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Bugs and Errors / Command keys occasionally not recognized in Grand Tour window
« Last post by Ron D. on May 18, 2016, 01:28:22 AM »
Hi All,

I have noticed that occasionally when the Grand Tour animation is launched, the keyboard commands are not recognized in that window so there is no way to control the parameters of the animation. It seems to occur only intermittently, and on only one of my machines. Exiting the animation and performing a mouse-related operation on the parallel coordinate plot restores the keyboard functionality, after which the Grand Tour can be re-initiated for another attempt. Even then, it should work most of the time. It appears that clicking the mouse on the Grand Tour window prior to using the keyboard may help mitigate this situation. I hope I'm the only one who has experienced this.

Announcements / Sliver v1.2.1 Released
« Last post by Ron D. on May 18, 2016, 01:17:24 AM »
Hi All,

Sliver v1.2.1 has just been released and is available at

This version upgrades the DataTools menu for manipulating CSV and tab-delimited TXT data files, adding new functions, improving progress indications, and fixing the "Add Column of Calculated Values" that was not populating the values.

For convenience the functions in the DataTools menu of Sliver are also now available in a standalone DataTools application that can be downloaded from the same download page and used for all your data manipulation needs.

Bugs and Errors / Re: Problem with using "New Transparent PC Plot" feature
« Last post by Ron D. on March 23, 2016, 09:54:24 PM »
I'm sorry it took me several days to reply--I did not have the Notify option set for this board of the forum so I did not receive an email notification of your post.

The Transparent PC Plot requires that Java be installed on the machine, and perhaps this is the reason it did not work correctly on your other machine. It also requires at least version 7 (once called 1.7), so the machine may just have an older version installed on it. The Grand Tour function also requires Java to be installed.

You can download Java 8 from Can you install this and let us know if it fixes the problem?

-- Ron
Bugs and Errors / Problem with using "New Transparent PC Plot" feature
« Last post by saminehbagheri on March 16, 2016, 02:50:33 AM »
Hello Evereybody,

I have recently downloaded Silver. I could successfully install it on my machine and use most of the features that I need. When I tried to install it on another machine with very the same configuration I noticed some issues especially using "New Transparent PC Plot" feature. So after clicking on this option, a very small window opens up, but after enlarging it everything is black and nothing appears, no matter how long I wait. Does anyone has the same experience? Does anyone know where this issue can come from?

Tips and Tutorials / More modifications to an exported plot
« Last post by Ron D. on May 27, 2015, 12:47:16 AM »
The forum topic titled Accentuating individual lines in an exported plot describes how to directly edit the PostScript file that is created in the process of generating an exported PDF file in order to change the color, opacity and linewidth of individual lines. However, there are other characteristics of the PDF output that you might wish to edit as well. Some of these other characteristics can be changed in Sliver before you export the plot to PDF, but sometimes you don't want to reload a session file just to change one or two attributes of the exported plot.

For example, have a look at the following PDF file (which is rendered better by downloading it and opening it in Acrobat rather than in your browser). It is a PC plot of the split paces (minutes per mile for each 5K split and the finish split) for the top 5000 finishers of the 2015 Boston Marathon.

In this PDF I altered some of the characteristics of the original PDF file exported from Sliver. The first three changes below were made to the original exported PostScript file, after which a new PDF file was generated from this edited PostScript file using Adobe Acrobat Distiller. Generally you can just double-click on the PostScript file to launch Distiller as the .ps suffix is associated with that program. The fourth change was made directly to the PDF file.

  • The colors, opacity and widths of polylines for several runners were modified and brought to the front.
  • The axis titles were reduced in length so they would not overlap.
  • The original range labels on the axes were in decimal form ("5.0" and "8.0") because the data was in decimal minutes/mile units. The axes were forced to have these ranges by loading the CSV file, saving the session to a session file, editing the last lines of the session file to have these range values, and then reloading the session file, as described in the forum topic Setting custom ranges on axes. However, the altered PDF now displays these values in minutes and seconds ("5:00" and "8:00") because runners think in minutes and seconds.
  • Labels were added at the ends of the modified polylines to identify the names of the associated runners.

