Column properties

Enter a column description, change the data format, change the measurement type, and change the value order.

Change column properties (Mac)

You can use the Inspector to change column properties.

  1. In the data pane, select the column whose properties you want to change.
  2. Click the Inspector button in the upper right corner of the screen.
  3. In the Inspector, click the columns tab.
  4. To enter a column description, type it in the Description box.
  5. To change the data format of the column, select one of the following data formats from the Format list:
    • Automatic numeric: The number of decimal places that are displayed is determined by the values in the column.
    • Fixed decimal: You specify the number of decimal places that are displayed.
    • Exponential: The numbers are displayed in exponential format with the number of decimal places that you specify. For example, with two decimal places, the number 3200 in exponential format is 3.20E3. With one decimal place, 3200 in exponential format is 3.2E3.
    • Text: The data in the column are not numeric.
    To determine whether a column is formatted as text or numeric, check the alignment of the values in the cells. Numeric columns are right-aligned and text columns are left-aligned.
  6. To change the role of the variable, select one of the following types from the Measurement Type list:
    • Continuous: There are an infinite number of values between any two values.
    • Ordinal: Values are categories that have a natural order, such as 1, 2, 3.
    • Categorical: Values can be placed into a countable number of categories or distinct groups.
    The measurement type is for your information only and is not used in Minitab Express analyses.
  7. (For text columns only) To change the order in which values appear in tables and graphs, select one of the following orders from the Value Order list:
    • Alphabetical Order: Values appear in alphabetical order.
    • Worksheet Order: Values appear in the order they are in the column.
    • Custom Order: Use the arrow keys to order the values.

Change column properties (PC)

You can use the Edit tab on the ribbon to change column properties.

  1. In the data pane, select the column whose properties you want to change.
  2. Under DATA TOOLS, click the EDIT tab, then click Column Description.
  3. To change the data format of the column, select one of the following data formats from the Format list:
    • Automatic Numeric: The number of decimal places that are displayed is determined by the values in the column.
    • Fixed Decimal: You specify the number of decimal places that are displayed.
    • Exponential: The numbers are displayed in exponential format with the number of decimal places that you specify. For example, with two decimal places, the number 3200 in exponential format is 3.20E3. With one decimal place, 3200 in exponential format is 3.2E3.
    • Text: The data in the column are not numeric.
    To determine whether a column is formatted as text or numeric, check the alignment of the values in the cells. Numeric columns are right-aligned and text columns are left-aligned.
  4. To change the role of the variable, select one of the following types from the Measurement Type list:
    • Categorical: Values can be placed into a countable number of categories or distinct groups.
    • Ordinal: Values are categories that have a natural order, such as 1, 2, 3.
    • Continuous: There are an infinite number of values between any two values.
    The measurement type is for your information only and is not used in Minitab Express analyses.
  5. (For text columns only) To change the order in which values appear in tables and graphs, select one of the following orders from the value order list:
    • Alphabetical Order: Values appear in alphabetical order.
    • Worksheet Order: Values appear in the order they are in the column.
    • Custom Order: Use the arrow keys to order the values.

Value order

The value order property of a column determines the order in which Minitab displays text values in tables and graphs.

For example, in a bar chart of the counts of days of the week, by default, the bars are in alphabetical order. You can change the value order of the column so that the bars are displayed in the correct order. When the bars are in the correct order, you can easily see that the counts decrease over time.

Default value order (alphabetical)
Custom value order
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