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proc areadef

proc areadef defines a rectangular area where subsequent scaled plotting will take place. The size, location of the rectangle are specified, and the scaling method and range of both X and Y are defined here. proc areadef may be used any number of times within the same script to do multiple plots per page, to produce multiple page results, or to overlay different scales or units on the same plot, but only one plotting area and scale system is in effect at any one time (referred to as the "current plotting area").

Various scaling types, including linear, log, date, time and category are available for X and Y. The xautorange and yautorange attributes can be used to perform automatic axis scaling based on the data. Clickmap and mouseover support is available for the plotting area grid or as a whole.


The range in X and Y must be specified, either using xrange / yrange, or xautorange / yautorange. If nothing else is specified, default behaviour is for the standard plotting area to be used, with linear scaling in x and y.

Location & size of the plotting rectangle

The size and location of the plotting area on a page (the plotting area) may be specified in one of these three ways:
    - by specifying a rectangle (two points) using the rectangle attribute;
    - by specifying plotting area size using the box attribute and the location using the location attribute.
    - by name using the areaname attribute;

You can also make the plot area size vary automatically based on how much data you are plotting (autowidth and autoheight).

rectangle     x1 y1 x2 y2

    Allows a plotting area to be defined by giving two points: (x1,y1) is the lower left corner and (x2,y2) is the upper right corner (both are in absolute units).
    Example: rectangle: 1.4 4 7.4 8

box     width height

    Allows a plotting area to be defined by giving width and height in absolute units. A location attribute should also be given to specify where to place the box.
    Example: box: 1.4 4

location     x y

    Used with the box attribute. Defines the location of the lower-left corner of the plotting area.

areaname     name

    Allows a plotting area to be defined by selecting a predefined rectangle by name. These are most useful when generating plots on standard paper.
    Example: areaname: 2hi

autowidth     f     [minallowablesize maxallowablesize [align=right]]

    If specified, the width of the plotting area will be automatically adjusted based on the X data range. This allows dynamic unattended plots to be sized appropriately whether the X range is 0 to 5 or 0 to 50. Plotting area width will be revised to f times the number of basic units in the range of X, in absolute units. You can optionally set a minallowablesize and a maxallowablesize (both in absolute units) that the plot will never be smaller than, or larger than, respectively
    Beforehand, the plotting area must be defined using rectangle or some other similar attribute(s), and the plotting must be large enough to accommodate the largest expected width (otherwise truncation can occur).
    For example:
      #proc areadef
         rectangle: 1 1 6 3
         xcategories: datafield=2
         autowidth: 0.3  3.0  8.0
    For example, if there are 12 categories represented in your data, 12 x 0.3 = 3.6, so the resulting plotting area would be 3.6 inches wide. If there are 20 categories, 20 x 0.3 = 6.0, and the resulting plotting area would be 6.0 inches wide. If there are only six categories, the resulting plot would have been 1.8 inches wide, however a minimum allowable size of 3.0 inches was specified, so the plot will be 3 inches wide. If there are 40 categories, the resulting plot would have been 12 inches wide, however a maximum allowable size of 8.0 inches was specified, so the plot will be 8 inches wide.
    align=right (new in 2.40) fixes the right side of the plot, with width adjustments affecting the left side (but be sure that maxallowablesize doesn't force the left side into negative space).
    Remember that with date and datetime scaling the basic unit is the day, and with time scaling the basic unit is the minute.

autoheight     f     [minallowablesize maxallowablesize [valign=top]]

    Allows the height of the plotting area to be determined by the data range in Y. Works similarly to autowidth above.

catbinsadjust     1 | 0

    If using category scaling where the categories are centered (shifted such that the first is at 0.5, the second at 1.5, etc.) this attribute may be specified as 1 to eliminate the extra space in the plotting area near the maxima. (New in 2.41)

Scaling method & range in X and Y

xscaletype     type     [format]

    Defines the type of scaling that will be in effect for the X axis. Supported types include:
    scaletype      description
    ----------     ------------------------------------------
    linear         the default; continuous linear
    log log+1      logarithmic scaling
    date           scaling based on date values, usually in X
    time           scaling based on time values, usually in X
    datetime       for plotting time values over several days
    categories     bins for categorical data.  
    Example: xscaletype: date yymm
    Example: xscaletype: datetime mm/dd/yyyy.hh:mm
    Example: xscaletype: categories

yscaletype     type     [format]

    Defines the type of scaling for the Y axis. Same syntax as xscaletype above. Default is linear.

Occasionally it is useful to revise the plotting units after the initial areadef has been done. To do this, use the $changeunits() function.

xrange     min max | categories

    Defines the plottable range in x. min and max must both be given, and must both be plottable values with respect to xscaletype. (To set a continuous range automatically using a data field, use xautorange.) If log scaling is being used, 0.0 may not given as the minima (but a very small value like 0.01 is ok). If date, time, log, categories, or other special type of scaling is to be done, xscaletype must be set appropriately. If you want, you can specify categories, but this just has the same effect as setting the scaletype to categories.
    Example: if your data ranges in x between 1.5 and 23.5 you might use: xrange: 0 24
    Example: xrange: categories
    Example: xrange: 01FEB2002 28FEB2002
    Example: xrange: 01FEB2002.00:00 04FEB2002.24:00

xautorange     datafield=dfields .. other subattributes..

