GraphPad Prism 8 User Guide

Essential concepts

Essential concepts

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Essential concepts

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To use Prism effectively, you need to understand these essential concepts:


Prism data tables are organized. It is essential to choose the right kind of data table.

Unlike Excel or most statistics programs, Prism's data tables are organized with a structure or format. To use Prism effectively, therefore, you must learn the distinction between the eight types of data tables. Don't try to choose the kind of table based on the kind of graph to make. That approach doesn't always work. Choose a table based on the organization of your data and the analyses you wish to perform.

A Prism project can contain many data tables and graphs

A Prism project (another term for a Prism file) is not limited to a single graph or data table, but rather can contain up to 500 data tables, graphs, analyses, and page layouts.

Prism can automatically plot error bars from raw data

One of Prism's strengths is its ability to handle replicates and error bars. For XY and Grouped tables, replicates are placed in side-by-side subcolumns. For Column tables, replicates are stacked in each column.If you enter replicate values, Prism can plot either individual replicates or error bars. It can plot error bars from the replicates you entered automatically. You don't have to specify any calculations.

When you edit or replace data, analyses and graphs are automatically updated

Prism remembers the logical links between data tables, info sheets, results tables, graphs and layouts. When you edit or replace data, Prism automatically recomputes linked analyses and redraws linked graphs.

Analyses can be chained

Results tables can be analyzed further. From any results table with green grid lines, click the Analyze button. This lets you, say, first transform your data, and then fit a curve (nonlinear regression) to the results.

Results of analyses can be presented on multiple analysis tabs

Analysis tabs at the top of the results page let you see different parts of the results.

One table ≠ one graph

By default, Prism creates one graph for each data table you create, but this should not limit you. You can plot a table on multiple graphs. And you can plot data from multiple data tables on one graph.

Recycle your work

Once you've analyzed and graphed one data table, it is easy to repeat your work with new data by duplicating a family or cloning a graph.