I would like to create a set of points and have Excel draw those line segments. I would also like to create points for arcs and circles and have those drawn. Is there a drawing-canvas plugin like the Chart plugin that can do this? I can get an XY Scatter chart to draw a connected set of points, but not discrete segments.

E.g. if I wanted a circle at (10,20) of radius 30 I could put in [10][20][30] in adjacent cells and tell the canvas this was my data set. To draw more than one item maybe have:

[circle][10][20][30]

[line][40][50][200][210]

etc.

Worse case I could add custom functions (when I learned how) and write Visual Basic for Excel, but someone surely must have built something like this already.

Does anyone know of an Excel plugin for this? Or a separate simple program that lets you draw simple lines, arcs, and ellipses?

If you are trying to draw decent circles etc within a chart, I think you will find Excel is the hard way to do it, at least if you want a reasonable quality. Alternatively, Excel, Word and Powerpoint have the ‘insert shape’ option, which can permit simple images to be constructed.

A much better alternative, in my opinion, would be to switch to a program like Inkscape. It is free and multi-platform, and allows drawing of geometric and freeform shapes at much higher quality than Excel.

Sorry, decent pictures is not my main point. I just want to quickly visualize some information. I want to calculate some curves and lines and see what they look like. Something like a quick sketch.

E.g. say I fire something in a parabolic arc across a field and have some blocks on the field. I just want to sketch up the arc, draw some rectangles for the blocks at the right distance and see if the arc intersects. A quick visualization. By putting all the formulas and data points easily in Excel I wanted a quick drawing of the data. Then I could adjust the start and angle of the parabola in the cells, moves some block points, it redraws, and I revisualize.

Have you looked into MatLab? It sounds like it could do exactly what you want, with the added convenience of simply taking the input parameters you want rather than you having to go in and edit cells every time.

Ah, sorry, wrong end of stick.

I guess I would start by setting up a column with time from 0 to (whenever), and have some cells where I could enter launch angle, launch velocity, g, and assume a vacuum so air resistance can be ignored. These cells can then be referred to by absolute coordinates ($a$3 for example). Then add formulae at the top row for horizontal and vertical velocity (if you are interested) and horizontal and vertical displacement (which will be the x,y coordinates for the curve). Copy the formula downwards so they match up with the different time points, and then you can play around with different launch angles and so on, and the (x,y) values will change appropriately.

I assume you know how to make a chart.

The lines for the blocks can be input as extra series, in additional rows. You will need to duplicate some of the x values of course (so for example for a 3m high and wide block at 20m enter one column with 20,20,23,23 and another with 0,3,3,0). Then copy and paste this series into your chart (do the y values first, then associate them with the right x values). Doable. You will need to play around a little with the axes and so forth.

Hope that wasn’t your homework

Delays doing the “work” thing. No, I’m a few decades out of school. Just looking to visualize some ideas. MatLab would be nice, but a simple free option is all I’m looking for. I did find a promising solution - PlotXY (zip). The description is “Create drawings in Excel from a list of coordinates, node connections, and line and shape formats.” It is made by a bridge engineer in Sydney. I’ll check it out during Christmas vacation.