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)

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