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How to use ActivStats for Data Desk with Minitab

So you are taking a statistics course, and the textbook includes a DVD-ROM with ActiveStats for Data Desk, but the course requires you to purchase ActiveStats for Minitab.

The bad news is that ActiveStats for Minitab will cost you another 60 bucks or more.

The good news is that Minitab is an excellent statistics package and it is way better than Data Desk; and if you're willing to make a tiny effort, you don't need to buy ActiveStats for Minitab.

What we are going to do is let ActiveStats open data sets in Data Desk, and then copy-and-paste them into Minitab.

There are two circumstances you will need to do this.

  1. An instructional exercise asks you to plot or analyze something.
  2. A homework assignment asks you to plot or analyze something.

They both work the same way. Let's look at an example.

For every exercise in ActiveStats for Data Desk, there is an equivalent one in ActiveStats for Minitab. They are not always named the same thing, but they are otherwise identical.

In chapter 7-4, there is an exercise called Examine Mortality and Education Using Data Desk. We'll do it in Minitab.


If we click the icon, the exercise is opened in Data Desk.

One of the little windows contains the data set. Select the each of the data columns by holding down shift while clicking each one. Ignore the once called Reference.

Now copy these by pressing Ctrl-C or Edit|Copy Variables. You will be asked if you want the variable names in the first row. Click Yes.

Now fire up Minitab with an empty project. Position the cursor by clicking in the grey cell that is one over and one down. Press Ctrl-V or Edit|Paste Cells. Poof! There is your data set.

Now all you need to do is complete the exercise in Minitab. You may need to use your brain to find the equivalent function in Minitab for each in Data Desk, but they are both statistics software and the terminology is similar or identical.

For this exercise we need to calculate the Pearson Product-Moment correlation, and plot a Scatterplot. Hmmm... I bet Scatterplot is under the Graphs menu... yup. And correlation?

Found it!

Enjoy learning about statistics and sticking it to the man. If this article saved you $60, please consider donating $10 or more to the Guelph Humane Society. The pups and kitties will be grateful.

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