6.4.1 Adding and Arranging Layers


A typical graph page generally includes three elements: a set of X, Y (and Z) coordinate axes, one or more data plots, and associated text and graphic labels. Origin combines these three elements into a movable, resizeable unit called a layer. While a page can contain as many as 121 layers, only one layer can be active at any one time.

What you will learn

  • How to tell how many layers a graph has?
  • How to tell what data is in what layer?
  • How to swap layers


Importing data

  1. Click the Import Single ASCII button, Button Import Single ASCII.png, on the Standard toolbar. The ASCII dialog opens.
  2. In the Origin folder, browse to the Samples folder and then the Graphing folder. Select Wind.dat from the list of files.
  3. Click Open. The data file imports into the worksheet.

Plotting the data

  1. Highlight the Speed and Power columns.
  2. Click the Line button, Button Line.png, on the 2D Graphs toolbar. A line plot is created. It appears that this data would be better plotted on a double-Y graph, a graph with two controlling Y axes.
  3. Click the X to Close this window. You will be asked if you want to hide or delete the window. Click the Hide button. (If you Delete, you will not be able to Undo, and you will need to re-create the graph. Hiding closes the window from view, but you can later make it visible using the Project Explorer window.)
  4. The Speed and Power columns should still be highlighted. Click the Double-Y Axis button, Button Double Y Axis.png, on the 2D Graphs toolbar. This new graph contains 2 layers.

How to tell what data is plotted in a layer?

One way is with the legend:

  1. Double-click on Graph1 from the Project Explorer window. The graph opens and becomes the active child window.
  2. Select Format:Page and go to the Legends/Titles tab.
  3. Set the Auto Legend Translation Mode to Data Range.
  4. Click OK.

A second way is with the status bar:

  1. Double-click on Graph2 from the Project Explorer window. Graph2 is now in front and becomes the active child window.
  2. Click the Layer 1 icon, Button Layer Icon.png to make layer 1 active.
  3. Look in the lower right of Origin's status bar and you'll see [WIND]WIND!Col(Speed)[1:12].
  4. Repeat for Layer 2 and you'll see [WIND]WIND!Col(Power)[1:12].

A third way is from the menu:

  1. Make Graph2 active.
  2. Right-click on the Layer 1 icon. At the bottom of the context menu, you see the data plot list. The one checked is the active data plot.
  3. Right-click on Layer 2 to view the list of data that is plotted in it.
  4. Note that you can also select the Data menu to view the data plot list.
    A fourth way is with the Plot Setup dialog.
  1. With Graph2 still active, Right-click on the layer 1 icon to select Plot Setup.
  2. In the opened Plot Setup dialog, expand the Plot List to see also the data in Layer 2. You can see the advantage here is that you can see data in all layers at once.

    In order to show all three panels in Plot Setup dialog, please expand Plot Type panel by clicking Button Expand Preview Up.png and expand Available Data panel by clicking Button Expand Preview Up.png again.

    Please refer to Plotting using Plot Setup for more information.

  3. Uncheck the Show check box for the Speed data plot.
  4. Click OK. This data plot is only hidden which is why the legend still indicates its presence in the layer.

The last way is from the Plot Details dialog.

  1. Double-click on any of the line+symbol plots in Graph2.
  2. Expand the tree so you see contents of both Layer1 and Layer2.
  3. Uncheck the Speed and Power data plots.
  4. Click OK.