The edits made for each of these are described below. You can view the edited PostScript file by opening the following link in a text editor (not the default Adobe Acrobat Distiller):

1.  Modified Line Parameters

This follows the steps in the Accentuating individual lines in an exported plot forum post. The lines of interest were uniquely colored in Sliver prior to the export (here they were colored white) and this brush was set as the last to draw in order using the Hide and Show options in the Brushes-->Show/Hide/Recolor Brushes menu option. Then the drawing commands for these lines were located in the PostScript file by searching for that color assignment (here "1.0000 1.0000 0.0000 setrgbcolor" where the numbers represent R, G and B values from 0.0 to 1.0). These line commands were then moved to a later section of the PostScript file after the opacity is set to 100% by the two lines

[ /CA 1.0 /BM /Normal /SetTransparency pdfmark
[ /ca 1.0 /BM /Normal /SetTransparency pdfmark

The two lines above already exist later in the file, so the line drawing commands were just moved after these lines. However, if an opacity other than 1.0 is desired, you can create two new command lines that are the same as those above where the "1.0" are replaced with a different opacity between 0.0 and 1.0. Then you can place the line drawing commands after those new lines.

A new linewidth was set by adding the line "0.055 setlinewidth" before the line commands. Finally, because the polylines overlapped in the plot, different colors were assigned to individual lines by inserting text such as "0.0000 0.0000 1.0000 setrgbcolor" for blue in front of each line drawing command.

The final set of commands for these lines is shown below. As mentioned, the SetTransparency lines already existed in the file.

[ /CA 1.0 /BM /Normal /SetTransparency pdfmark
[ /ca 1.0 /BM /Normal /SetTransparency pdfmark

0.065 setlinewidth
1.0000 0.0000 0.0000 setrgbcolor
1.9477 1.8601 m 4.8708 2.0464 l 7.7940 2.0732 l 10.7171 2.3927 l 13.6403 2.5796 l 16.5634 3.1927 l 19.4866 4.4186 l 22.4097 5.5117 l 25.3329 5.9783 l s
1.0000 0.0000 0.0000 setrgbcolor
1.9477 5.8317 m 4.8708 6.4181 l 7.7940 6.0449 l 10.7171 6.3644 l 13.6403 6.3913 l 16.5634 6.9244 l 19.4866 7.2976 l 22.4097 5.7249 l 25.3329 5.4929 l s
0.0000 0.5000 0.0000 setrgbcolor
1.9477 6.6044 m 4.8708 6.7913 l 7.7940 6.7913 l 10.7171 6.8713 l 13.6403 6.6844 l 16.5634 7.2176 l 19.4866 7.1376 l 22.4097 6.4713 l 25.3329 6.3431 l s
1.0000 1.0000 1.0000 setrgbcolor
1.9477 6.7644 m 4.8708 6.8176 l 7.7940 6.7376 l 10.7171 6.8713 l 13.6403 6.7644 l 16.5634 7.5639 l 19.4866 7.2176 l 22.4097 6.7376 l 25.3329 6.0395 l s
1.0000 1.0000 1.0000 setrgbcolor
1.9477 6.7913 m 4.8708 6.7913 l 7.7940 6.7376 l 10.7171 6.8444 l 13.6403 6.7913 l 16.5634 7.5639 l 19.4866 7.4576 l 22.4097 6.8713 l 25.3329 7.4964 l s
1.0000 0.0000 0.0000 setrgbcolor
1.9477 6.2049 m 4.8708 6.7376 l 7.7940 7.1376 l 10.7171 7.0313 l 13.6403 7.1908 l 16.5634 7.4576 l 19.4866 7.4576 l 22.4097 7.1113 l 25.3329 6.8285 l s
0.0000 0.0000 1.0000 setrgbcolor
1.9477 7.2708 m 4.8708 7.5376 l 7.7940 7.5639 l 10.7171 7.3508 l 13.6403 7.2444 l 16.5634 7.8039 l 19.4866 7.8839 l 22.4097 7.1113 l 25.3329 6.5249 l s
1.0000 1.0000 1.0000 setrgbcolor
1.9477 8.0708 m 4.8708 7.5639 l 7.7940 7.4308 l 10.7171 7.6439 l 13.6403 7.3508 l 16.5634 8.2039 l 19.4866 7.8576 l 22.4097 6.9776 l 25.3329 6.3431 l s
0.0000 0.5000 0.0000 setrgbcolor
1.9477 7.3776 m 4.8708 7.4308 l 7.7940 7.5639 l 10.7171 7.3508 l 13.6403 7.2444 l 16.5634 7.8039 l 19.4866 7.8839 l 22.4097 7.2976 l 25.3329 8.9537 l s
0.0000 0.0000 1.0000 setrgbcolor
1.9477 6.7644 m 4.8708 6.7913 l 7.7940 6.7644 l 10.7171 6.9244 l 13.6403 6.7644 l 16.5634 8.2571 l 19.4866 8.8434 l 22.4097 9.6166 l 25.3329 12.2934 l s

