gnuplot - an interactive plotting program
gnuplot [X11 options] [options] [file ...]
Gnuplot is a command-driven interactive function plotting program.
If file names are given on the command line, gnuplot loads each file
with the load command, in the order specified, and exits after the last
file is processed. If no files are given, gnuplot prompts for
Here are some of its features:
Plots any number of functions, built up of C operators, C library
functions, and some things C doesn’t have like **, sgn(), etc.
User-defined constants and functions.
All computations performed in the complex domain. Just the real part
is plotted by default, but functions like imag() and abs() and arg()
are available to override this.
Also support for plotting data files, to compare actual data to
Nonlinear least-squares fitting.
2D plots with mouse-controlled zooming.
3D plots with mouse-controlled point of view.
User-defined X and Y ranges (optional auto-ranging), smart axes
scaling, smart tic marks.
Labelling of X and Y axes.
Shell escapes and command line substitution.
Load and save capability.
Support for many output devices and file formats.
-p, --persist lets plot windows survive after main gnuplot program
-e "command list" executes the requested commands before loading the
next input file.
-h, --help print summary of usage
-V show current version
Gnuplot provides the x11 terminal type for use with X servers. This
terminal type is set automatically at startup if the DISPLAY
environment variable is set, if the TERM environment variable is set to
xterm, or if the -display command line option is used. For terminal
type x11, gnuplot accepts the standard X Toolkit options and resources
such as geometry, font, and background. See the X(1) man page for a
description of the options. In addition to the X Toolkit options:
-clear requests that the window be cleared momentarily before a new
plot is displayed.
-gray requests grayscale rendering on grayscale or color displays.
(Grayscale displays receive monochrome rendering by default.)
-mono forces monochrome rendering on color displays.
-raise raises the plot window after each plot.
-noraise does not raise the plot window after each plot.
-tvtwm requests that geometry specifications for position of the window
be made relative to the currently displayed portion of the virtual
These options may also be controlled with resources in your .Xdefaults
file. For example: gnuplot*gray: on .
Gnuplot provides a command line option (-pointsize v) and a resource
(gnuplot*pointsize: v) to control the size of points plotted with the
"points" plotting style. The value v is a real number (greater than 0
and less than or equal to ten) used as a scaling factor for point
sizes. For example, -pointsize 2 uses points twice the default size,
and -pointsize 0.5 uses points half the normal size.
For monochrome displays, gnuplot does not honor foreground or
background colors. The default is black-on-white. -rv or
gnuplot*reverseVideo: on requests white-on-black.
For color displays gnuplot honors the following resources (shown here
with default values). The values may be color names in the X11 rgb.txt
file on your system, hexadecimal RGB color specifications (see X11
documentation), or a color name followed by a comma and an intensity
value from 0 to 1. For example, blue,.5 means a half intensity blue.
When -gray is selected, gnuplot honors the following resources for
grayscale or color displays (shown here with default values). Note that
the default background is black.
Gnuplot honors the following resources for setting the width in pixels
of plot lines (shown here with default values.) 0 or 1 means a minimal
width line of 1 pixel width. A value of 2 or 3 may improve the
appearance of some plots.
Gnuplot honors the following resources for setting the dash style used
for plotting lines. 0 means a solid line. A 2 digit number jk (j and k
are >= 1 and <= 9) means a dashed line with a repeated pattern of j
pixels on followed by k pixels off. For example, ’16’ is a "dotted"
line with 1 pixel on followed by 6 pixels off. More elaborate on/off
patterns can be specified with a 4 digit value. For example, ’4441’ is
4 on, 4 off, 4 on, 1 off. The default values shown below are for
monochrome displays or monochrome rendering on color or grayscale
displays. For color displays, the defaults for all are 0 (solid line)
except for axisDashes which defaults to a ’16’ dotted line.
The size or aspect ratio of a plot may be changed by resizing the
A number of shell environment variables are understood by gnuplot.
None of these are required.
The name of the terminal type to be used. This overrides any
terminal type sensed by gnuplot on start-up, but is itself
overridden by the .gnuplot (or equivalent) start-up file (see
FILES and "help start-up") and, of course, by later explicit
The pathname of the HELP file (gnuplot.gih).
HOME The name of a directory to search for a .gnuplot file if none is
found in the current directory.
PAGER An output filter for help messages.
SHELL The program used for the "shell" command.
Specifies a gnuplot command to be executed when a fit is
interrupted---see "help fit".
The name of the logfile maintained by fit.
Additional search directories for data and command files. The
variable may contain a single directory name, or a list of
directories separated by ’:’. The contents of GNUPLOT_LIB are
appended to the "loadpath" variable, but not saved with the
"save" and "save set" commands.
Several gnuplot terminal drivers access TrueType fonts via the
gd library. This variable gives the font search path for these
The default font for the terminal drivers that access TrueType
fonts via the gd library.
The font search path used by the postscript terminal. The format
is the same as for GNUPLOT_LIB. The contents of GNUPLOT_FONTPATH
are appended to the "fontpath" variable, but not saved with the
"save" and "save set" commands.
Used by the postscript driver to locate external prologue files.
Depending on the build process, gnuplot contains either a
builtin copy of those files or simply a default hardcoded path.
Use this variable to test the postscript terminal with custom
prologue files. See "help postscript prologue".
Gnuplot looks for this initialization file, first in the current
directory, then in the HOME directory. It may contain any legal
gnuplot commands, but typically they are limited to setting the
terminal and defining frequently-used functions or variables.
The default name of the logfile maintained by fit.
Thomas Williams, Pixar Corporation,
and Colin Kelley.
Additions for labelling by Russell Lang, Monash University, Australia.
Further additions by David Kotz, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA
(formerly of Duke University, North Carolina, USA).
See the help bugs command in gnuplot.
See the printed manual or the on-line help for details on specific