At Minitab, we want our users to focus their time on drawing sensible conclusions from their data that they can use to resolve business problems or take advantage of opportunities. However, with more and more sources of data available, you often spend more time getting ready for analysis and less time interpreting it.
Here are four ideas that demonstrate how Minitab macros deliver “one-click analysis” for the repetitive part of any analysis project. If you’re interested in seeing macros in action, please watch our webinar: Tips from the Experts: Fast-track Your Data Analysis with Basic Macros.
1) Creating a Customized Chart
The charts that are produced directly from the Minitab menus may not look exactly the way you want them to. For example, take this plant growth data set in the boxplot example below. It produces a chart that looks like this.
However, you might want it to look more like this.
It is easy to edit the original Boxplot chart to look like this, but if you had to do this for a large number of charts each month, then it would become a real burden. However, it would be possible to create a Minitab Exec – the simplest type of automation in Minitab – to do this quickly with one click.
2) Getting External Datasets Analysis Ready
Nowadays we often get data from a number of sources and before we can do any analysis we need to import the data and get it ready for analysis, which might involve subsetting the data, sorting, transposing, recoding and creating new variables.
I had a similar problem to this with the data I used for my blog, Sunny Day for a Statistician. The data from my solar panel system came in 50 monthly CSV files, each looking like this.
I needed all this data to be in one file, so instead of doing this manually one at a time, I wrote macro that:
- Asked me the start date and end date for my analysis.
- Determined how many files needed to be created and created the file names for each month.
- Flowed in the monthly files, ignoring the first 7 header rows.
- Stacked the individual worksheets into one worksheet.
- Extracted the year and month from the date, ready for my analysis.
Now I have this macro I can quickly add data to my historical worksheet of solar data, ready to repeat my analysis. I could even extend this macro to do the analysis too!
3) Analysis Using a Method or Formula not in Minitab
Minitab has an extensive library of methods and formulae that cover the analyses. However, what if you want to use a different methodology or formula? Many users think they have to use other software that allows them to do calculations from first principles.
However – provided you know what you want and have the required formulae/methods you could use a macro to complete this analysis. You can find more than 100 examples of these types of analysis that can be completed using macros in the Minitab Macro Library.
4) Add Your Macros to Your Minitab Menu Bar
Did you know that you can customize the Menu Bar in Minitab? I have used the Tools > Customize dialog box to create my own menu item called “My 1-Clicks.” You will see it has the three items corresponding to the three tricks above.
So now all I need to do to complete any of this analysis is to click on these menu items.
I hope these tricks have given you some ideas for improving the efficiency of analysis in your organization. If you want to find out more on how to create these, join our live webinar, Tips from the Experts: Fast-track Your Data Analysis with Basic Macros on March 29. We will send out a recording and the presentation afterward in case you miss it or would like to review the information later on or share with colleagues.