2.  New Axis Titles

This was simple. The title of each axis is given in parentheses in lines near the bottom of the file. New text can be inserted in place of the original axis titles. This text is centered, so the new title will remain centered under the axis. This is an example of one of the lines with the new axis title of "5k Pace":

(5k Pace) dup stringwidth pop 2 div neg 0 rmoveto show

Notice that you can change the font, color and size of this text by editing the command lines right above this section.

3.  New Range Labels

This was also simple. The range labels for each axis are given in parentheses in the command lines just below the title line for each axis. New labels can be entered in place of the original labels inside the parentheses. The labels are always right-justified, so they will not overlap the axes. Here the original command lines with values of 5.0 and 8.0 are now replaced with, for example,

(05:00) -2.2230000000000003 1.8167 showRightX
(08:00) 13.2422 1.8167 showRightX

Again, the font, color and size of the text are defined in the command lines located right above this section.

4.  Adding New Text Labels

The runner name labels at the right ends of the polylines were added directly to the PDF file after it was regenerated from the modified PostScript file. There is an option in Adobe Acrobat to Add or Edit Text Box, and there are options to change the font, the font size, the font color and the background color of a text box. So a text box with a black background was created for each runner and placed at the end of that polyline in the plot, where the text color matches the color of their polyline. You can click on those text boxes in the PDF file to see them.

More Tricks:

There are other edits you can make to the PostScript file to customize it. For example, the background color of the plots are given by command lines near the start of the file that draw a filled rectangular background, such as

0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 setrgbcolor
-0.37 -4.07 m 27.57 -4.07 l 27.57  18.07 l -0.37 18.07 l closepath fill stroke

You can edit the first line to change the RGB color of the background. You can also add an overall plot title either by editing the PostScript file or by adding a text box to the PDF in Adobe Acrobat.

You can modify scatterplots in a PostScript file as well. The color, radius and thickness of any particular hollow point can be modified in the PostScript plot in a similar way as we did above for polylines. You can also change the axes labels, colors and thicknesses, as well as add text labels and a title.

-- Ron
When you select the menu option Plots-->Display Values on Mouse-Over, then placing the mouse over any line or scatterplot point highlights it and shows the data values associated with it. This is very useful, for example, to identify the data corresponding to anomalies in the plots. It can also be nice for taking a screen capture for a presentation that shows data of interest along a line or in a scatterplot. And it is convenient for locating lines or points corresponding to particular data so you can select them for color brushing.

For example, I often want to color brush a line in the PC plot that has a particular value for a variable, such as a runner's bib number. So I turn on the menu option above, zoom into the bib number axis, and move the mouse across the lines to display the values at that axis, panning up and down with the scrollbars as needed until I can locate the correct line and swipe to select it for brushing.

However, every time a line or point is highlighted it is brought forward in front of all other lines and points. This tends to scramble the drawing order of the lines, and you may have color brushed the lines in a particular order to overlay them in a certain way. The range brush operation, for example, orders the drawing of the brushes from blue to red. But now some lines and points are drawn out of order.

To restore the brush order, first turn off the display of values on mouse-over by either pressing ESC twice or by selecting the Plots-->Display Values on Mouse-Over menu option again. Then choose the Brushes-->Show/Hide/Recolor Brushes menu option. In the pop-up window set all brushes to be hidden. Then one at a time select each color and press Apply in the order that you want them drawn. When finished, press OK to exit the window, and you have restored your desired brush order.

Tips and Tutorials / Setting custom ranges on axes
« Last post by Ron D. on May 06, 2015, 12:11:28 AM »
When a data file is read in, the range of each axis is automatically set at the minimum and maximum for that variable. Starting with Sliver version 1.2 it is possible to shift the range of any axis up or down at either the top or bottom. This also has the effect of shifting lines up or down along or even off that axis. You can shift a range by selecting an axis and either using the shifting options under the Axis menu or pressing the arrow keys:

  • Up Arrow: Decrease the top range, shifting the lines up at the top
  • Down Arrow: Increase the top range, shifting the lines down at the top
  • Left Arrow: Increase the bottom range, shifting the lines down at the bottom
  • Right Arrow: Decrease the bottom range, shifting the lines up at the bottom

If pressing the arrow keys shifts through the menus instead, press the ALT key and try again.

