Visualizations that are low-cost in memory are desirable. We present a method for stitching three-dimensional scattered data from multiple worksheets into a dynamic “animation-like” surface chart in Excel. This method is useful when (1) the user hard-codes the data points to conserve memory; employing such strategy scales better than soft-coding data values, (2) the data values are hard-coded by an unknown source, or (3) the function is complex and requires a user-defined function to output values into cells. In particular, we demonstrate an application in biology where rigid motion (rotation and translation are the only transformations applied to an object in 3-D space) is used to model the free energy gain/loss by surveying various placements and orientations of membrane proteins with respect to their environment. Our strategy involves a simple concept of scrolling through an order of worksheets, and can be extended to even more dimensions (i.e. scrolling through workbooks if necessary)

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DynamicSurfaceChart.xls (662 kB)
dataset without code (2003)

DynamicSurfaceChart.xlsx (463 kB)
dataset without code (2007+)

DynamicSurfaceChart_withCode.xls (806 kB)
dataset with code (2003)

DynamicSurfaceChart_withCode.xlsm (510 kB)
dataset with code (2007+)

DynamicSurfaceChart.bas (6 kB)
VBA code

insertionAnimation.gif (2799 kB)
animation: insertion of a membrane protein