5 *More* Quick Minitab Tricks Even Some of the Experts Don't Know

Evan McLaughlin 19 March, 2020

Topics: Statistics, Minitab Statistical Software, Minitab Assistant, Minitab Quick Start, data literacy

Whether you are in spring cleaning mode, finally working on your novel, giving podcasts a try or binging through the Netflix series you just had not gotten around to yet, a lot of us are finding ourselves staying inside lately. We at Minitab are working remotely right now, and we are actually finding there's no better time to teach ourselves a few new things.


To that point, we set out in search of a few tricks you might not be aware of in Minitab Statistical Software. We actually started this list at the beginning of 2020 (check it out here) when we asked customers — new and old, first-time and seasoned users — where do you start when you have an easy-to-use interface and all the tools at your fingertips to quickly analyze data and make decisions on your most challenging business problems? 

Some of our Minitab experts developed the new, free Minitab Quick Start™ e-learning resource with just that in mind. Hopefully these 5 tips summarized below will show you something new that can help you analyze your data faster and more efficiently. And if you're interested in getting a walk-through of them be sure to sign up for Minitab Quick Start.


See these tricks and more in the new free e-learning resource Minitab Quick Start.


Transpose columns and rows in Minitab Statistical Software

1. Use the “Transpose Columns” Feature to Switch Rows to Columns

Whether you are manually inputting data by hand, importing it from a CSV or Excel spreadsheet that might have been formatted differently, or copying and pasting it, sometimes your data is entered across rows when it is supposed to be entered in columns. The Transpose Columns function allows you to quickly and easily switch rows to columns in your worksheet. To access this feature in Minitab, select Data > Transpose Columns. Then, enter the value range of all of the rows that contain what you want to transpose into columns.

The Minitab Assistant

2. Use the Assistant Menu For Guidance in Selecting The Best Tools

The Assistant menu is a unique feature in Minitab that is extremely helpful when you need guidance in selecting the best statistical tools to use for the problems you are trying to solve.

So, how does the Assistant menu work? It includes many of the analyses and graphs that are found in other Minitab menus. However, the Assistant menu is especially useful in specific, common situations. For example, if you:

  • Need help deciding which statistical analysis to run
  • Want Minitab to check the statistical assumptions of your analysis
  • Want output that is more graphical and explains how to interpret your results in detail

Brush a graph to zero in on data points in Minitab Statistical Software

3. Use the Brushing Tool to Zero In On Specific Data Points

The Brushing tool is a great asset for many graphs in Minitab. With the Brushing tool, you can select one or more data points to easily identify the data point’s corresponding worksheet information. As an example, if you notice an outlier on your scatterplot you can use this tool to learn more about this data point.

To access the brushing tool, right-click on the graph and choose Brush Points. A pane will appear next to the graph. Click on one data point or drag your mouse over multiple points to get data on these points. If individual points are not adjacent to each other, you can press and hold the Shift key and click on the desired points.


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Use the calculator at Calc > Calculator in Minitab Statistical Software

4. Use The Calculator to Create and Store Formulas

You can use the Calculator in Minitab (Calc > Calculator...) to create formulas and store the results in columns or constants. With the Calculator tool, you can define date/time, arithmetic, statistical, text, and other functions. When you open the Calculator dialog box, you’ll see the functions that are available in Minitab. The syntax that you need to use will be shown in the dialog box when you choose a function. Selecting the Assign as a formula option will allow for automatic updates to the calculated cells.

Recode data to text in Minitab Statistical Software

5. Recode Incorrect Data

When data in your spreadsheet are labeled incorrectly or need editing, the values can be easily changed across one or more columns using the Recode feature (Data > Recode...). This feature allows you to recode ranges of values, a single value, or a set of individual values. Furthermore, you have the ability to recode your data to numeric, text, or date/time format or use a conversion table. Using a conversion table is a quick and easy way to recode many individual values. 

Now don't get us wrong. Even seasoned Minitab users often call on our world-class tech support to help guide their way at times (that is what they are there for!). Using these tricks can help you navigate Minitab more quickly and efficiently before you need to pick up the phone though. If you are interested in more free lessons on using Minitab Statistical Software’s interface, check out these and more in our new e-learning module Minitab Quick Start.

In times of uncertainty, Minitab is here to help.