An Overview of Aabel 3 Features


Aabel is a modern, powerful, and feature-rich Mac OS X Universal package, including:

  • Diverse statistical & exploratory data analysis methods
  • Easy to use data-reduction techniques for complex multivariate data
  • A unique pipeline design that allows real-time two-way interaction with data and makes multivariate & exploratory data analysis a breeze
  • Interactive data visualization, a rich variety of graph types, and over 240 styles of data representation
  • Thematic mapping and related importers & map projection utilities
  • Native worksheets providing numerous data management tools, a formula editor, and other utilities
  • Multidimensional data filtering comparable to a database search
  • Diverse data import and graphic file export support, a data manipulator, flexible customizing tools, Unicode support, publication quality graphics, and more

System Requirements

  • Mac OS 10.4.4.x, Leopard, or Snow Leopard
  • Intel- or Power PC-based Mac
  • A color monitor with a minimum resolution of 1024 x 768

More Information

Aabel Unique Pipeline Architecture

Aabel employs a pipeline architecture that allows real-time, two-way interaction between graphic viewers and their source worksheets, and between plotted data displayed on the same or on different viewers.This unique design has many advantages:

  • You can perform graphing or statistical analysis from multiple Aabel worksheets, without a need to merge the data into a single worksheet.
  • You can have real-time interaction with data, e.g., change variables, change chart types, etc., all from within a single interface, and the results will be dynamically updated.
  • Saved graphic viewer files are not static graphic files. They are hot-linked to the data sources used to create the chart(s). If you make changes to source worksheets, the modifications will be dynamically updated on all charts using the data.
  • The pipeline architecture of Aabel has enabled the design of powerful and dynamic data exploration tools such as X-zooming, interactive data filtering, etc.
  • A Schematic Representation
    of Aabel Pipeline Design

Data Exploration Tools

Data brushing can be used to highlight data interrelationships (see the image below). However, Aabel takes data exploration beyond data brushing.

QuickTime Movie: Dynamics of
Aabel Design (00.00.50)

QuickTime Movie: Ease of Use
of Stats Analyzer (00.00.28)

Multidimensional Data Filtering Tools

Statistics and Exploratory Data Analysis

Aabel Stats Analyzer

The Stats Analyzer has a modern interface that is designed to provide flexibility and ease of use. It is an integral part of the graphic viewer that allows creating presentation and publication quality graphic outputs (tables and graphs).

Statistical and Multivariate Data Analysis Methods

Testing for Normality

Testing for Homogeneity of Variance

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)

Multiple Comparison Tests Accompanying ANOVA

Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA)

Single-factor between-subjects ANCOVA:

Chi-Square Tests





Internal Consistency Reliability

Non-Parametric Tests

Contingency Table Analysis

Kaplan-Meier Survival Analysis

Receiver Operating Characteristic Curves (ROC)

Regression Analysis and Curve Fitting

Regressions concerning two continuous variables

Cubic Spline interpolation

User-Defined Non-Linear Regression

Logistic Regression

Multiple Regression

Partial Least Squares Regression (PLS)

Outlier Analysis

Principal Component Analysis (PCA)

Factor Analysis

Polynomial Trend Surface Analysis (Map Analysis)

Cluster Analysis

New: K-Means Cluster Analysis

Hierarchical cluster analysis

New: Dot Plots

New: Parallel Dot Plot of Repeated Measures

This graph is designed to display dot plots of score (response values) form k >=2 repeated measures (dependent samples) on axes that are parallel to one another and equally spaced, with all axes having the same value range (see the right-hand side image).

Basic Heatmaps

Heatmap displaying a worksheet matrix

Heatmaps with optional scaling of Z-values

Frequency Distribution/ Histograms


One-way frequency analysis of categorical data

New: N-way frequency analysis of categorical data

Statistical Quality Control Using Shewhart and Other Control Charts

Aabel provides Shewhart control charts for variables, Shewhart control charts for attributes, and other related charts:

Probability Plot

Box & Whisker and Box-Percentile Plots

Bar and Line Plots of Mean, Median, Max., Min.

These plots are used for comparing mean, medians, maximum, or minimum values of multiple variables, or of subgroups/categories of variables.

