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Just as a numerical spreadsheet enables exploration of numbers, a visualization spreadsheet enables exploration and operations on visual forms of information, which are contained in cells in a grid. In this article we suggest principles behind the general usefulness of a visualization spreadsheet tool. Using real data from molecular biology and algorithm simulations, we illustrate how these spreadsheet principles enable certain visualization tasks that are more difficult using other approaches: (1) easy derivation of comparison data sets, (2) direct parallel application of operators to multiple visualizations, (3) simultaneous display of multiple visual features, and (4) fast creation of analysis templates. These illustrated principles help us understand the power of structuring user interactions in information visualization using a spreadsheet paradigm.
Phillip Barry, Ed Huai-hsin Chi, Joseph Konstan, John Riedl, "Principles for Information Visualization Spreadsheets", IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 18, no. , pp. 30-38, July-August 1998, doi:10.1109/38.689659
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