NODEXL Manual?

Mar 26, 2009 at 11:22 PM
Edited Mar 26, 2009 at 11:23 PM
I am completely new to the world of SNA and I am trying to understand how to use this tool to generate some very simple results.

I can’t even begin because I do not understand the terminology nor do I know how to generate a graph even if I was able to input my data. As an example, what is a vertex radius? Where would I get this number? What is the “overall metrics” tab used for? Etc, etc…

I appreciate the tool, but I would like to use it to its full capacity. Any direction would be very helpful.

Thanks in advance.

Mar 27, 2009 at 12:01 AM

A NodeXL manual is in progress.  In the meantime, you can get a fair amount of information by hovering your mouse over the column headers in the worksheets and over the buttons in the NodeXL ribbon.

For example, hovering over the "Vertex 1" column header in the Edges worksheet tells you this:

Vertex 1 Name

Enter the name of the edge's first vertex.

To create a NodeXL graph in Excel 2007, enter the graph's edges on this worksheet, one row per edge.  The first two columns are required; the other columns can be used to customize the edge's appearance.

To customize the appearance of an individual vertex or add an isolated vertex not connected to an edge, click the "Vertices" tab near Excel's lower-left corner.

After you have entered the edges, click the "Read Workbook" button at the top of the NodeXL graph pane at the right edge of the workbook window.  (If the graph pane is hidden, click the "NodeXL" tab in the Ribbon, and in the "Graph" group, click "Show/Hide Graph Pane.")


The vertex radius determines the size of the vertex in the graph pane.  It's used only if you want to set a vertex radius individually.  If you leave it blank, a default radius will be used.

Hovering over the Metric column header in the Overall Metrics worksheet tells you this:

Overall Metrics

This worksheet displays overall metrics for the graph.  To have NodeXL calculate the overall metrics, follow these steps:

1. In the Excel Ribbon, click the NodeXL tab.

2. In the "Analysis" group, click the down-arrow to the right of the "Calculate Graph Metrics" button, then click the "Select Graph Metrics" button.

3. In the "Select Graph Metrics" dialog box, click the "Overall Metrics" checkbox, then click OK.

4. In the "Microsoft NodeXL Analysis" group, click the "Calculate Graph Metrics" button.


Mar 27, 2009 at 12:33 AM
We have a basic overview slide deck that may offer some orientation at:

Mar 27, 2009 at 4:55 AM
Hmmm, I'm still not achieving what I want to do. Maybe it's best to explain my desires and get confirmation that it is in fact possible with the tool.

I would like to input data from a community to understand the relationships within. The community consists of 10 'sub-communities' and about 300 members. These members are active in any number of these sub-communities.

All I want to initially see is a graphical depiction of the size of each sub-community and which members are connected to them.

Any thoughts?
Mar 27, 2009 at 6:43 AM
Is your community a network?  That is, do its members have some sort of connection to other members?  NodeXL is a network visualization tool.  It displays a vertex for each member in a group and an edge for each connection between the members.  You specify your network as an edge list, where each item in the list is a pair of connected members.  For example, a group might be the five employees of some company, and you might say that two employees are connected if they communicated via email last week.  If Sally wrote to Bob, Alice wrote to Nancy, and Mark wrote to Bob, your edge list would look like this:

Sally  Bob
Alice  Nancy
Mark  Bob

NodeXL would then display five vertices with three edges connecting them.

If you can describe your community only in terms of membership and not in terms of the interconnectedness of its members, then you're not talking about a network and NodeXL would probably not be of use to you.  In that case, something that could display sets (perhaps as Venn diagrams) might be more appropriate.

-- Tony
Jul 24, 2009 at 7:43 PM

The NodeXL Tutorial by Derek Hansen, Ben Shneiderman, and Marc Smith introduces some of the core functionality of NodeXL using a few simple datasets. The current draft of the tutorial is based NodeXL Version and was uploaded June 22, 2009. The tutorial will serve as a basis for the Communities and Technologies 2009 Workshop. It takes approximately 4 hours to go over in a classroom setting with students following along on their own machines. The tutorial relies on the following datasets, which are NodeXL files:

If you plan to use this tutorial in a classroom setting please contact Derek Hansen ( who is keeping track of courses where NodeXL is being used. Feedback is welcomed.

Courses that have Used NodeXL

  • Communities of Practice (LBSC 708P), Spring 2009, University of Maryland's iSchool. Instructor: Derek Hansen
  • Complex Systems in Business (BMGT808L), Spring 2009, University of Maryland's Smith School of Business