New: Interaction plots

New: 3-Way Mean Plots

These plots compare the response values (scores, measurements) obtained from k >=2 samples/groups, each of which representing data from pqs levels of experimental conditions. The plot options include:

Diamond Mean Comparison Plots

Bland & Altman and Paired t-Test Difference Plots

In Aabel, the Bland & Altman method for comparing two methods of measurement or two paired variables provides:

Descriptive Statistics

Primary and Secondary Data Transformations

Thematic Maps and Map Projection Utilities

A thematic map displays the spatial distribution of an attribute relating to specific data themes (e.g., population density, rainfall, soil type, median age, number of housing units, pollutants concentration in air, etc.). Aabel provides import facilities, map projections utilities and graphing abilities to create thematic maps.


Importers are provided to enable users to import and arrange polygon data and create thematic maps that are suitable for their purpose, instead of being provided with maps without ability to choose or modify them. Aabel provides importers for:

Thematic map diagrams

Map projection utilities (coordinate transformations)

Data Visualization and Graph Types

Features of Graphic Viewer

The graphic viewer is the Aabel interface for data visualization & charting and for displaying the graphical results of statistical analysis.

Specialized Scientific Graphing

Structural Diagrams: Stereographic, Rose, and Lineament

The corresponding data for stereographic charts are stored in worksheets with selected variables as:

Stereographic diagrams (displaying stereographic projections of directional data):

Rose diagrams (circular histograms):

Structural lineament diagrams:

To view examples, click here.

Geospider Plots Diagram (Multi-Element Spidergram)

Sequence Alignment Diagrams

Combination Column Graphs (CCG Diagrams)

General-Purpose 2-D, Ternary, Matrix, Contour, and Polar Graphs

Matrix Scatter Diagram and Related Plots

Voronoi Diagram (Thiessen or Dirichlet Polygons)

Waterfall Charts

Waterfall charts are ideal for comparing variations between multiple data sets that are obtained under similar conditions.

2-D and Ternary Contour Charts

Bubble Charts

Ternary Charts

Spider Charts

Polar Charts

X-Y Binary Scatter and Related Charts

A binary scatter chart displays the data as a set of points on an X, Y set of coordinates. You can generate subsets of data from selected data points, and the selections can be regular or irregular.

Binary scatter graph types:

X-Y and Double X-Y Scatter Series Charts

Scatter series charts display scatter data points from one or more data series, plotted against a value axis, a category axis, or date & time. In a horizontal style plot, data from each worksheet row have the same X coordinate and unique Y coordinates. In a vertical style plot, data from each worksheet row have the same Y coordinate and unique X coordinates.

Line Charts (Line Series)

2-D Column and Bar Charts

2-D Area Charts

Combination Charts (Column-Line, Bar-Line, Area-Line)

Diagrams of Multiple, Independent Value-Axes Column, Bar or Area Graphs

Pie Charts and X-Y Scatter Pie

High-Low, High-Low-Close, Open-High-Low-Close, and Range Charts

Vector Charts

General Purpose 3-D Charts

3-D Contours and 3-D Mesh Plots

3-D Scatter and 3-D Spinning Scatter

3-D Scatter

3-D Spinning Scatter

3-D Column, Pyramid, Band, and Area Charts

Applying Error Bars

Adding error bars to charts allows a graphical display of the statistical probability of errors, the experimental and analytical errors, etc. Error bars can be symmetrical or asymmetrical, and can be based on standard error, standard deviation, fixed values, or values of a variable (e.g., calculated errors, etc.).

The Error Bars Defined for Individual Variables

Ternary Error Regions:

Curve Fitting

Curve Fitting

The curve fitting features were outlined earlier, in the context of regression analysis.

Graphic Export Formats

Format for exporting graphics

Formats for copying graphics/ drag & drop

Features of Aabel Worksheets

The worksheet features and capabilities are outlined below. For an overview of worksheet capabilities, click here.

Supported Data Import Formats

  • Excel format: 95, 97-2004 workbook (.xls)
  • Delimited text data (tab, comma, semicolon, space, etc.)
  • Fortran formatted data
  • Delimited numeric matrix data
  • Binary numeric matrix formats (8 bit, 16 bit, 32 bit, and 64 bit data)
  • dBase (II, III, IV) formats
  • Arc/Info Ungenerate
  • Mapgen
  • Matlab
  • Splus
  • ArcView shape files
  • To view the UI for delimited and shape file importers, click here.