These operations change the range at the top or bottom by a 0.9 or 1/0.9 factor. Lines can be shifted right off either end of an axis if desired to zoom into an area of interest along an axis.

However, it may take time to shift lines along multiple axes, and in any event only specific ranges can be set because of the constant factors. However, there is a way to set the axis ranges to your particular values (maybe you want the same range for all of them). First, save the current Sliver session to a CSV file by selecting the File-->Save Session menu option and entering a filename ending in a .csv suffix. Then open that file with any text editor. You will see that the minimum and maximum ranges for each axis, in order, are given in the last lines of the file, separated by commas. Edit those values to the ranges you want, save the file, and select the File-->Restore Session to load it in again. Now the axes will have the ranges you entered.

Note that the format of each line is minimum,maximum regardless of whether the axis has been inverted. The complete format of saved session files is provided in Appendix C of the Sliver User's Manual if you would like to change other attributes of the plot either manually or programmatically.

Tips and Tutorials / Programmatically preloading data and configurations
« Last post by Ron D. on April 20, 2015, 09:58:04 PM »
Hi All,

If you have many datasets to load, particularly when there are repetitive tasks involved in Sliver such as selecting variables, brushing ranges of lines in different colors and perhaps hiding some brushes, and particularly when you want to set specific ranges on the axes, it may be useful to programmatically perform all these functions.

This can be done (and has been done by at least one user) with a script that writes each of your datasets and its Sliver configuration into a session file that can then be "restored" in Sliver. Session files are normally created through the File-->Save Session menu option and then restored through the File-->Restore Session menu option. However, the session file is simply a text file, and you can create your own custom session files for your data. The session file format for Sliver v1.2 is described in Appendix C of the Sliver v1.2 User's Manual. It includes not only the data but also the any selections, brushing or visible/hidden attributes for the data.

Another advantage of the session file is that the last n lines of it provide the minimum and maximum ranges of each axis (assuming there are n axes), so this allows you to customize the ranges as well. In fact, even without scripting it can be handy to save a session file and then edit the last n lines to whatever axis ranges you want before restoring it.

Announcements / Sliver v1.2 Released
« Last post by Ron D. on April 20, 2015, 07:14:51 PM »
Hi All,

Sliver v1.2 has just been released and is available at

This version has several improvements, including reading time data in hh:mm:ss or mm:ss format, shifting lines off-axis to spread out lines of interest, and other improvements. See the Version Change Log at or the User's Manual for more information. You can unzip the new version of Sliver into a new folder or overwrite the files in an existing folder. If you use a new folder, you can preserve your previous settings by copying the settings.txt file from the older folder into the new folder while Sliver is not running.

This version also includes fixes for the two bugs I reported earlier on this forum.

Tips and Tutorials / UPDATED: Selecting lines within a specific range on an axis
« Last post by Ron D. on January 26, 2015, 06:34:04 PM »
UPDATE: Sliver v1.4 now includes a menu option to select lines lying within a user-entered range along an axis.

If you know that you want to select lines on the PC plot that fall within a specific range on an axis (a specific range of a variable), you can turn on the "Show axes values while swiping" option in the Options-->Plot Settings menu. Then as you swipe across an axis the values at the top and bottom of the rectangular selection box are displayed at those locations. In this way you can swipe until you reach a starting or ending value that you want.

If you have specific values for both a maximum and minimum, you can combine two selections, one where you swipe up to the maximum and one where you swipe down to the minimum.  For example, if you want to select all lines in the range 25 to 100 on an axis, you can swipe up from somewhere between these values until you see an axis value of 100. Then you can press "Ctrl" to OR a new selection and swipe down from anywhere within the first selection until you see an axis value of 25. Then you have selected lines that have values from 25 to 100 on that axis.

Selections occur anywhere within a selection box, not just along axes. In fact, the ability to swipe lines between axes is one of the convenient features of Sliver. In this case this means that additional lines outside the desired range that angle upward or downward may pass through the selection rectangle if it is too wide, and they would also be selected. For that reason you should swipe very close to the axis. In fact, before you swipe you might zoom into the plot and pan to the axis you want to swipe so you can make the selection rectangle lie very closely along the axis when you swipe.

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