    This may be used as an alternative to xrange, in order to automatically find an appropriate range based on the data. dfields are the data field(s) to be scanned. This attribute has its own manual page.

yrange     min max

    Defines the plottable range in y. See xrange above.

yautorange     datafield=dfield .. other subattributes..

    This may be used as an alternative to yrange, in order to automatically find an appropriate range based on the data. Similar to xautorange. This attribute has its own manual page.


The old syntax for defining categories within proc areadef is set forth below. This syntax is deprecated (support may be dropped in a future release). New projects should use proc categories which has additional capabilities and higher capacities.

xcategories ..define a set of categories to be used in X.

ycategories ..define a set of categories to be used in Y.

xextracategory ..allows an extra X axis category to be added explicitly

yextracategory ..allows an extra Y axis category to be added explicitly

catcompmethod ..control the details of how category comparisons are done.

Axis generation

X and Y axes are generated by proc axis ; however, axis attributes may be specified from within proc areadef as a convenience. This usually involves adding a xaxis. or yaxis. prefix to the attribute name. If axes are defined this way then the plotting area and axes can all be #clone'd as a unit.


    proc axis attributes for the x axis. Any proc xaxis attributes may be used from within proc areadef as a convenience, by prefixing the name with xaxis.. See proc axis


    proc yaxis options for the y axis. Any proc yaxis attributes may be used from within proc areadef as a convenience, by prefixing the name with yaxis.. See proc axis

axisline, tic*, minortic*

    These proc xaxis/yaxis attributes may be defined within proc areadef to control both axes. See proc axis


  #proc areadef
    xscaletype: date dd-Mmm-yyyy
    xrange: 01-Jun-2003 15-Jun-2003
    yrange: 0 100
    xaxis.label: Date
    xaxis.stubs: inc 3 day
    xaxis.stubformat: mm/dd
    yaxis.label: Percent occupied
    yaxis.stubs: inc

Other attributes of the plotting area

title     text

    Specifies a plot title (not a page title). Plot title will appear above the upper left corner of the plotting area by default.
    Example: title: Subgroup 24-C

titledetails     textdetails

    Text details for the plot title.
    Example: titledetails: align=R size=9 style=I

title2     text

    Allows a second title to be specified. May be useful to create a plot header on both left and right.

title2details     textdetails

    Text details for the second plot title.

areacolor     color

    Causes the area background to be filled with color. Example: areacolor: yellow

frame     linedetails | no | yes | bevel

    Specifies a box or frame around the plotting area. Options are: no (no frame), yes (do a default line frame), bevel for a beveled gray frame, or a line detail specification, which results in a frame made of lines with the given characteristics (A bevel frame will probably clash with tics and stubs unless these are positioned inward.)
    Example 1: frame: none
    Example 2: frame: color=red width=4.0
    Example 3: frame: bevel

linebottom     linedetails

    Specifies a line to be drawn along the bottom edge of the plotting area. This is just a line, not an X axis.
    Example: linebottom: yes
    Example: linebottom: none
    Example: linebottom: width=0.5 color=green

lineside     linedetails

    Same as linebottom but specifies a line to be drawn along the left side. This is just a line, not a Y axis.

Clickmaps and mouseover

clickmapurl     url template

    If a clickmap is being generated, and the plotting area is being mapped as a grid, this attribute must be specified to supply a URL template, into which @@XVAL and/or @@YVAL will be substituted. You'll also need to set proc axis's clickmap attribute to indicate whether the grid will be associated with one axis or both. See also the clickmap page for more details and examples.
    Example: clickmapurl:
    This attribute can also be used to make the entire plotting area one clickable region. This will be done if niether @@XVAL nor @@YVAL are found in the template.

clickmaplabel     label

    If generating a client-side clickmap, region encompassing the entire plotting area, this specifies a mouseover text label.
    Example: clickmaplabel: Animals tested without drug effect

clickmaplabeltext     multiline text

    Same as clickmaplabel but multiline text. Must be terminated with a blank line.

clickmapadjust     x y

    Adjust (move) the entire clickmap grid by (x, y) in absolute units. (New in 2.41)

Variables set by proc areadef

Areadef will set the variables AREALEFT, AREARIGHT, AREABOTTOM, and AREATOP to hold the locations of the plot area edges in absolute units Also, XMIN, XMAX, YMIN, and YMAX are set to the scaled space boundaries.

Pre-defined plotting area names

Pre-defined plotting area names, used with the areaname: attribute, are:
    Name    	Description
    --------	------------------------------
    standard	the default
    square		a square area
    whole   	as much of the page as possible
    2hi, 2lo	two plots on a page, one above the other
    2left, 2right	two plots on a page, side by side
    3hi, 3mid, 3lo	three plots on a page
    4ne, 4nw, 4se, 4sw	four plots on a page (ne = northeast)


Ploticus 2.42 ... May 2013 Terms of use /