Supported Variable Types

  • Numbers (any legal numerical representation with no explicit sample space)
  • Cartographic coordinates:
    • Longitude, Latitude
    • Easting, Northing
  • Directional/orientational data:
    • Trend
    • Dip/Plunge
    • Azimuth
  • Date and Time (30 built-in date & time formats, and tools for custom-defining a format)
  • Text (with Unicode support)

Numbers of Rows & Columns

  • Aabel does not impose limits on the number of rows and columns in worksheets. The limitation is mainly related to the speed penalty imposed by currently available hardware technology and the CPU resources and physical memory available to the application. Other factors that can impose speed penalty are (i) large amounts of complex unicode textual data, and (ii) use of complex symbols, or unicode symbols for graphing large data sets.

Quality Control of Numeric Data

Aabel's quality control tools allow:

  • Displaying report summary statistics for each variable with a single click
  • Checking the number of missing values of a variable (discontinuous data, etc.)
  • Detecting out-of-range values (impossible values, punching errors, etc.) and highlighting them in the corresponding worksheet rows
  • Dealing with out-of-range values using different options

Pre-defined Units of Weights and Measures

  • Data stored in different worksheets or databases do not always have the same units of measurement. This may result in inconsistencies during data analysis and processing from multiple data sources. Aabel provides the optional feature of tagging the variables with their appropriate units.
  • A wide range of pre-defined units of weights and measures are included. Once you set or change your preferred units in the global preferences, during data analysis, charting, or data processing, Aabel checks the tagged variables for unit inconsistencies and transforms the data to your preferred unit without modifying the source data.

The Worksheet Map Projection Utilities

Aabel worksheet projection utilities allow:

  • Transforming data that has been imported with no explicit sample space to cartographic coordinates and store the data as longitude-latitude, or to define data using a different projection system
  • Transforming data from one projection system into another system
  • For more information regarding this feature, click here.

The Worksheet Notebook

    The worksheet notebook has four functions:

  • It displays a list of all variables present in the worksheet
  • If a worksheet has been generated from the results of data filtering, the user-defined filter criteria will be stored in the worksheet notebook
  • If the worksheet has been generated from cross-tabulating and pivoting, the information regarding the original worksheet file, primary and secondary split variables, etc., will be stored in the worksheet notebook
  • It provides a text area for storing notes, e.g., data source references, etc.
  • To view the UI, click here.

The Worksheet Data Management Tools

  • Cross-interpolation
  • Sorting with a single as well as with multiple keys
  • Transposing
  • Merging multiple textual data columns into one column
  • Merging numeric or textual data without concatenating
  • Reordering rows and columns
  • New: Providing a palette for rapid scanning through data columns in a worksheet with large number of variables or for bringing a specific data column into the field of view
  • Recoding text, or numeric values to categories
  • Pivoting and summarizing multidimensional data (cross tabulation)
  • Splitting and pivoting saw data
  • Splitting and recoding a categorical variable to binary dummy variables
  • Stacking columns
  • Grouping data objects based on values of a categorical variable: mapping categorical data to markers
  • New: Grouping data objects based on values of a numeric variable: mapping numeric values to marker color properties
  • Mapping object markers to categorical data
  • Mapping marker codes to marker
  • Multidimensional data filtering tools for generating subsets of data

The Worksheet Formula Editor

  • The formula editor provides 46 pre-defined mathematical and statistical functions, and includes standard as well as Boolean/conditional operators.
  • In Aabel, variables are identified by names, and not by the position of worksheet columns. However, to facilitate sequential calculations, the formula editor provides functions that operate on variables by indices instead of names.
  • New: The current version allows addressing worksheet row indices, i.e., Aabel worksheet operations are column based; the new feature enables addressing the worksheet cells explicitly.
  • In addition to functions provided for column-wise calculations, the formula editor provides a number of functions for row-wise calculations.
  • Assign and calculate commands are provided for applying the same formula to multiple columns.

The Worksheet Symbol and Color Palettes

  • Symbol and color palettes are used for defining markers that represent individual data objects, data groups, or the source worksheet(s) on the plotted graphs. For significance of worksheet markers in data representation, view an example.
  • Color palettes are provided for modifying color attributes of symbols associated with different marker types
  • A color palette is provided for coloring the values of selected cells.

