

Software version: 19.0, 20.0, 21.0, 22.0

Operating system(s): Platform Independent

Reference #: 1666425

Modified date: 07 September 2016