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JMP Tip: Finding the Gold Coin Boxes

A customer recently compared JMP's very rich interface to the interface in a computer game. Specifically, she said that watching me use JMP was like watching her children play Super Mario Bros. Her boys would be guiding one of the Italian plumbers along, and suddenly they would stop and direct Mario or Luigi to leap into the air and, out of nowhere, a box full of gold coins would appear above his head.

Similarly, she said that the more she uses JMP, the more gold coin boxes she finds.

We've tried to put the most commonly used features prominently in the user interface, but many valuable, more advanced options are shown only with a right-click contextual menu, or only in a secondary dialog box. This is an attempt to make JMP's interface easier for the beginning user but provide options for the experienced user who wants more control and features.

Every now and then, I'll be posting tips and tricks to help show you where the gold coin boxes are. You may have found some of them already, but, to tell the truth, I find one I didn't know about most every day.

Too Many Axes to Grind

Today's tip comes from an interaction with the customer referenced above. She had a report window with dozens of graphs in it. It was created as the result of an analysis with a by-group column. So, most of the graphs used same column for the Y axis.

By default, JMP will set the minimum and maximum values on an axis to fit the data being plotted. When you use a by-group column, this results in the various graphs having different scales on the axes they have in common.

To make comparisons among the graphs easier, the customer wanted to rescale all of these axes to have the same scale. The day before we spoke, she had spent many hours double-clicking on each axis in the report and setting the minimum and maximum values in the resulting dialog. Then she discovered that she needed to re-do the analysis because the data had changed.

That's when she called me.

"There must be a quicker way," she said.

Indeed there is. A right-click on an axis will give you the an option to "Copy Axis Settings" to the clipboard as shown below.

Then, you can go to another axis and right-click on it and choose "Paste Axis Settings." Now, the two axes will match each other.

This alone would make the process of making axes have the same scale easier, but if you combine this with one more hidden gem, you'll get some real magic.

Instead of a simple right-click on the destination axis, hold the Ctrl key down as you right-click and choose "Paste Axis Settings." When you hold the Ctrl key down as you make changes in a report window, JMP will broadcast those changes to all similar objects in the window. So, as you paste the axis settings while holding the Ctrl key down, you'll paste them to all similar axes in the window.

What could be tedious becomes a breeze.

As I explained how to do this to this customer, I could almost hear the "boo-da-ling" of a coin box in the background.

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