Data Manipulator

While the worksheet formula editor is provided for data processing within a given the worksheet, the data manipulator has the following abilities:

  • It can simultaneously process data from multiple worksheets and database metaphors
  • It allows building custom formulas
  • It permits multi-dimensional data filtering to enable data processing based on user-defined criteria
  • To view the manipulator UI, click here.

Aabel Database Metaphor

An Aabel database metaphor is a data management container for holding any combination of Aabel worksheets and folders containing worksheets. A saved database metaphor document does not store a static block of data, but stores references to the source worksheets.

  • It acts as a dynamic data source for data analysis, data processing, and data visualization and charting
  • The current features are designed for:
    • Being used as a more powerful alternative to templates
    • Easy exclusion/inclusions of groups of objects in exploratory plots
    • Performing multi-dimensional data filtering of datasets sourced from multiple worksheets

    For functions, practical use, and limitations of database metaphor, click here.

Aabel Viewer Text and Table Editors

Aabel table and text editors support Unicode.

The Table Editor

  • The table editor is provided for editing the auto-generated tables that are part of the statistical methods output, and for creating tables

The Text Frame (Text Box) Editor

  • The text frame editor allows adding multiple-line notes or comments to graphs

The Text Line Editor

  • The text line editor allows adding titles or rotated text line to graphs
  • For more information regarding Aabel table and text editors, click here.

Unicode Support

Aabel supports Unicode for storing data in worksheets, for graphing data, and for creating tables, text lines and text frames. Ranking of categorical data is based on the US English writing system to ensure consistency in statistical outputs independent of the machine language settings.

Viewer User-Defined Color Themes

Graphic Sublayers Manager

Each chart pane or other graphic object you create is placed in a transparent sublayer of the current viewer page and its specifications are displayed in the graphic sublayers palette. The sublayers palette allows:

  • Creating multiple live charts (hot-linked to data), from the same pipeline or different pipelines, on a single viewer page
  • Overlaying X-Y charts, or creating a thematic group
  • Selecting objects (useful for selecting objects positioned behind other objects on the viewer page)
  • Changing the stacking order of sublayers and hence the objects they contain
  • Hiding sublayer, locking the objects they contain, deleting objects, etc.
  • Modifying the chart pane size by defining exact dimensions
  • Modifying the transparency of fills, lines, and markers of 2-D graphs
  • Applying X-zoom to exclude data from a given chart without affecting other charts using the same data source(s)
  • Hiding/showing chart legends and 2-D chart axes

Color Management and Interactive Color Palette Editor

The color palettes and color gradient palettes in Aabel are initially represented using default colors. However, you can freely change the items of a palette or create new color gradients from simple, complex, or pure colors, with a few clicks of the mouse: the color editor in Aabel is interactive and easy to use.

  • Color palettes are present in worksheets, the graphic viewer, database metaphors, and all chart customizing dialogs. They allow choosing or modifying colors of markers, lines, fills, contours, color-coded tables, text, etc.
  • When using a color scale to represent data, the data range will map to the color space of the gradient palette. You can customize the color gradient palette or create and save new palettes for different plotting purposes.
  • For more information, click here.

Customizing Tools for Data Representation

Aabel Symbols and Unicode Glyphs

Colored symbols (markers) are used to represent data in many chart types. Markers representing data can be pre-defined or inherited from the source worksheet(s). The uniqueness of markers is defined by their symbols, color, and size. Aabel provides two types of symbol palettes:

  • Aabel symbols: A palette with 175 marker symbols, each of which can be scaled from 50 to 200% of the initial size (100%) in 20 steps.
  • Unicode glyphs/symbols: A palette that holds 176 Unicode characters/symbols/glyphs is available for data representation. Each item in this palette can be replaced by a Unicode character/glyph from the System character palette, and can be scaled from 50 to 200% of the initial size (100%) in 20 steps.
  • To view examples, click here.

