Stata Coding Practices: Visualization
(This page is under construction.)
Modern Stata versions have extremely powerful graphics capabilities which allow the rapid creation of publication-quality graphics from almost any kind of tabular data. Although the default graphical commands and settings leave much to be desired, the customizability and interoperability of Stata's visualization tools mean that almost any imaginable output can be rendered using Stata's built-in graphics engine.
Stata graphics are typically created using one of four command types. Each has specific use cases, strengths, and weaknesses, and it is important to be familiar with the abilities and limitations of each when considering which to use to create a particular visualization. All four methods (except some user-written commands) use the same basic styling syntax discussed in this article.
graphcommand suite creates pre-packaged visualizations, typically based on Stata's native
collapsesyntax and statistics.
twowaysuite, which is the most commonly used tool, allows a flexible and open-ended approach to visualizing any amount of information in an abstract set of axes.
- Built-in graphical commands (such as
lowess) offer pre-packaged visualizations that do not follow the
graphstyle. These commands are typically better used within a
twowayenvironment and may behave differently when used independently.
- User-written commands (such as
spmap) create custom visualizations, but typically have unique purpose-built syntaxes and cannot be integrated in a
General Graphics Tools
local bad BAD sysuse auto`bad'.dta
Graphical schemes apply a large number of these options simultaneously, and in doing so they provide one of the highest degrees of cross-system consistency that is possible in creating graphs. Stata includes several built-in graphical schemes; the familiar "Stata blue" graphs are created using the