IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Vote for quantile plots! New planks in an old campaign


  • Nicholas J. Cox

    (Durham University)


Quantile plots show ordered values (raw data, estimates, residuals, whatever) against rank or cumulative probability or a one-to-one function of the same. Even in a strict sense, they are almost 200 years old. In Stata quantile, qqplot and qnorm go back to 1985 and 1986. So why any fuss? The presentation is built on a long-considered view that quantile plots are the best single plot for univariate distributions. No other kind of plot shows so many features so well across a range of sample sizes with so few arbitrary decisions. Both official and user-written programs appear in a review which includes side-by-side and superimposed comparisons of quantiles for different groups and comparable variables. Emphasis is on newer, previously unpublished work, with focus on the compatibility of quantiles with transformations; fitting and testing of brand-name distributions; quantile-box plots as proposed by Emanuel Parzen (1929-2016); equivalents for ordinal categorical data; and the question of which graphics best support paired and two-sample t and other tests. Commands mentioned include distplot, multqplot, qplot (Stata Journal) and mylabels, stripplot and hdquantile (SSC).

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas J. Cox, 2016. "Vote for quantile plots! New planks in an old campaign," 2016 Stata Conference 10, Stata Users Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:scon16:10

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:boc:scon16:10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Christopher F Baum (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.