Customizing Chart Axis Attributes

Numerous chart-axis customizing tools are provided for different chart categories. Features include (but are not limited to):

  • Choice of linear or logarithmic scale, forward or reverse (when applicable)
  • Editing abilities to choose title proxy names
  • Applying subscript, superscript, or Greek glyphs to axis titles
  • Control of the axis line thickness, color, length and type of major and minor grids
  • Control of the axis range and steps (when applicable)
  • Numeric label display format settings (fixed or scientific format, decimal places, use of leading zero, use of a prefix or suffix, etc.)
  • Control of axis text properties and the position of labels (e.g., font properties, color, etc.)
  • Controls for customizing axis attributes of plot types that do not share the common axis properties of 2-D and 3-D charts (e.g., spider, rose, stereographic, polar, mosaic, dendrograms)
  • For more information and examples, click here.

Displaying Object and Value Labels on Charts

  • You can optionally display object or value labels on many Aabel charts.
  • Value labels can display a 3rd dimension on an X-Y chart, a 4th dimension on a ternary, bubble, contour point, or 3-D scatter chart, and a 5th dimension on a bubble, ternary contour, or 4-D scatter chart.
  • The labels can be customized with frames and backdrop colors, or different font properties.
  • To view examples, click here.

Customizing Chart Legends and Legend Entries

Legends provide explanation for data represented by graphical information.

Legend entries representing data groups or data series

  • The legend keys (markers, lines, color or pattern fill)
  • The legend text items (names of the data groups or series associated with the legend keys)
  • Legend entries editor allows modifying:

      • Symbol, color, and size of markers representing data objects or data series
      • Thickness, type, and color of lines representing data series
      • Regression lines, confidence belt, and major axis ellipse fill and line attributes
      • Fill attributes representing data series.

Legend entries representing data ranges

  • Color scale legends are used in 2-D and 3-D contours, 3-D mesh, bubble charts, waterfall pseudo-surface, and thematic maps.
  • The editor for this legend type allows adding frame to the legend, changing font attributes of the legend title, defining the legend labels font, and display format attributes, binning the color range, etc.

Legend font and background properties

  • The legend font size and style can be changed using the Text menu or shortcuts.
  • Chart legends have a transparent background by default. You can optionally add a colored background to any legend type.
  • For more information regarding options for customizing legends and legend entries, click here.

High Quality Quartz Patterns for Black & White Publications

Many 2-D graph types use fill attributes to identify different data series or data groups (e.g., color or pattern properties of columns, bars, areas, etc.). Due to high cost of color publications, many users prefer to use B & W patterns (when possible) for publication purposes.

  • Aabel provides numerous Quartz patterns, which are vector/stencil drawings, designed for use with high quality Quartz graphic system and PDF.
  • Despite that the design of these patterns has been for assisting the users in generating high quality 2-D graphics for B & W publications, they can be used in combination with any color.

    To view an example of use of patterns in B & W, and to see the diversity of patterns provided, click here.

Managing Transparency

  • The transparency tab in the Graphics Sublayers Manager provides separate controls for modifying transparency of fills, lines, and markers of 2-D graphs.

Drawing Lines and Geometric Shapes

Drawing tools include:

  • Line tools for drawing a straight line, or polygons/polylines
  • Shape tools for drawing a rectangle, rounded rectangle, circle or ellipse.
  • For these lines and geometrical shapes, you can change the color of line or fill, apply patterns to fill, and change transparency of the fill.

Viewer Pages

In a graphic viewer you can create many pages, each of which can hold a single or multiple chart(s), graphical displays of statistical analysis, tables, etc.

  • If the output results from statistical analysis include more graphics and tables that can be displayed on a single viewer page, Aabel will automatically create new pages and display the results on multiple pages.
  • You can export viewer pages as PDF in a single document.
  • You can give a live presentation by moving from page to page via clicking the corresponding radio button.

User-Defined Templates

Templates can be created for each chart category and can include properties that do not have any data-dependency.

  • Examples of attributes that can be saved as templates are chart axis lines (thickness and color), axis label and title fonts (font type, size, color), markers, lines, fill attributes used for representing data series (if you are not using variable hot-linked properties).
  • A saved template can be loaded into any viewer. The properties defined for any chart in the template will override the corresponding document attributes for the given chart(s).

Tutorial Style User Guide Documentation

The Aabel user guide is PDF-based and is designed to provide:

  • An on-screen manual with high-resolution graphics, flexible navigation controls, and complete hot linked cross-referencing throughout the user guide that includes over 600 illustrations
  • High quality print output
  • Step-by-step guide to using the diverse features and capabilities of the application