The last thing you want to do when you purchase a new piece of software is spend an excessive amount of time getting up and running. You’ve probably been ready to the use the software since, well, yesterday. Minitab has always focused on making our software easy to use, but many professional software packages do have a steep learning curve.
Whatever package you’re using, here are three things you can do to speed the process of starting to analyze your data with statistical software:
1. Get Technical Support
If you’re having trouble figuring out how to do something in a statistical software package, the makers of the software should be ready to provide the assistance you need.
When you purchase Minitab, whether for a single user or for your entire organization, we offer free technical support, by phone or online, to help you install and use the software. We’ve also got quick-start installation guides and an extensive library of installation-related FAQs to browse.
Minitab’s technical support team includes specialists in statistics and quality improvement, as well as technology, so they can assist with virtually any challenge you encounter while using the software.
2. Consult Help
Let’s face it, when a problem arises, the documentation for a lot of software is not all that helpful. That’s why many of us tend to ignore the “Help” menu when we encounter a software-related question. But if you haven’t explored the Help options offered by your statistical software, you should check them out.
Most software have some sort of built-in Help content, but our team has taken it a step further by offering truly useful, valuable information within Minitab. That information includes concise overviews of major statistical topics, guidance for setting up your data, information on methods and formulas, comprehensive guidance for completing dialog boxes, and easy-to-follow examples. And that’s just the start. Minitab’s built-in help options also include:
The Assistant: You certainly don’t need to be a statistics expert to get the insight you need from your data. Minitab’s Assistant menu interactively guides you through several types of analyses—including Measurement Systems Analysis, Capability Analysis, Hypothesis Tests, Control Charts, DOE and Multiple Regression.
StatGuide: After you analyze your data, the built-in StatGuide helps you interpret statistical graphs and tables in a practical, straightforward way. To access the StatGuide, just right-click on your output, press Shift+F1 on the keyboard, or click the StatGuide icon in the toolbar:
Tutorials: For a refresher on statistical tasks, take a look at built-in tutorials (Help > Tutorials), which include an overview of data requirements, step-by-step instructions, and guidance on interpreting the results.
3. Free Web Site Resources
See what kinds of material exists on the web site of your statistical software package. There may be much more there than basic information about the product!
For instance, at the Minitab web site you can attend live webinars, view recorded webcasts, and read step-by-step how-to’s and detailed technical articles. The Minitab Blog also offers tips and techniques for using Minitab in quality improvement projects, research, and more.
Perhaps my favorite resource on Minitab.com is the Minitab Product Support Section, which features a getting started guide, a topic library with all the various analyses available in Minitab, a free data set library to practice analyses, and a macro library that contains over 100 helpful macros you can use to automate, customize, and extend the functionality of Minitab analyses.