Path: > Overview of SPSS > Analyze > PLOT

 Statistical Package for the Social Sciences

Syntax for PLOT, bivariate correlation & linear regression

The SPSS procedure PLOT produces bivariate scatterplots which are useful for obtaining a graphic picture of the relationship between two variables. PLOT produces only one type of chart, the scatterplot, and allows for minimal formatting. Although PLOT is not a high-resolution presentation graphics procedure, it is capable of producing an attractive graph with a bit of editing.

The PLOT procedure can also generate statistics describing the relationship between the two variables (e.g., correlation and regression coefficients).


By default, PLOT simply plots cases for the Y variable against the X variable in two-dimensional space. If users also want bivariate statistics printed out to summarize the relationship between Y and X, then the PLOT commanad must be followed by this subcommand:

Somewhat confusingly, the PLOT command also demands to have a separate PLOT subcommand for each plot generated (or set of plots using similar variables). So after the FORMAT= subcommand above, the first set of variables plotted must be preceded by

PLOT = [varlist] WITH [varlist]

where [varlist] stands for the variable(s) to be plotted against the other variable(s). Additional plots using different variables must be preceded with another PLOT= subcommand.

PLOT also allows users to specify one separate "identification" variable (let's call it Z) whose code numbers are printed where each case is plotted. This helps identify which cases lie above and below the regression line.This feature is invoked with thise command, following the second [varlist]

BY [varname]

where [varname] is the name of the identifying variable.

To illustrate, the following command


will create four plots, Y1 with X1, Y1 with X2, Y2 with X1, and Y2 with X2.

Use semicolons to specify separate multiple plot lists. Consider:


The first list produces a plot of CDBG89 with POP86. The second produces a plot of POP86 with UCI80.