The PALeventanalysis tool is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that can process individual activPAL events files to carry out a range of simple analyses on the classified activPAL data.  The types of analysis that can be carried out by the spreadsheet include:

  • Production of summary activity data broken down by user-selectable period (daily / quarter day / hourly)
  • Aggregation of stepping data into stepping bouts and the calculation of the stepping cadence of the bouts
  • Extraction of event data relating to a specific activity type
  • Production of an event summary showing periods of sedentary and upright activity and the proportion of quiet standing and stepping during upright periods
  • Generation of standard charts to show the composition of each day by activity type and the breakdown of stepping activity by cadence

The spreadsheet uses VBA to process and analyse events files so macros must be enabled in order to use the PALeventanalysis tool.

The current version of the spreadsheet can be downloaded from

Loading an events file

Upon opening the spreadsheet, the FileSelect sheet should be selected.  If another sheet is displayed please select the FileSelect sheet.  

If macros have been disabled an error message will be displayed on the sheet.

To select an events file to be processed, click on the Select Events File button to open a file select window.  If a valid events files has been selected summary details about the file will be loaded onto the spreadsheet. 

Initial processing of an events file

Once a valid events file has been loaded, clicking on the Process Events File button will process the events file and produce a series of outputs in three new sheets.

  1. The EventFile sheet shows the unprocessed events file
  2. The Summaries sheet shows the summary activity data
  3. The Summaries_Chart sheet contains that daily activity breakdown chart (see example chart below)

The Reporting period menu can be used to select the period over which the summary information is grouped.  Activity data can be summarised by hour / quarter day / whole day.

The Time units menu can be used to select the time period that is used to output the activity data. Activity data can be reported using hours / minutes / seconds. 

Chart Example: Daily Activity Breakdown (found in Summaries_Chart sheet)

Generating more detailed events file outputs

In addition to the outputs produced using the Process Events File button, additional outputs can be generated by clicking on the Generate Additional Outputs button.  The outputs are placed in six new sheets:

  1. The Non-Upright sheet contains details of all the non-upright events in the events file
  2. The Standing sheet contains details of all the standing events in the events file
  3. The Stepping sheet contains a summary of all the stepping bouts that occur within the events file.  Stepping bouts are constructed by joining adjacent stepping events into a single bout
    For each stepping bout the cadence and number of steps taken are reported
  4. The Upright sheets contains details of all the periods of upright activity in the events file.  Upright bouts are constructed by joining adjacent stepping bouts and standing events
    The number and duration of stepping and standing bouts within each upright period is reported along with the total number of steps taken during the upright period
  5. The PostureAllocation sheet merges the contents of the Upright sheet and the Non-Upright sheet to provide details about the distribution and composition of periods of upright and non-upright activity within the events file
  6. The SteppingCadence_Chart sheet contains a chart that breaks down the stepping that occurs within the events file into cadence bands (see the example chart below)

Chart Example: Stepping Cadence Distribution (found in SteppingCadence_Chart sheet)

Specifying time periods for reporting outputs

By default, the PALeventanalysis tool allows events file data to be aggregated over predefined time periods.  In addition to these predefined time periods, the tool also allows the data to be processed using a bespoke range of reporting periods by using the Enter Custom Time Periods button.

Clicking on the Enter Custom Time Periods button within the FileSelect sheet will take you to the DateTimeInput sheet. 

The sheet will be populated using the time periods selected in the reporting period menu in the FileSelect sheet.  By pressing the Clear Times button these periods are cleared.  You can then enter the start time and end time for the periods of interest. 

Once the time periods have been entered clicking on the Update Additional Outputs button will create a revised version of the summary data (Summaries sheet) using the custom reporting periods that have been specified.  This version of the summary can be found in the SummariesByRange sheet.

The outputs generated by the Generate Additional Outputs button will also be updated with an additional column to show which reporting period an event falls within.  If an event spans more than one reporting period, an additional row will be created for each reporting period that the event falls within.

When specifying custom reporting periods there is flexibility in how they can be specified:

  • Reporting periods do not need to have the same duration
    You can use different lengths of period to meet your reporting requirements (i.e. morning (9am – 12pm), lunch (12pm – 2pm) and afternoon (2pm – 6pm)
  • Reporting periods do not have to be continuous
    You can leave a gap between adjacent periods (i.e. if you only wish to report on working day activities you can set each period to cover a set time, such as from 8am to 6pm)
  • Reporting periods can overlap  
    The start time of a reporting period can be before the end time of the previous reporting period
  • A reporting period can span more than one day

Specifying specific time periods for reporting outputs

If you wish to process a new events file, you should click the Clear All Data button in the FileSelect sheet before selecting the new events file.  This will ensure that all the outputs and charts produced for the previously processed events file are cleared to prevent possible processing and formatting errors.

Related Articles