Triangular Graph Paper Template
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- January 22, 2019 Updated
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First, a terrible joke. What newspaper does a triangle read? The Hypotenews! Ok, that was bad. Now for the good stuff. Triangular graph paper is most useful for graphing relationships between 3 data components (or variables) on a 3-sided triangular graph (or “Ternary Plot”). Since this is an equilateral triangle graph - each data component should be equal in total value - usually 100% or 1. We offer a triangular graph paper template, which allows you to create 3-sided graphs and other drawings, with ease.
Here is a list of worksheets included in this template.
(Triangular Graph) Portrait
Graph paper composed of consequent equilateral triangles in portrait orientation.
(Triangular Graph) Landscape
Graph paper composed of consequent equilateral triangles in landscape orientation.
Using The Template
Personalize and Print
Add a personal touch! Each worksheet has a built-in header. Use the header to include information, such as name, title, and date.
Go ahead and hit print - each tab is configured to print in its appropriate orientation type.
Use Cases and Examples
Triangular graph paper can be used like isometric graph paper to create 3D drawings, but the most common use case for triangular graph paper is to help draw a 3-sided triangular graph. A 3-sided triangular graph is useful for combining three data components in one graph. This type of graph compares percentage values between 3 data components; each side of the triangular graph is equal and should add up to 100% or 1.
Triangular graphs allow data components to be displayed in fascinating ways! For example, relationship between different inner city service structures can be compared in one comprehensive visual representation. Below is an example of service structure percentage values of El Raval using a 3-sided triangular chart.
Examples courtesy of Barcelona Field Studies Centre.
Another interesting use case is United States Department of Agriculture’s ratio model for soil texture classification (by % weight) using a 3-sided triangular graph.
Graph courtesy of Origin Lab.
The possibilities of ternary plot use seem limitless! In this Example, USDA displays soil packing fraction relationships between 3 different soil textures - course, fine, and medium.
Graph courtesy of Origin Lab.
How to Plot Points
Each value between 3 variables can be plotted by following the grid lines and then finding the point where all 3 data points intersect. In the example below, we plot the following 3 data points by hand using triangular graph paper - 80% Clay, 20% Silt, and 0% Loam. The data points intersect between 80, 20, and 0, along each corresponding side.
Working in Excel
Drawing 3-sided Triangular Graphs
The triangular graph template is ideal for printing and drawing by hand, but working in Excel is also an option. You can draw a 3-sided triangular graph, scaled as you like, to show data with 3 components summarized in one triangular graph. Use the triangular grid lines as a guide for scale when drawing your chart.
Example. A 3-sided triangular graph created in Excel by using linear shapes.
To draw a 3-sided triangular graph in Excel using our triangular graph template - go to the “Insert” menu and select “Illustrations”, and then select “Shapes”. Choose a straight line from the “Lines” category to draw a 3-sided triangular graph, as shown above. One way to number the chart is to insert text boxes along each side of the graph, number them, and make sure each side adds up to 100% or 1.
Note: This technique may be a bit time consuming depending on the size of your chart. Importing this graph into a drawing program or drawing by hand may be more efficient.
In preparation for potting your data on the graph, it may be helpful to create a table of 3 data components in Excel. To do this, create a new tab in the graph paper template by clicking on the “+” sign. Use the new table to enter data into 3 separate columns.
Below is an example of (made up) soil composition data for 3 different sites.
Modify Grid Scale
Our triangular graph template contains consequent equilateral triangles with all sides roughly measuring 0.18 inches. But let’s say you find this scale a bit small and you’d like to triple the current scale. Here’s how - take the column width and row width and multiply by 3.
Highlight all columns and right-click on any column. Select “Column Width” to enter a new column width. Repeat for all rows.
Modify Grid Units
Want to draw to scale using the metric system, instead of the imperial system? You can modify the units originally displayed in this grid template by switching from inches to centimeters (or to millimeters). To do this – go to the “File” menu and select “Options”. Next, select “Advanced” and scroll down to the “Display” settings. Finally, select the appropriate unit (e.g. Centimeters) from the “Ruler Units” dropdown menu. This will now allow you to modify grid scale in the newly selected unit of measure. To do modify scale, see above section “Modify Grid Scale”.
Example. Excel Options, Advanced menu to switch grid units.
Add Some Color
Background graph paper color can be jazzed up just the way you like it. To modify graph paper background, select the area and use the “Fill Color” option, under the “Home” menu to charge the color of the grid.
Note: We recommend changing the grid paper background first; to avoid redoing any existing drawings, which may include other colors
We hope this article was helpful.
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