2. Biplot Basics

  1. John Gower1,
  2. Sugnet Lubbe2 and
  3. Niël le Roux3

Published Online: 3 NOV 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470973196.ch2

Understanding Biplots

Understanding Biplots

How to Cite

Gower, J., Lubbe, S. and Roux, N. l. (2011) Biplot Basics, in Understanding Biplots, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470973196.ch2

Author Information

  1. 1

    The Open University, UK

  2. 2

    University of Cape Town, South Africa

  3. 3

    University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 NOV 2010
  2. Published Print: 7 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470012550

Online ISBN: 9780470973196



  • biplot display;
  • interpolation;
  • regression method;
  • scatterplot


The chapter begins by introducing two- and three-dimensional biplots as ordinary scatterplots of two or three variables. Biplots are considered as extensions of the ordinary scatterplot by providing for more than three variables. The chapter explores how to represent multidimensional sample points in a biplot, how to equip the biplot with calibrated axes representing the variables and how to refine the biplot display. Emphasis is placed on how to use biplot axes analogously to axes in a scatterplot, that is, for adding new samples to the plot (interpolation) and reading off for any sample point its values for the different variables (prediction). The chapter shows how to use a regression method for adding new variables to the plot. It discusses various enhancements to configurations of sample points in a biplot, including how to describe large data sets. The chapter finally provides some examples for constructing all the graphical displays.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

biplot; regression