Application for plotting pollen diagrams from tables taken from Excel, Word, Notepad etc.

Adam Walanus1, Dorota Nalepka2

1 Insitute of Archaeology, University of Rzeszów, Hoffmanowej 8, 35-016 Rzeszów, Poland;

2 W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, Lubicz 46, 31-512 Kraków, Poland;

Pollen data are stored in tables, with taxa in columns and samples (spectra) in rows. Such tables, typically are stored in spreadsheets (MS Excel), however it may have simple form of text, with values separated by tabulator (txt files) or by semicolon (; csv files). For storing and printing of smaller tables (to 30-50 taxa) also text editors (like MS Word) may be used. In case of any of mentioned forms, and probably of some other, it is enough to copy the table to the Clipboard (Ctrl-C) and then, to click the menu option "Load table from Clipboard" in the described here application, to have data ready for diagram plotting.

Shown below application Diagram is a part of system PolPal (Walanus 1989, 1994, 1995a,b; Walanus & Nalepka 1997, 1999; Nalepka & Walanus 2003), used for counting pollen, diagrams plotting, numerical analysis (ConSlink, PCA, Rarefaction, Sample Similarities Matrix), dating spectra (on basis of a 14C dates), and isopollen maps plotting (Ralska-Jasiewiczowa et al. 2003). Presented application, however, is independent of the system, since data may be flexible taken on from almost any typical application.

The final result, the diagram, is in the standard MS Windows format of bitmap (*.bmp file). It is very easy to add some additional descriptions, lines etc. to bitmap. Printing bitmap is easy as well, simply because it is standard format. Even the diagram of 300 taxa and 300 samples may be printed with very good quality (see for example Ralska-Jasiewiczowa et al. 1998).

A few examples of diagrams are shown below (some figures are sized down).

Diagram in color:

B&W diagram:

Cyclogram (pie):

Special form of presentation of Pinus and Betula:

Different forms of pollen "curve":


Nalepka D. & Walanus A. 2003. Data processing in pollen analysis. Acta Palaeobotanica 43(1): 125-134.

Ralska-Jasiewiczowa M., Goslar T., Madeyska T. & Starkel L. 1998. Lake Go ciąż, Central Poland. A monographic study. Part 1. W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków.

Ralska-Jasiewiczowa M., Nalepka D., Goslar T. 2003. Some problems connected with the vegetation development during the oligocratic/Homo sapiens phase of Holocene interglacial in central Europe. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 12(4).

Walanus A. & Nalepka D. 1997. Palynological diagram drawing in Polish POLPAL for Windows. INQUA Working Group on Data-Handling Methods. Newsletter 16: 8-10.

Walanus A. & Nalepka D. 1999. POLPAL. Program for counting pollen grains, diagrams plotting and numerical analysis. Acta Palaeobotanica Suppl. 2: 659-661.

Walanus A. 1989. Saving computer memory in storing tables of pollen count. Pollen et Spores 31 (1-2): 161-164.

Walanus A. 1994. Optimizing taxon codes in pollen counting INQUA Working Group on Data-Handling Methods. Newsletter 11: 6.

Walanus A. 1995a. Pollen Data in Space and Time - Local Approach. INQUA Working Group on Data-Handling Methods. Newsletter 13: 13-14.

Walanus A. 1995b. Pollen data in space and time - local approach, INQUA-Comission for the Study of the Holocene. Working Group on Data-Handling Methods. Newsletter 13.

Technical details.

That (very small) pollen table may be copied (select it, and Ctrl-C) from here, and next used by Diagram.

depth;Abies alba;Acer;Alnus undiff.;Betula undiff.





With taxon name an additional information can be transferred to the program. Namely Alnus#tg3 means, that taxon Alnus is a tree, the curve is to be of colour "g" (defined in the program), and that taxon is to be the third in the diagram. That three parameters are optional (one only letter is treated as life form - used in pollen sum definition).

There is no limit to taxon name length (Myriophyllum spicatum/verticillatum); taxa names can be edited in the program (as well as taxa color and position), during process of diagram adjusting.

Maximal number of taxa =350, the same is maximal number of samples. Since MS Excel has only up to 256 columns, text file (txt or csv) is to be used in case of more taxa.

In the first column the sample depth is given (or age), which define sample position in the diagram.

How to select large table? Click on the upper-left cell, move to the lower-right cell, and click it with Shift key pressed. In MS Excel large table view may be splitted: