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I am an academician and have all students' exam data in Excel (not only marks but also details of each question's response).

At present I am using Excel to produce histograms and calculate some statistical figures like Discrimination Indices. This process is manual and time consuming.

I am looking for software that can produce graphical reports from imported data through Excel or csv. Has anyone used and is familiar with such software?

  • Have you considered using VBA to automate Excel? – Eric Shain Aug 13 '17 at 20:06
  • Can you code (Python)? – Mawg Oct 7 '17 at 7:32
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I am not aware of a tool having a GUI doing this job much "better" (whatever better might mean in this context) then Excel.

However if you are willing to spend some time and do some programming you could write a little python script using the pandas library. There you can directly import your .csvs or Excel sheets, do your reports (you can start with the examples from the pandas documentation) and plotting.

This might cost you a bit of time but will pay off later.

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As was already mentioned, Python can do the job, preferably with the pandas and matplotlib modules. You can also use R for the same purpose, or any other scriptable statistics software. You can also use commercial reporting tools like Qlikview, Tableau or Microsoft PowerBI (the latter will, although commercial, possibly be free of license cost for your purposes).

All of these alternatives have the same weakness: they will help you if your workflow is standardized enough to guarantee that the tables you would like to visualize have exactly the same layout every time. But if this us the case, you can also produce your graphs within excel with little manual overhead (some copy/pasting your data into the input data area of the diagram, or alternatively some VBA scripting, as one of the comments rightly mentions).

So while all abovementioned alternatives are good tools, I'm not quite sure you'll reduce manual overhead when using them, especially as the using an additional tool in your workflow produces some manual overhead in itself.

The strength of these tools lies more in providing a wider range of diagrams, and the ability to do some automatic error-checking, if you use a script-based way of working (which you can do with all of these tools with the possible exception of Tableau).

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If you want to use a graphical tool, you may find that Microstrategy Desktop works for you. Not sure about the discrimination index but its quite good for replacing the source data. https://www.microstrategy.com/us/desktop

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