Tutorial:3D Plotting

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In Origin, most 3D plots -- including 3D surface, wire frame/wire surface, 3D bar plot and 2D contour -- are created from an Origin matrix. In most cases, the raw data is XYZ data and you should convert it to a matrix first, using one of Origin's built-in gridding routines.

Minimum Origin Version Required: Origin 8.0 SR6

What you will learn

This tutorial will show you how to:

  • Create a 3D graph in Origin
  • Convert Worksheet data to a Matrix
  • Use the layer contents dialog to add/remove a dataset
  • Use the Plot Details dialog to modify graph


  1. Import the file \Samples\Matrix Conversion and Gridding\XYZ Random Gaussian.dat.

  2. Highlight the 3rd column, right-click, and select Set As: Z from the context fly-out menu.

  3. To convert the worksheet XYZ data into a matrix, highlight the whole worksheet, select Worksheet: Convert to Matrix: XYZ Gridding to bring up the XYZ Gridding dialog. Confirm Replace Duplicates with item is set to Mean as shown below:
  4. And you can see the right preview panel as below. Since the XY data are randomly distributed, a random gridding method should be used.

  5. Use the following settings and click OK to convert the XYZ columns of data into a matrix of data. The Thin Plate Spline gridding method will generate a smooth surface.

    Image:Tutorial 3D Plot 003New.png

  6. Set the newly generated matrix as the active window and select Plot: 3D Surface: Wire Frame from the menu to plot a 3D mesh:


  7. In order to plot the original data points on the graph, you can use the Layer Contents. Right-click on the layer icon (the small grey box in the upper left corner of the graph window) and select Layer Contents.


    In the Layer Contents dialog, select Worksheets in Folder from the available data box (in the upper left corner of the dialog). Click on the Plot Type button Image:Button_Plot_Type.png, and select 3D Scatter/Trajectory/Vector in the list. Then select the worksheet Z column and click the -> button to add it to the right panel list.


    After you click the Apply button, the source data will be added to the layer.


  8. You can now use the Plot Details dialog to modify the appearance. Double-click on the graph to bring up the Plot Details dialog. On the left panel, select the 3D scatter data


    and then go to the Symbol tab located on the right panel and adjust the size and color of the data.


    Remove the drop lines on the Drop Lines panel:


  9. When done, click OK to accept the modifications:

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