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OriginPro Student Version Offers Useful Enhancements

This data analysis and graphing software is a truly comprehensive software package

OriginPro Student Version Offers Useful Enhancements
OriginLab offers a limited-time student personal use license for OriginPro 8.5, the latest version of their data analysis and graphing software. This is a fully-functional download from their Web site (www.OriginLab.com), requiring an online activation step to generate the license file for the individual student user. OriginPro 8.5 is compatible with Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 2007, and requires a minimum of 1 GHz Pentium compatible processor, 1024 MB of RAM and 500 MB of disk space. The download, installation, and activation processes are quick and straightforward, although the activation does require verification of student status via e-mail.

The learning curve when upgrading to OriginPro 8.5 is minimal, as the Workbook interface and location of the plotting features is relatively unchanged. This is helpful in adjusting to the new version without having to relearn the mechanics of the software. Overall, the enhancements made to the interface for basic plotting functions are very useful and facilitate the efficient production of publication-ready graphics.

In particular, the organization of the Plot Details window is much improved over earlier versions. The ability to customize the group formats in terms of color order and symbol order allows for more cohesive plots without having to change the defaults for the entire program. Additionally, the Theme Organizer allows for the ready conversion of bulk formatting options, such as converting all color lines and symbols to distinguishable black and white options, resizing the plot, and changing the font and tick label orientations. These theme options have the potential to save considerable amounts of time, as it is no longer necessary to modify each plot individually. Maintained from Origin 8, the customizable heading fields, which link to the axis in the plots, make data organization much simpler, and the Sparklines feature is also particularly nice, as it provides an easy way to preview the data in the Workbook form.

Waterfall plots demonstrating amplitude-based and
Waterfall plots demonstrating amplitude-based and z-based color mapping
Of all the plotting improvements made in OriginPro 8.5, the most prominent are the enhanced 3-D features. This includes the addition of 3-D vector plots and error bars, as well as the ability to plot a 3-D contour directly from the Workbook. Waterfall plots also have been converted to 3-D format and now feature in-plane axis titles and ticks. These features enhance the overall versatility of the software by adding more options for customizing the plot and providing better control over the aesthetics while maintaining graphing functionality.

3-D surface plots demonstrating a color map from an array of z values and a transparent surface with symbols
3-D surface plots demonstrating a color map from an array of z values and a transparent surface with symbols
In terms of data analysis, improvements have been made in the Peak Analyzer Wizard, allowing for more control over the baseline and peak selection options. This, combined with the improved fitting options from Origin 8, provide a facile means to analyze and fit multiple peaks without an additional fitting program. While Origin products already exhibited some compatibility with the Microsoft Office Suites, OriginPro 8.5 expands this by allowing all graphs to be directly exported into PowerPoint, and for Word, Excel and Equation objects to be embedded within Origin graphs and layouts. Along these lines, the Excel worksheet feature within the Project Workbooks is substantially improved in terms of stability. Previously, it was advantageous to do larger scale calculations in a separate Excel document. However, with the improved stability, the need to work in multiple programs is greatly reduced. Overall, these improvements make Origin a truly comprehensive software package.

OriginPro 8.5 is an efficient program that far exceeds other graphing options. In particular, the improvements to the formatting options and compatibility with the Microsoft Office Suite make this upgrade especially valuable to the student user.

Note: This review was performed using the OriginPro 8.5 Student Personal Use license shortly before the arrival of version 8.5.1 which is now available and replaces version 8.5.

Availability

•$50 one year
•$100 two years

OriginLab
One Roundhouse Plaza, Suite 303
Northampton MA 01060
1-800-969-7720 (US & Canada)
1-413-586-2013; Fax: 1-413-585-0126
www.originlab.com

Jaclyn Wiggins-Camacho is a fifth-year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. Keith J. Stevenson is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. They may be reached at editor@ScientificComputing.com.

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