# Histogram beginner dilemma - Manual Calculation vs. JMP 7

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#### Bjourne

Steven and miner are giving good advice. There is nothing statistically or mathematically precise about the histogram - certainly not enough to spend so much energy trying to differentiate the different methods.

The histogram is a simple graphicall display of the shape of a distribution. As long as your bins are representative (not too many such that there are gaps nor too few so that there is no shape) you are good to go.

The important thing to focus on is what the data is telling you.

I always remind my students and engineers that statistics is an essay question, not a math question...

Thanks for the reply. I'll try to make 3 or just 2 and then decide what best represent the data and as mentioned without the gaps. Thanks again

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#### Bjourne

A common rule I've seen out there (including course materials I taught in Washington state) is to use 2 to the nth power = no. of data points, where n is the number of bins to use. Round up.

2 to the 7th power is 128, so I would use 7 bins.

By the way, I have an excel histogram generator at (broken link removed)

Thank you. I've downloaded your .xls file and will check it out

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#### Bjourne

Thanks guys for the clarification and tips. I think the mods can mark this as solved. I will post again when I am ready with another one. You guys rock here. Now I am more eager to learn as I feel that you guys really care more than my engineers!