Synch and scale two scatter plots


New Member
Apr 3, 2013
The forum archives have yielded a lot of excellent help for me over the past few years, but this one I'm afraid I need to post a question on.

I'm currently working in a test lab. I have two different instruments recording high speed data from the same event, and I want to import that data into Excel and chart it in such a way that the data are synchronous and on the same time scale.

The issues are:
1: the two instruments sample at different rates -- one every 4ms exactly, the other at roughly 32ms (plus or minus 1-2ms)
2: the two instruments don't start recording at exactly the same time -- one starts automatically, the other has to be started/stopped by hand
3: when I plot both data streams on a scatter plot, one trace always ends up looking "squished" relative to the other along the independent axis
4: even if I could magically sync the start/stop times of both sensors, they still obviously produce very different amounts of data -- the fast sensor can easily have 3-5 times the number of samples than the slow sensor.
5: each sensor time stamp starts from 0 at the beginning of the recording -- I can't synchronize the sensors to an external realtime clock (oh, I wish!)

Importing the data into Excel is not an issue. I have two columns for each sensor: one containing a timestamp for the datum (starting from 0), and the second containing the datum itself. Each data trace can plot on its own scatter plot with no problems, and I can "stack" the plots vertically on my screen and roughly synchronize them by moving the plots and stretching/shrinking them. But that's a rather crude solution. I really want to be able to put these two data streams into the same scatter plot, synchronized and scaled equally along the independent axis.

I can select a particular row to sync the the two streams by hand -- I don't need any sort of automatic event or shape matching (although that would be a neat trick). And if the best way to do this is to write a VBA macro, I've written some modest VBA for data postprocessing before, so I'm not intimidated by that prospect. But before I start chasing down that rabbit hole, I'm hoping that someone here might know of a better, more efficient way to achieve what I'm looking to do.

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New Member
Jun 7, 2011
If the data is timestamped then surely you can plot the time along the x-axis and have them line up? There will be the issue of them not having the same origin; that can be addressed by adding a third column to one set of data along the lines of
and plotting that as the time. Without an external clock I don't think you could do better than that.

eta: I'm not sure why having different amounts of data should be an issue, but make sure that your x and y ranges are consistent for each line. I mean make sure that it looks like
=SERIES(,Sheet 1!A1:A10,Sheet 1!B1:B10,1)
and not
=SERIES(,Sheet 1!A1:A10,Sheet 1!B1:B20,1)
because I find that can lead to graphs being skewed.
Last edited:

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