• Leland Wilkinson
Part of the Statistics and Computing book series (SCO)


The word scale derives from the Latin scala, or ladder. The Latin meaning is particularly apt for graphics. The visual representation of a scale — an axis with ticks — looks like a ladder. Scales are the types of functions we use to map varsets to dimensions. At first glance, it would seem that constructing a scale is simply a matter of selecting a range for our numbers and intervals to mark ticks. There is more involved, however. Scales measure the contents of a frame. They determine how we perceive the size, shape, and location of graphics. Choosing a scale (even a default decimal interval scale) requires us to think about what we are measuring and the meaning of our measurements. Ultimately, that choice determines how we interpret a graphic.


Power Transformation Ratio Scale Number Base Categorical Scale Interval Scale 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leland Wilkinson
    • 1
  1. 1.SPSS Inc.ChicagoUSA

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